Switching to healthy eating is not as tough as it seems or people imagine. You need to focus on the key steps by eating foods that are mostly derived from plants like vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. In addition, limiting highly processed foods is another key. Here are 10 keys to follow a healthy diet.
- Consume a wide range of foods: When you choose a wide variety of foods, it helps in obtaining the disease fighting benefits. Also, it limits the exposure to any toxic substance or pesticides that are mostly present in specific foods.
- Keep a tab on Portions: There is no harm in eating all the spinach and broccoli, but when it comes to high caloric foods, it is important to watch the portions. Check the calories and serving sizes before buying foods from stores.
- Eat more of produce: Always include 2 ½ cup vegetables and 2 cup fruits per day if you are following a 2000 calorie diet. Add orange, green, red, yellow and purple produce. The fiber content and other nutrients in these foods offer protection against specific types of cancer and other health conditions.
- Eat more of whole grains: When following a healthy diet, half of the grains need to be of whole grains like oats, barley and whole wheat. Always choose products that are labeled as 100 percent whole wheat or whole grain.
- Restrict added sugar and refined grains: If you choose white bread, white pasta and other such foods, it contains no dietary fiber and lacks several nutrients. In addition, limit foods which contain added sugar like candy and soda. Sugary foods contain high calories that come in the way of a healthy diet.
- Eat more nuts and fish: When you choose avocados, fatty fish, vegetable oils and nuts, it is beneficial for your health as it contains unsaturated fats. Although these foods contain high calories, but does not lead to weight gain. Also, these foods reduce the risk of heart diseases.
- Cut down animal fat: Red meat or processed meat contains saturated fats which increases the bad cholesterol in the body. Instead, stick to lean meat, low dairy and skinless poultry. Replace unhealthy fats with good ones found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
- Avoid Trans Fats: When you choose foods with trans fats it may affect your health in the long run. Trans fats contain mostly hydrogenated oils that are found in processed foods like baked items, snacks, fast foods and margarines. It also increases the risk of heart diseases.
- Worry less about cholesterol: Foods containing cholesterol has minimal effect on people as far as blood cholesterol is concerned. The key to reduce blood cholesterol is to restrict saturated fats and trans fats found in meats and processed foods.
- Limit your sodium intake: High sodium in your diet increases blood pressure and also other harmful conditions like diabetes, hypertension and kidney diseases. Hence, limit your sodium intake to 1500 milligrams per day. Instead choose foods that contain potassium such as yoghurt, beans, bananas, and citrus fruits.
Thus, these are 10 keys for a healthy and balanced diet.