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How To Utilize Diet To Stay Healthy

It’s easy to underestimate the power of food in personal health. You are what you eat has never been more relevant. The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada says eating a healthy diet is one of the essential ways to protect health, as up to 80 percent of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through healthy habits. And since heart disease is a major concern for women, healthy eating should be a priority.

The World Health Organization says a healthy diet protects against many chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. A nutritious diet also helps keep people active throughout the day by providing energy.

What does healthy eating look like?

Eating healthy is a matter of balance. Individuals should choose foods that will offer the nutrients they need without much of the ingredients that can be detrimental to their overall health. This occurs by consuming less salt, trans fats, sugars, and saturated fats, and opting for vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein sources. Both the United States and Canada offer dietary guidelines for making smart food choices that utilize a plate to demonstrate what healthy eating looks like. They share similar concepts, which include the following:

• Make half of your plate full of fruits and vegetables, focusing on whole fruits and not juices. Vary the produce to take in an array of different colors.

• Fill a quarter of your plate with whole grain foods, like brown or wild rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and hulled barley. Whole grains contain fiber, protein and B vitamins.

• The remaining quarter of the plate can be dedicated to protein, like legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, fish, eggs, poultry, and lean meats. Try to choose plant-based foods more often.

• Switch to low-fat or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yogurt and cheeses. Dairy is important because it provides vitamins A and D as well as calcium.

The benefits of healthy eating

Eating a healthy mix of foods pays dividends. Here are some of the positive side effects.

• Weight loss: Focusing more on food choices can help you keep tabs on calorie consumption. In order to lose weight, you need to consume less energy than you are expending.

• Avoid chronic conditions: A nutritious diet can lower an individual’s risk for many chronic health issues, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

• Strengthen bones and the body: Calcium-rich foods help boost bone health. While dairy notably contains calcium, calcium also is found in sardines, dark green vegetables and calcium-fortified foods.

• Improve mood: The insurance experts at Aetna note that studies have shown that nutrition directly affects mental and emotional well-being. Eating nutritionally dense food promotes the growth of “good” bacteria in the gut that influence the production of chemical receptors in the brain related to how a person feels. Sugar is a culprit in poor health because it feeds the “bad” bacteria in the GI tract and is a major culprit in inflammation.

Making smart choices with regard to diet can help women live longer, healthier lives.

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