Our health is something that should top all of our list of priorities. Why? Well, without your health, you can struggle to lead the best quality of life possible. Without your health you can find yourself unable to do all of the things you want to do. With poor health, you can also experience pain and discomfort on a day to day basis. But what can you do to maximize your health and wellbeing? Well, as I have gotten older I realize that diet plays an extremely important role in my health. So, let’s start out there! Here are some of the basics that you should consider to help yourself eat as healthily as possible!
Cut Down on Unhealthy Foods
Very few people eat a perfect diet. But a lot of people eat particularly unhealthy diets. This isn’t all too surprising. There are all sorts of temptations out there luring us in to eat excessive levels of salts, sugars, fats and other ingredients that are bad for us. For some of us, the best step we can take towards eating better is to first focus on cutting back on some of the BAD things that we consume regularly. Some things you might want to reduce in your diet include:
- Sugar – sugar tastes great. I have a serious sweet tooth, I get it! We’ve evolved to love the taste of sugar, it’s yummy! A long time ago humans searched for the best fruit to give them energy. But nowadays, we don’t rely so much on fruit to get by in terms of energy fixes. Instead, we value fruits for their vitamin and mineral content. We gain most of our energy from complex carbohydrates, which are more readily available now. We also have a whole lot more unhealthy sugar available to us, too! When we eat fruit, we aren’t just consuming sugar. When we eat foods laden with pure sugar from sugar cane, we get no additional nutritional benefit like the vitamins and minerals we find in fruit. Instead, we just get nutritionally devoid sugar, which can confuse our bodies. Reduce your sugar consumption as easily as possible by trying out Sugar Free 3 from Openfit.
- Saturated Fats – saturated fats are no good for you. They can block your arteries and lead to heart disease and various other conditions. Cut down fast food, ready to eat meals, and other junk food where you can, as these tend to contain higher levels of saturated fats.
Try Out Some Superfoods
Now, a healthy and balanced diet can include all sorts of foods added into your meals and snacks. But if you’re looking for maximum impact from the foods that you eat, you should seriously consider incorporating some superfoods into your meal plan. Chances are you’ve heard of “superfoods”. They’ve had a lot of hype lately. But what actually are they? Well, put simply, superfoods are foods that have a high nutritional density and that nutritionists have found to have significant benefits when it comes to your overall health and wellbeing. Here are just a few examples that you should really try out!
A superfood that you will find on many superfood lists happens to be blueberries. It’s likely that you’ve tried blueberries before. They’re available in most food stores year round and they are in many different recipes. Whether you’ve eaten blueberries in handfuls on their own, or whether you’ve tried adding them to yogurt, over your oatmeal, in muffins or in any other way, you will always be getting the same benefits from them. They’re extremely versatile, so start picking them up in your weekly grocery run. You can rest assured that when you eat blueberries, your body benefits from the host of vitamins, phytochemicals and soluble fiber that they contain.
Some of us drink tea on a regular basis. If you do, rather than opting for black tea with milk, why not switch things up and try some green tea instead? While black tea can have its health benefits, green tea is renowned for having many more, so these types of tea are definitely worth having a taste and a try. They’re extremely popular around the world and not just for the taste and comforting feeling that a cup of green tea can give you. Studies have also found that green tea contains a lot of bioactive compounds, such as catechins, which prevent cell damage in the body.
We tend to think of oils as unhealthy. But this isn’t always the case. Eaten in moderation, olive oil can actually be really good for you! This healthy oil contains a whole lot of monounsaturated fats which can help to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Olive oil also contains vitamins E and K, which can help your body to repair from oxidative stress. Try cooking with olive oil or drizzling a little over your salads.
Kale is something that wasn’t super popular until the last few years. Why? It’s a green that also has a great texture. But that’s not all. Kale also contains a whole lot of vitamins A, C and K, providing you with an easy way to incorporate all of these into your diet. Another benefit? Kale contains a lot of calcium, which makes it a great option for vegans and vegetarians who are looking for a simple and straightforward way to get their calcium into their diet!
Avocados have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years – and for good reason! Not only are they delicious eaten in various forms (whether that’s in the form of guacamole dip, avocado on sourdough, sliced avocado or avocado as it is), you can stand to really benefit from eating some from time to time. When we think of potassium, we generally think of bananas. But avocados actually contain even more potassium than bananas! We have started eating it a lot more in my house over the past couple of years!
Goji berries are one of the first foods that springs to many people’s minds when we talk about superfoods. Again, berries, in general, are a good source of vitamins and minerals. But goji berries are particularly potent. While they may have been difficult to get a hold of in the past, goji berries are now a lot more accessible. You’ll usually be able to find them on the shelves of most health food stores and, nowadays, with increasing demand for goji berries, we’re also seeing increasing numbers of supermarkets stocking them. They have a very distinct taste, so buy a small pack rather than a huge pack to start out with – just to check whether you like them or not. If you do like them, you’re in luck! You’ll find that they provide you with vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre, iron, zinc, and various other antioxidants. That’s a whole lot of nutrition for tiny little berries!
Another berry to look out for is the acai berry. A lot of health food influencers have been making up acai bowls lately and this is a great way to incorporate them into your own diet. They can seriously benefit you by significantly increasing the levels of antioxidants in your blood.
Sunflower Seeds and Flaxseeds
We all know that seeds are good for you. You can find plenty of seeds of all shapes and sizes in health food stores. They’re also easy to eat. You can simply snack on them as the day goes by. Many people also like to sprinkle them across their oatmeal or cereals. Why not make up some snack size packs of seeds that you can always have to hand when you feel like a snack? Now, there are many seeds out there, but we’re going to focus on sunflower seeds, in particular, for this superfoods list. Sunflower seeds are a particularly good source of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Another great seed to eat? Flaxseeds. Now this is a very fine seed, so you’re less likely to just snack on it. But try adding it to a fruit smoothie like I do. It will blend in well and can give you a good dose of plant-based omega 3!
Few people eat prunes on a regular basis and this is a shame. After all, they are a superfood! Prunes are simply dried plums and their most commonly known characteristic is the laxative effect that they can have when eaten in high volumes. But they have a whole lot of health benefits when eaten in moderation. Prunes contain polyphenols, which drastically improve bone health and can also help to increase your bone density. You can also try prune juice, which makes it a little easier to get your daily prune dose.
Edamame beans are most commonly found in Asian cuisine. They are commonly found as an accompaniment to sushi or in stir fries and other delicious dishes. Try them dipped in soy sauce. They’re bright green, look great and taste great. But on top of this? They also contain an impressive 18 grams of plant protein per cup! We eat them as a snack in my house!
Of course, there are many other things you can do to maximize your health and wellbeing through healthy eating. But the suggestions above should get you started out in the right direction! Hopefully, they come in useful for you!
Related: 5 Healthy Habits You Can Start Today