What is a Healthy Diet?
With the vast variety of information about what defines a healthy diet, it has become difficult to sort out the hype from the truth. However, a good diet, like many other things is about your lifestyle choices.
These lifestyle choices include the decisions you make everyday about living, and few people understand the enormous impact that small changes in their lifestyles can have on their overall health. A healthy diet plan is no different.
Your diet is probably the single most important aspect of your efforts to be naturally healthy. This is true whether you are trying to lose weight,
, or just trying to improve your overall health.
A proper diet is one that includes a wide variety of foods. The USDA has recently updated the food pyramid, which is a good place to start. I have listed below the main components of a healthy diet plan.
Fruit Group Eating a variety of fruits each day is an enjoyable way to improve your diet. Because organic foods are best, avoid the canned fruits variety, unless it is specifically organically grown. Other good choices are dried and frozen fruits. Of course, the best choice is fresh from the source!
Bread, Cereal, Rice, & Pasta Group Choose whole grains wherever possible in your cereals, breads, and pasta. It’s easy to get confused, so simply look for 100% whole grains when at the store for optimum benefit.
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Beans, and Nuts Group For those who are not in the vegetarian diet group, lean meats are the primary source of protein. This includes poultry, beef, and fish. You can make your meats in a variety of ways, but avoid frying your foods too often, as it adds unnecessary calories and fats to your meals.
Beans and nuts are also a part of this group and are essential
vegetarian protein sources
. Both beans and nuts have great benefits, including being high in protein and a great source of fiber.
Dairy Group Lowfat dairy products help to lower your risk of a variety of diseases and are a staple in many homes. Excessive consumption of foods in this group is undesirable due to the fat content, so seek out those products that limit the fat.
Vegetable Group Everyone’s favorite! A diet rich in vegetables lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. It also strengthens the immune system and improves the function of literally every part of the body. The best vegetables for your healthy diet plan are the dark leafy green variety.
Fats, Oils, and Sweets Group All fats are at the top of the pyramid and their intake should be limited. However, you need to differentiate between good and bad fats. Saturated fats such as those found in fried foods, beef, and dairy may increase the risk of heart disease and should generally be limited in your diet. Unsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, flaxseed oil, sesame, and sunflower seeds are considered healthy fats and are beneficial to your health.
Sweets are one of life’s pleasure, but only in moderation. Avoid excess sugar, especially processed sugars. Found in a variety of foods, one must make sure to read the labels to avoid over-consumption.
It is important to understand that serving sizes vary widely and are not listed here as a result. Each person ultimately must determine what caloric intake is right for them.
Following a naturally healthy diet is an absolute necessity for anyone interested in improved health. Follow the basics and with a little discipline and a little willpower, you can enjoy a naturally healthy lifestyle.
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What is a Healthy Diet?
Diet and Nutrition
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