If you are trying to lose weight, or just to improve your life, you know that you must eat healthily; but what is a healthy diet?
A healthy diet is essentially made up of foods that are in their most natural state (good examples are raw vegetables, grains, fruits etc.). The basic rule of a healthy diet is to minimize the amount of processed food as much as possible. However, we cannot eat only raw fruits and vegetables. This is why what we generally understand by a healthy diet is a meal plan that includes a wide variety of foods. So, the main characteristic of a healthy diet would be diversification.
It is just a way to ensure that our organisms receive different nutritional substances. In order to stay healthy, we need plenty of nutrients, which translate into proteins, carbohydrates, fats vitamins, minerals and water.
Nutrition is of great importance for all of us, but what is a healthy diet for us may not be the same for the next person. Still, we should all agree about what can be called a healthy diet, and we should all try and eat as healthily as we can.
There is no need for us to be absurd and impose too many restrictions. The main reason why most people do not even want to hear about healthy diets is that they imagine that they are far too restrictive. In order to chase away this image and help people develop healthy eating habits, we must determine what a healthy diet actually is.
What is a Healthy Diet? What Foods Cannot Be Part of a Healthy Diet?
Unfortunately, to the displeasure of many people, there are restrictions that apply when you want to eat well and stay healthy. If you consider embracing a healthy diet, you should know from the start that there are some things that must go.
This being said, you will no longer be allowed to eat junk food and large amounts of sugar. You will still be allowed to eat sweets and cookies, but just in small quantities, and just every now and then. On the other hand, you should at all costs avoid junk foods.
Furthermore, you will have to avoid saturated and trans fats that can be found in butter, the fat found on meat products, whole dairy foods, crackers, potato chips, French fries, doughnuts, and foods produced through hydrogenation processes. These fats are bad fats, which raise the cholesterol level in your blood and expose you to the risk of developing heart diseases. Also, you should avoid fried foods, so find another way to cook your meals.
There are further other foods that you must eliminate from your diet. They are: soda and carbonated drinks, white flour, white sugar, energy and meal replacement bars and ordinary breakfast cereals that are high in sugar.
When it comes to what is a healthy diet and what is not, these foods are not healthy, so, as unfortunate as it may seem, you must replace them.
What is a Healthy Diet? What Foods Can Be Part of a Healthy Diet?
Well, the list of unhealthy foods seems pretty long. So, what is left for us to eat?
It is true that we have eliminated quite many things out of our usual diet. So, it is time to replace them. You can easily replace sugar that comes from candies and sweets with sugar that comes from fresh fruit. Soda and carbonated drinks can be replaced with fresh fruit juice, but it is preferable that you eat the whole fruit rather than squeeze it and remove the pulp.
You can also replace whole dairy products with low-fat dairy products, and you should choose lean meat over red meat. Fish and nuts are sources of healthy unsaturated fats, and olive oil can replace butter and stick margarine. White flour can be replaced with whole grains, and white bread with whole grain bread. Other whole grain foods you can eat are brown and wild rice, whole wheat or brown rice pasta, whole grain cereals or whole oats. Whole grains help improve your digestion, because they contain natural, soluble fibers. They also help you feel full and active for a longer time and they are sources of zinc, vitamin E, vitamin B-6, potassium and protein. You should rely on them to be a significant part of your diet. In fact, what is a healthy diet without whole grains?
Apart from whole grains, there are also some other important sources of fiber that you must include in your diet. They are: fruits, vegetables and beans.
We have already established that you should eat diversified meals. But, what is a healthy diet in terms of colors? Well, a healthy diet is green, orange and yellow, as you must eat a wide diversity of fruits and vegetables – including broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots and citrus fruits. They contain high levels of antioxidants and further nutrients that will do a lot of good to your organism. Raw fruits and vegetables can protect you from severe diseases, such as cancer, so it is highly important to eat enough of them. This means you should eat 5 servings per day, combining fruits and vegetables of all colors.
Apart from vitamins, you should also make sure that your body gets enough calcium. Skim milk and low-fat yogurt are excellent foods that can supply you with calcium.
Last but not least, what is a healthy diet without water? You cannot say that you eat appropriately as long as you are not drinking the minimum 8 glasses of water (not juice, not soups, but pure water!) per day. Hydration is also extremely important for the well being of your organism, so do not neglect this aspect. Also, be careful with the amount of alcohol you drink. The excess of alcohol leads to many health problems, adds numerous calories to your organism and leads to dehydration.
Now, after you know all this stuff, you should ask yourself: what is a healthy diet for me? What do you think you should improve in your diet? Start from there, and even if now you find that what is a healthy diet for most of the people is a real annoyance for you, you may change your opinion and get to see the reason behind all of these rules.