1. Eat More Plants. This is one piece of unwavering advice every nutrition and health professional agrees on: eat more fruits and vegetables. Time and time again, research has proven that the best way to decrease risks for chronic diseases and manage your weight is by eating more fruits and vegetables. Not only are they low in calorie, but fruits and vegetables are loaded with phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which are all key nutrients to a healthy body.
2. Consume Less Sugar. Unfortunately, sugar is that secret ingredient many food manufacturers and producers have added to their food to make it taste oh-so-good and increase sales. However, the long term consequences of eating too much sugar are real. From tooth decay to weight gain to an increased risk for cancers, sugar is an ingredient every nutrition and health professional will recommend to eat less of. Some people need to cut sugar out completely from their diet because it can be so addictive that a little bit only increases cravings for more. Others can eat and enjoy sugar in moderation. The key is to find what works for you and walk away with the take home message to reduce your overall sugar consumption. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that women limit added sugar to no more than 6 teaspoons a day, which is equivalent to 25 grams of added sugar or 100 calories. For men, it’s 9 teaspoons per day, which is equivalent to 36 grams of added sugar or 150 calories.
3. Eat Less Processed Foods. The real food movement has helped this message that nutrition experts have been promoting for years: eat more real food in their natural state and decrease processed and packaged foods. Generally speaking, processed foods will be higher in sugar, fats, and additives. The best way to practice this is to think about eating more food from the earth and relying less on food from a package or box.
4. Drink More Water. Plain and simple, drink more water. Water helps with digestion, absorption, circulation, transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature. Staying hydrated also helps maintain a healthy weight and promotes healthy looking skin. If plain water does not appeal to you, you can still reach your hydration needs with other fluids such as tea, coffee, and my favorite – fruit infused water!
5. Move More. Although this tip isn’t a nutrition recommendation, it’s one that everyone should follow. In today’s modern world of working on the computer and taking a car or bus to and from work, it takes a conscious effort to stay active. The American Heart Association recommends thirty minutes a day, five times a week. Remember that when it comes to your health, every little step adds up. Stay consistent and have fun — you are worth it!