It makes sense that part of good health comes from good nutrition. Whole grains, low fat, reduced sugars and sodium, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables–these are key to a wholesome diet.
If you wonder if you should change your nutritional habits, consider some of the risk factors which, combined with diet, can make or break your longevity and chance of developing serious, chronic health conditions.
For instance, has your physician spoken with you about hypertension or high cholesterol levels? Did the doctor say you could do better if you changed your eating habits? Is your weight within ideal weight range, or are you too heavy? Is osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes in your genes? What do you think about your diet, and what do you know about vitamins? Would counseling from a nutritionist be helpful?
You may think that it is just too difficult to change your eating habits, but research shows that small things can help. Start by choosing healthy foods, and have some accountability with your doctor or nutritionist.
For example, look what is good about your diet and what needs improvement. You need 4-1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables daily, and whole grains and fiber as well. What about calcium? It’s essential for strong bones, teeth and cardiac function.
Also, try keeping a food journal. Record your daily food and beverage intake. This record will show you what your deficiencies are, and what you need to cut down on.
Remember, information from the internet, TV and magazines may not be the best source of nutritional guidance. Commercial diets are touted by paid spokesmen, without any testimonials about weight gained back after completing the programs. Always check with your doctor for the best approach to dieting.
Also, fad diets and miracle supplements do nothing in the long run. Your body responds best to slow, steady weight loss and healthy, nutrition-packed foods. New and varied foods are the most beneficial.
You can reduce your fat intake by making simple changes, too. Bake, broil, or grill rather than fry. Take skin off poultry. Eat fish weekly.
Reduce butter, margarine, sour cream, and salad dressings. Look for “lite” versions of these products.
When eating out, watch for hidden fat and calories. Check portion size and calories.
Start reading nutrition labels. Drink plenty of water or no-calorie beverages. Avoid soda, sports drinks, sweetened teas and flavored milks.
Remember, the goal is to be healthy, not skinny. Exercise and eat in a balanced way. Set small goals, and celebrate your progress.