Generally, one’s body will only be as healthy as the food which is put into it. A poor diet will lead to health problems whereas a balanced diet full of essential nutrients will result in a strong, disease-free body. The practice of health eating is based on putting certain principles into practice each and every day. Making healthy food choices for each meal will lead to an ideal body weight, lower incidence of illness, and increased energy.
Drinking sufficient water and getting enough exercise play a significant role in living a healthy lifestyle. Water is needed for essentially all body functions and has a cleansing effect; it is recommended that a person consume up to 8 glasses each day. Exercise keeps the heart, lungs, and muscles in good condition and helps regulate metabolism; at least 15 minutes of continuous physical activity is recommended daily. One should also limit the amount of sugar and salt ingested, as these can can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension if not used in moderation.
Fruits and vegetables represent an important food group which provides the body with many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it needs. These foods are naturally lower in calories and are an excellent source of dietary fiber. There are many to choose from and they each have different nutritional values so it is a good idea to eat a variety of at least 5 servings per day.
Carbohydrates contain certain vitamins and antioxidants and are the body’s primary source of energy. Whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, and oats are good examples. These digest slowly which regulates blood glucose and insulin levels and helps one feel full for longer. Eating 8 servings from this group each day is recommended.
Healthy fats are important for the maintenance of healthy skin, nails, and cells as well as for the function of the brain and heart. Most of these fats are found in meat, fish, nuts, and seeds, and include; omega-3, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats. One should avoid products containing trans fats however, as these are not healthy.
Protein is the main “building material” of the body and also a good source of energy. Foods rich in protein include meats, fish, eggs, beans, and dairy products. They also contain important vitamins and minerals which are essential to growth and repair of body tissues. A person should consume 2-3 servings per day. Dairy products supply protein and also calcium which helps maintain teeth and bones; 3 servings of dairy daily are recommended.
In addition to choosing to eat a wide range of healthy foods, it is also important to a health eating plan to properly time one’s meals. Eating a larger breakfast to build up an energy store for the day and follow it with smaller meals is considered best for the body’s metabolism. Making sure that one does not take portions which are too large is necessary too, as to avoid overeating and a high caloric intake. Only eating foods containing high amounts of refined sugars and starches or trans fats on rare occasion if at all is also a good idea.