November 01 2017
Know Your Nutrients: 5 Pointers to Optimizing Your Diet
Five tips to a healthy, balanced diet
Proper nutrition is a key component of living a healthy life. Consuming a healthier, well-rounded diet can have many health benefits. Among these is reducing your weight and increasing your quality of life, as well as reducing your risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. If you’re an expecting mother, or a new mother who is breastfeeding, then a healthy diet is even more important for both you and your little one.
Sometimes, the task of revamping your diet can seem daunting. Some people fret over each and every calorie that they consume, trying to calculate the exact number of grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat that they must consume each day. In reality, optimizing your diet can be much simpler than that, and these five tips will help improve your nutrition and your health.
Be Smart with Carbs
Carbohydrates are one of the most important parts of any diet, as they are the primary energy source for body. Some people might think that all carbs are bad and that they should be completely eliminated from the diet. In actuality, consuming quality carbohydrates is important in healthy eating.
Carbohydrates are often associated with junk foods, such as cakes, donuts, bread, and other sweets. However, many other foods that we often consume, including beans, whole grains, and even fruits and vegetables, are packed full of carbohydrates that are beneficial for the body.
While reducing or eliminating unhealthy carbs is important for a healthy diet, completely eliminating them is not. Selecting healthy foods that are high in carbohydrates is a great way to provide wholesome energy to your body, and your child’s as well.
Add More Fish
Protein is another key component of a balanced diet, and fish is a great way to get it. Fish is rich in protein and low in calories, making it a great addition to the weekly menu. Fish is also full of omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits themselves, including reduced blood pressure and risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as increased brain function.
Fish should be consumed a couple of times each week, and some of the best fish options for maximum nutritional benefits include salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. Some types of fish can contain high levels of mercury, which can affect the development of a baby’s nervous system. Even pregnant women can—and should—have some fish in their diet though. If you are pregnant, be sure to consult with your doctor about which types of fish to avoid and how much fish is a good amount for your diet.
Eat Healthy Fats
Many people may feel that they have to avoid fats at all costs, and that it will go straight onto their stomach or hips. However, there is both good and bad fat, and it has two forms: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are harmful to our bodies and can increase cholesterol levels. These fats are commonly found in fried foods, butter, fatty meats, and others. On the other hand, unsaturated fats, or healthy fats, have actually been shown to decrease cholesterol levels and can be found in items such as nuts, avocados, canola oil, and seeds.
Being smart about which fats you include in your diet is critical to help manage your weight. Adequate fat consumption is especially important for nursing mothers, since your baby needs fat to support their superhuman growth rate and help their brain develop. Don’t take this as an excuse to eat all the fatty foods you would normally avoid, but do take the time to learn which fats are good fats and incorporate them into your diet.
Consume More Fiber
Fiber is often overlooked as a quality addition to a healthy diet. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet is important, especially as you get older. Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, found in peas, carrots, apples, and other foods, helps to improve cholesterol levels in the body, lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Insoluble fiber, also known as dietary fiber, is found in many foods, including whole-wheat products and potatoes, and is not digestible by the body. However, it is associated with many benefits, especially regarding gastrointestinal health. Dietary fiber passes through the stomach and digestive tract and helps to clear out any unwanted or unnecessary material that may be stuck. It can also help to reduce appetite and aid in weight loss.
Take Daily Supplements
The body functions using many chemical reactions, and consuming the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals is critical for ensuring that everything functions properly. Eating a healthy, well-rounded diet can provide the body with many of the nutrients that it needs. It is the best way to obtain them, but it can be difficult to ensure you receive an adequate amount each and every day. Supplements can be a great way to fill these gaps.
It is not necessary to go overboard on supplements. You can often attain all necessary nutrients with only a few of them, including a multivitamin, a vitamin D supplement, and a fish oil omega-3 supplement. The first of these is the most important, but these three supplements will ensure that your body gets all of its necessary vitamins and minerals. For pregnant and nursing women it’s recommended that you take a pre-natal vitamin to help supplement the nutrients you’re receiving. This should not be overlooked, as most of these nutrients are essential for your baby’s development.
Eating a healthier diet has many health benefits, both short-term and long-term. Often, improving your current diet does not require a complete renovation. These five simple pointers are a great way to increase your daily nutrient intake, while eliminating unnecessary, unhealthy foods from your diet. Follow these steps and consult with your doctor, and you can be eating healthier before you know it.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. Kara recommends reading Vasayo reviews while you’re on the hunt for dietary supplements.
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