Why You Need to Care About Nutrition
By Kat Gal
The saying “you are what you eat” has a lot of truth to it. A balanced and nutritious diet is the foundation for good health for everyone.
Though there isn’t a specific diet that works for everyone and every disease, it is clear that a balanced, whole foods, fiber-rich diet with plenty of vegetables can make a huge difference.
There are some foods that can help you feel healthier, give your more energy, lessen your symptoms and create more vitality, while there are other foods that will worsen your symptoms and make you feel tired and unenergetic. Even small changes and alterations to your diet can make an enormous difference.
If you want to create more vitality, health and happiness and – of course – to help your ailments, there is no way around it, you need to care about your nutrition.
Basics Of Eating Right
“Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much,” said Michael Pollan and he was right. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated: just eat real food.
- Eat whole foods, mostly plant-based, preferably organic and always high in leafy greens and vegetables. These foods include leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes. Whole foods, plant-rich diets like this are high in fiber, which is important to keep your system moving and working properly.
Eating real and whole foods will also allow you to meet your necessary vitamin and mineral intake, but if you are in doubt, taking multivitamins can help you out too.
- Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Below you will find a list of foods high in saturated fat to avoid. For fatty options, go for the good fats instead, such as avocados, coconut oil, nuts and seeds.
Foods that are rich in omega-3s are excellent for brain health and are also anti-inflammatory. Hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, flax oil, walnut oil and most fish are great sources of omega-3s. You may also take omega-3 supplements in the form of fish oil or vegan algae-based omega-3-s.
- Eat a diet low in or completely free of processed sugars. Don’t be afraid of fruit sugar as fruits are full of necessary vitamins for your health, but eat fresh whole foods, rather than eating them from a can or in sugary desserts.
- Moderate your salt intake. You do not need to avoid it completely, but don’t oversalt anything. Read labels to avoid unnecessary salt. If you crave salt, vegetables like celery are excellent to help with this craving.
- Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. This is your minimum and does not include teas, green juices, or other beverages.
Foods That Promote Brain Health
When you think of health, you may just think of your physical strength, energy and the freedom from pain, but brain health is just as important. Keeping your brain healthy is important for happiness, communication, creativity, memory, mental sharpness and mental clarity.
Eating a generally clean, whole foods based diet with plenty of vegetables is already an important step. However, these are some foods – mainly nuts and herbs – that specifically promote brain health that you should include in your diet:
- Walnuts: They are an excellent source of omega-3s and minerals that decrease your risk of dementia. Eat 5-10 a day.
- Brazil nuts: Just 2 a day will cover your essential selenium needs to counteract environmental toxins.
- Pistachios: Just a few pistachios can help to reestablish lost connections between neurons due to their vitamin K and antioxidant content.
- Almonds: They are good for your brain, rich in fiber and relieve constipation, which is a common symptom of Parkinson’s.
- Cashews: Cashews boost your serotonin levels and are rich in iron, zinc and magnesium and may even help reduce memory loss.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is a super herb that is helpful for so many diseases and ailments. It helps with brain health and reduces inflammation.
- Rosemary: It is full of antioxidants, beneficial for your brain and very anti-inflammatory.
Foods To Avoid
Regardless of your current health and vitality, you should avoid or at least limit your processed food intake. You should also avoid or limit your alcohol intake.
Limit foods that are high in saturated fat, such as:
- Meat (beef, lamb, pork, poultry)
- Beef fat
- Lard and cream
- Dairy products
Along with a healthy diet, it is important to exercise as well to maintain your weight and wellness. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy and are able to do. Tai Chi and yoga are great choices that will also not only move your body, but also help you find mental balance as well.
Dancing, boxing, running, swimming and cycling are also great for cardiovascular health, whereas TRX, free weight, body weight exercises, CrossFit, or Pilates are great ways to strength train. Work with a physical therapist to learn specific exercises that work best for you.
Eating a healthy diet and maintaining an exercise routine can tremendously boost your well-being. Always talk to your doctor and dietitian before changing your diet or using a new supplement to make sure it is right for your specific situation.
How are YOU going to take care of your health TODAY? Share with us in the comments below. As always, we’d love to hear and learn from you.
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Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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