A healthy diet not only reduces your risk for disease, it also helps you to live a longer and happier life. Although there is a lot of contradictory information when it comes to our diets, the following 4 items are undeniably essential for any healthy dietary plan.
Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals, low in calories and unhealthy fats and high in fiber, making them not only good for your health but also for your waistline. Fruits and vegetables are also loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients, which are cancer fighting chemicals. People who eat diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables have a lower risk for cancer and cardiovascular disorders such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and even stroke. Choosing organic produce is important because conventionally grown fruits and vegetables contain harmful pesticide residues and are lower in nutrients than their organic counterparts. Although all fruits and vegetables are beneficial, the brightly colored ones (dark leafy greens, red peppers, tomatoes, berries etc…) should be emphasized because they tend to be higher in nutrients.
Staple #2: Nuts and Seeds
Nuts, seeds, and almonds are all excellent additions to healthy diets. Similar to fruits and vegetables, they are chocked full of nutrients and antioxidants but they have the added benefit of supplying your body with protein and healthy fats. They make a great snack for when you are on the go, and a handful before you exercise will help to fuel your workout without causing you to feel excessively full. Try to consume raw nuts and seeds because heating them results in a loss of nutrients. Also, nuts and seeds are very calorie dense, so make them a staple, but make sure you are consuming them in small portions (approximately 2-3 tablespoons daily).
Staple # 3: Omega-3 Containing Foods
Omega-3 rich foods have cosmetic properties and they help to keep your skin supple and your hair shiny. Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include: cod liver oil, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, walnuts and walnut oil, rapeseed oil, pumpkin seeds, dark leafy green vegetables and cold water fish such as halibut, herring, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines, trout and fresh tuna.
So it may sound weird to say that exercise is a staple for a healthy diet, but it is important because it is required in order to achieve full health benefits from healthy eating. Not only does exercise play an important role in weight loss and weight maintenance, it also helps to reduce the risk and symptoms of over 20 different physical and mental health conditions. In addition, exercise slows down the aging process and makes you both look and feel younger. Finally, exercise helps to reduce stress hormones, and stress related food cravings and people who exercise regularly tend to consume more nutritious diets.
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