Good nutrition is the key to good physical and mental health. The amount and kind of food you eat affect the way how your body works and the way you feel.
Below are some of the benefits gained from eating healthy foods and maintaining good nutrition.
Why It’s Important
Good nutrition can help:
- Lower high cholesterol
- Reduce the risk of some diseases, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and some cancers
- Decreases risk of obesity-related diseases
- Better brain function and memory
- Improve your mood
- Better sleep
- Healthy colon
- Improve your well-being
- Increase your energy level
- Improve your ability to recover from injury or illness
What is Good Nutrition?
Good nutrition means eating a healthy and balanced diet. It means your body is getting the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins it needs to function at its best.
How to Achieve Good Nutrition in Your Diet
We are all aware of the simple mantra to good nutrition – vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. (Oh don’t forget the importance of getting enough water every day too). Still, there is a gap between our knowledge of what to consume and actually doing it.
That’s why we’ll share with you some tips below on how to achieve good nutrition in your diet to motivate you to close that action gap.
Change Your Mindset
Mindset is important when it comes to all aspects of health, including your eating habits. By changing the way you think about foods to help you stop mindless snacking, you can take your healthy eating habits to the next level if you just change your mindset.
If you truly want to achieve good nutrition in your diet, the goal is to shift your thinking about your diet as a lifestyle change that you can maintain for the long term. And if you feel overwhelmed, keep in mind that healthy eating, just like exercise, is a form of self-care too.
Eat the Rainbow (Diversified and Healthy Diet)
No single food will provide your body with the right amount of nutrients to grow, build new muscle tissue, and repair body tissue. Only by combining foods from different food groups can you meet your body’s daily needs.
Simply put, eat vegetables and fruits of different colors every day. Plants contain different phytonutrients or pigments, which give them their specific color. Different-colored plants have been linked to higher levels of health benefits and specific nutrients.
Choose Lean Meats
Experts recommend that people choose meat that is at least 90% lean or cut off any visible fat. Beef sirloin, skinless poultry, and lean ground beef are healthier choices. Lean cuts of poultry and meat does not only have less fat and fewer calories, but they are good sources of protein too.
In general, red meats, like lamb, pork, and beef, have more saturated fat than skinless chicken.
Choose Fat-Free or Low-Fat Milk
Most of your dairy group choices – fluid milk products and foods made from milk – should be fat-free or low-fat. That is because they retain a high amount of calcium content. These provide vitamin D and calcium to help keep your bones strong.
Choose Whole Grains
At least half the pasta, crackers, bread, and cereals you eat should be made of whole grains. That’s because whole grains contain multiple nutrients. On the other hand, when whole grain is processed, some amounts of nutrient content is lost:
- 95% of fatty acids
- 95% of fiber
- 60% of calcium
- 85% of magnesium
- 77% of potassium
- 78% of zinc
- 75% of vitamins
Drink Lots of Water
When preparing a recipe for health, you should not forget the importance of water. After all, the body is made up of 65% water while the brain and heart are composed of 73% water. There’s just no denying that water is needed for various bodily functions, like transportation of nutrients, absorption, and digestion.
Water keeps the skin soft and smooth, reduces toxicity, serves as a solvent for waste, and flushes excess salt and toxins from the body. It is moreover useful in managing hunger since a cue for thirst can sometimes be confused with a cue for food.
Eat-in Smaller Plates
A study suggests that people eat more when they are presented with large portion sizes of food. So, why not switch to smaller plates while you also adjust to eating smaller portions? Eating on a smaller plate will also help you feel full quicker as well as avoid overeating.
How to Fix 5 Common Eating Problems
Sometimes, an eating problem is more than just food. They can be a complex mental or physical health condition that causes unhealthy eating habits to develop. Below, we provide you with some solutions to 5 common eating problems:
1. Food Doesn’t Taste Good
Add different herbs and spices or try new recipes to boost the taste of your meal. Some medicines you’re taking may also affect your sense of taste or appetite. If such is the case, talk to your doctor about it.
Experimenting and identifying foods that you can taste more will also help improve your eating experience. Moreover, certain foods, like tart or sour foods, can simulate taste buds. Adding more citrus flavors may help in this case.
2. Difficulty Chewing Food
Taking sips of liquids while eating can keep the food and mouth moist. You can also try moistening dry foods with milk, butter, sauce, or broth. Softer foods, such as eggs, beans, vegetables, and canned fruit, may also help.
In addition, you may cut your food into smaller bites and chew them more thoroughly and slowly. Adding food high in protein and calories if you are losing weight can help as well. This food includes casseroles, milkshakes, and nutritional shakes. Swap unhealthy junk foods for nutritious food to maintain a healthy weight.
Talk to your dentist or doctor if there is a problem with your gums or teeth.
3. Difficulty Cooking or Shopping
To some, cooking or shopping for nutritious foods can be a daunting task. But don’t worry, by going to the grocery store prepared with a healthy food list, you are more likely to buy healthier foods and even stick to your budget.
And since we highlight the importance of good nutrition here, we suggest you shop the outer aisles of the grocery store first before heading to the center aisles. The outer aisles are where fresh foods, like whole grains, lean meats, dairy, fish, veggies, and fruits usually reside. Then, move to the center aisles for healthy staples, such as dry beans and frozen fruits and vegetables.
Using unsaturated vegetable oils (corn, sunflower, olive, and soybean oil) when cooking instead of oils high in saturated fats (coconut, palm oil, lard, ghee, and butter) and animal fats will also help you consume healthy fats and avoid unhealthy weight gain.
Another solution is to check with your local center for programs that may help you with preparing meals and, consequently, eating foods from each of the 5 food groups in the recommended amounts.
4. Eating Alone
Solo dining habits may negatively impact an individual’s health, such as poor nutrition and developing fat around the waist. To avoid this from happening and to better your overall health, try dining out with family, friends, or your neighbors. You locals may even host group meals.
5. Poor Digestion
There are several causes of occasional digestive problems, such as an unhealthy diet and stress. Symptoms usually go away on their own, however, simple home remedies could ease your discomfort and altogether improve your digestion.
Reducing stress, drinking mint tea, taking a walk, doing activities that will reduce gas in your gut, and eating fermented foods, are some solutions to ease your discomfort.
Furthermore, find the best time to eat your meals for better hormone regulation, body weight, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, sleep, and metabolic improvements. By decreasing unhealthy fats and increasing the healthy fats in your food choices, your body will also be able to better regulate blood sugar levels as well as reduce weight.
Talk to a registered dietician or your doctor to find out which foods to avoid while maintaining a balanced diet.
Picking the Right Nutritionist
If you’ve decided to see a nutritionist, know that it is a worthy investment. But, keep in mind that there are different types of nutritionists – registered dietitians, sports nutritionists, and holistic nutritionists, to name a few. So, do a background check.
If you need help in creating a tailor-made eating plan, a registered dietitian could be your best choice. If you prefer someone who focuses on overall health and wellness, it may be better to ask for help from a holistic nutritionist.
Whether or not you listen to your inner voice or listen to the advice of a professional, enjoying good nutrition is something every one of us should work towards.
Achieving good nutrition doesn’t have to be a Herculean task.
By eating foods that are rich in nutrients and little to no processed foods, your life will be lengthened. So, start making healthier food choices today and make 2022 your healthiest year yet!
If you like this article, you might want to read our other reviews at ExpertFitness.org.
Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.