Good eating can add another 25 years to your life. Healthy eating can help you lose weight, look younger, and give you more energy. It is not a difficult regimen to follow.
A healthful eating plan will contain whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and will go light on saturated fat from meat and dairy products. To maintain a healthful weight, the number of calories you eat must equal the number of calories you burn. In order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume on that day.
You should include walking as part of your daily exercise. Walking requires no special equipment, has a low risk of injury, and is suitable for people at a variety of fitness levels. Walking helps to keep extra pounds at bay. Weight gain increases the risk for several serious conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallstones, osteoarthritis, and some cancers.
The goodness of grains – Breads, cereals, rice, pasta, breadsticks, pizza crust, crackers, pretzels, popcorn, pancakes and bagels are all made from grains. They are naturally low in fat and high in energy-giving complex carbohydrates. Also, grains provide B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. Whole wheat grains also supply valuable fiber.
Fruits and vegetables are good for you – Fruits are fat-free and supply beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Almost all vegetables are low in calories and fat and provide beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, iron, magnesium and fiber.
Fiber is found naturally only in plant foods such as whole grains, beans, peas, vegetables and fruits. Insoluble fiber helps to keep you regular and protects against colon cancer. Good sources of insoluble fiber are whole wheat bread, bran cereals, and vegetables and fruits with edible skins. Soluble fiber may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and controls blood sugar in diabetics. Sources of soluble fiber include oatmeal, dried beans and peas, lentils, barley, carrots and apples.
Choose a low-fat diet – Too much fat, saturated fat and cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease, several types of cancer, and can contribute to being overweight. Most of the saturated fat we eat comes from animal foods such as meats and dairy products. Portion control can reduce the harm to your body from these saturated fat foods. Also, substituting fish for meat at meals will be beneficial as fish is low in fat and rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help to protect against heart attacks.
Low-sodium diets – Your body needs sodium to maintain proper fluid balance, blood pressure, and normal heart action. However, it only takes 500 milligrams of sodium each day to perform these vital functions. Americans consume 10 times that amount. A healthful guideline is no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium each day.
These facts may spur you on to change your eating habits so that you can lead a healthier and longer life and have more energy to enter activities that will make your longer life more enjoyable.
Food for Health and Healing,
National Health & Wellness Club,
Medical Reviewer: George Blackburn, MD, PhD