Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet
Healthy eating is not about imposing severe restrictions, maintaining an unattainable level of thinness, or depriving yourself of your favourite foods. Instead, it’s about increasing your health, mood, and energy levels while feeling fantastic.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2016 more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight. Of these adults 650 million were obese. That accounted, 39% of adults aged 18 years and over (39% of men and 40% of women) were overweight. The worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016. According to estimates, there were 38.2 million overweight or obese children under the age of five in 2019.
But obesity is not the only sign of unhealthy eating habits! Malnutrition or intake of wrong food and drinks can cause all kinds of illnesses. Malnutrition is a serious condition that occurs when your diet lacks the necessary nutrients.
A high salt diet can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke for instance. A poor diet can make some malignancies more likely. Consuming unhealthily can result in weight gain, obesity, and other chronic conditions that increase the risk of at least 13 different types of cancer, including endometrial (uterine) cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and colorectal cancer. Unhealthy food and beverages, such as sugar-sweetened beverages and highly processed food, can also contribute to weight gain. Eating red and processed meat is also linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer.
READ MORE: By 2035, Majority of World Population will be overweight or obese
What means “eating healthy”?
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. It is not just another cliché, it means eating foods that are good for our health. If you feel overwhelmed by all the contradicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It appears that for every expert who says you a particular cuisine is healthy, there are two more who suggest the exact opposite. In actuality, although some particular foods or minerals have been found to have a positive impact on mood, your entire dietary pattern is what matters most. Real food should always be preferred above processed food as the cornerstone of a balanced diet. Consuming food that is as close to how nature intended it can have a profound impact on how you feel, look, and think.
Everyone can do it!
A better strategy is to implement a few minor adjustments at once. Maintaining modest goals will enable you to accomplish more over time without experiencing deprivation or being overburdened by a significant diet change. Consider creating a healthy diet as a series of doable, incremental steps, such as include a salad in your diet once each day. You can add more healthy options as your minor modifications become routine.
Make more of your own food. You may better control what you eat and keep track of the ingredients in it by cooking more meals at home. You’ll consume less calories and stay away from processed and fast food, which can make you feel sluggish, bloated, and agitated as well as aggravate symptoms of melancholy, stress, and anxiety.
Think about how you feel after a meal. This will encourage wholesome new behaviours and appetites. You’ll feel better after a meal the healthier the food you ate. You are more likely to feel uneasy, queasy, or exhausted the more junk food you eat.
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Choose veggies and fruits over processed food
Very important aspect of eating healthy is to avoid processed food as much as you possibly can! If you don’t know the ingredients of a sausage, burger, nuggets, chips, you probably should not eat it. Or at least you should avoid those as much as possible!
The trick is, choose to prepare your own food! This way, you can make your own burger and eat it, you can make your own sausage and enjoy it. While you get into habit of preparing your own food, start adding more veggies and fruits to your diet.
According to a study conducted by the University of Harvard, a diet high in fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure, lessen the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, cut the risk of eye and digestive issues, and improve blood sugar levels, which can help control appetite. Consuming non-starchy fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, and green leafy vegetables, may even help people lose weight. Its low glycemic indexes avoid blood sugar spikes that could make people feel more hungry.
A meta-analysis of cohort studies involving 469,551 participants indicated that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, with an average reduction in risk of 4% for each additional serving per day of fruit and vegetables. The likelihood of acquiring cardiovascular disease decreases with an increase in the average daily diet of fruits and vegetables. Those who had an average of 8 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day were 30% less likely to have experienced a heart attack or stroke compared to those who consumed less than 1.5 servings per day.
Several studies found what seemed to be a robust correlation between consuming fruits and vegetables and cancer prevention.
Tomatoes have been linked to a number of studies that suggest they may help protect men against prostate cancer, particularly the aggressive forms of it, according to results from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Lycopene, one of the pigments responsible for the red colour of tomatoes, may play a role in this protective effect.
Indigestible fibre, found in both fruits and vegetables, absorbs water and expands as it travels through the digestive system. By causing regular bowel movements, this can ease the symptoms of an irritable gut and relieve or avoid constipation. Insoluble fiber’s bulking and softening effects also lower digestive tract pressure and may help prevent diverticulosis.
Consuming fruits and vegetables will help keep your eyes healthy and may avoid cataracts and macular degeneration, two age-related eye illnesses that affect millions of People over 65. Particularly lutein and zeaxanthin appear to lower the risk of cataracts.
10 reasons why you should eat more fruits and vegetables
- Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals
- Fruits and vegetables are low-calorie and low-fat
- They contain lots of fiber
- Fruits and vegetables help you maintain good health
- Low in sodium and cholesterol
- You can enjoy them in any form you like (solid, mashed or liquid as smoothy or juice)
- Protect against cancer and other diseases
- Convenient, quick and easy to eat
- Fruits and vegetables are low on calories and low on fat
- Fruits and vegetables improve mood
You don’t have to break you bank while shopping for good food choices, you will be surprised how much more fruits and vegetables you can buy when preparing your food instead of eating at fast food restaurant.
You can buy your fruits and vegetables on sale or in bulk. Many farms offer bulk sales at lesser prices as found in the stores. You can eat fresh fruits and veggies as much as you wish, the rest of fruits you can freeze and vegetables you could freeze or pickle in a jar.
Buy fruits and vegetables in season! That is usually when those food items cost less.