Diet, Nutrition & Fitness

7 Important Tips For Healthy Eating

The foods you eat will affect your health in multiple ways. Whether you want to shed pounds from your waistline, reduce your risk of chronic disease or simply lead a healthier lifestyle, you must evaluate your diet. Thankfully, there are a few tips that can help you achieve healthy eating habits.

1) Know Your Fats

Not all fats are bad. As explained by researchers from Harvard University, trans fat, the worst type, should be avoided while saturated fat should be consumed in moderation. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, however, are actually beneficial because they improve blood cholesterol levels and subsequently lower the risk of heart disease.

2) Watch the Calories

The general consensus is that most adults should consume about 2,000 calories a day. It\'s easy to go over this limit, though, if you eat the wrong foods. A single serving of peanut butter, for instance, contains up to 200 calories. To stay within the recommended daily limit, you should prepare low calorie meals and snacks. Replacing starchy side items with non-starchy vegetables can lower your caloric intake and improve your health.

3) Drink Water

Statistics show that three-fourths of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Even if you don\'t feel thirsty, you might not be getting enough water. Of course, water is important for many reasons: it improves digestion, promotes healthy blood sugar levels, assists in muscle recovery and more. Therefore, you should try to consume about 64 ounces of water per day.

4) Choose Lean Meats

Rather than eating fatty meats like beef, pork and lamb, focus your diet around lean meats like fish and chicken. Lean meats contain lower concentrations of saturated fat. Furthermore, fish is particularly beneficial because of its high concentration of protein and unsaturated fats. Research shows that people who consume fish at least twice weekly have lower rates of heart disease than their counterparts who consume it less frequently.

5) Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth With Fruit

The next time you have a craving for something sweet, eat a piece of fruit instead of an artificially sweetened snack. Since it\'s devoid of any real nutritional value, sugar is considered to be empty calories. While consuming an occasional sweet treat shouldn’t cause any noticeable harmful effects to your health, consuming an excessive amount on a daily basis can certainly take a toll on your health. Eating a piece of fruit will satisfy your cravings while keeping your blood sugar levels in check.

6) Add Color to Your Plate

If your dinner plate is brown and devoid of any bright colors, you should probably change your foods. According to HealthLine, beneficial nutrients known as carotenoids give carrots, sweet potatoes and similar vegetables their orange color. This is important because a study conducted by the North Dakota State University (NDSU) found that men suffering from high cholesterol who consumed high-carotenoid foods were 36 percent less likely to have a heart attack than their counterparts in the control group.

7) Cut Back on Sodium

The average American consumes more than 3,500 mg of sodium per day. To put that number into perspective, health professionals recommend consuming no more than 2,300 mg per day. Excess sodium consumption is a major risk factor of high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease.

It\'s not just foods that are high in sodium; condiments like ketchup, mustard and salad dressing also contain high levels of this substance. Always check food packaging to see how much sodium a product contains.

The road to better health begins in the kitchen. By making a few small changes to your diet, you\'ll have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight while protecting against chronic disease.