Food is vitally important to improving your body’s health. Even though there are plenty of them, some are more important than others to keep a healthy body.
Here are 5 of the most important foods you need to start eating to keep it in the best condition and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
We know what you’re thinking: “water isn’t a food so why is it on this list?”. Truth be told because it’s more important than anything else.
There have been many studies commenting on how much of the body is made up of water, but the common theme is between 60-70%, which are high numbers. Everything including the body’s muscles and organs needs a good amount of water for optimal functionality so this makes it very important to keep your body hydrated with regular water. Drinking a lot of water is also going to help people lose weight as there are no calories.
So, this leads to the question of how much water should you be taking a day? Well, this depends on your body type and how much exercise you do. The average person will require at least a litre or two a day but for those that exercise regularly, or people who have jobs that require a lot of work on their feet etc, this can go up a lot.
Make sure you are drinking something every hour. Keep hydrated and you will see a dramatic change in your health.
The second food group that will help you take control of your health and food are vegetables. There’s a reason your parents told you as a child to eat your greens. Vegetables contain a high number of vitamins and minerals that help your body function at its best. The impact they have is huge.
Not only do they help with fighting off illnesses by boosting the immune system, they also help prevent the risk of developing fatal heart conditions. There are plenty of other health benefits, including how they help in protein synthesis and bone structure.
Its more than just physical benefits too; the nutrients offered in vegetables have a big effect on improving mental health. You should be looking to eat vegetables of all different colours, but the best ones are usually the darker greens like broccoli and spinach and the bright oranges like carrots.
The reason why it’s just vegetables and not ‘fruit and vegetables’ is because eating a lot of fruit will fill your body with sugar. Fruits are great snacks to provide a healthy burst of energy, but vegetables should be eaten with most, if not all, of your meals.
Specifically, lean sources of protein. The body requires protein for a lot of functions, but it is primarily used as part of muscle and tissue formation and repair.
Lean sources of protein will have low traces of saturated fat, so you can be consuming only the nutrients your body really needs. Unfortunately, this may mean you need to stop eating that tasty bit of bacon if there is a lot of fat around the edges.
Red meats can be good sources of protein, but you just need to be aware of the levels of fat. Look for the packets that display 95% meat or 5% or less fat. That way, your red meats will be lean and mean. With this being said, white meats are the best lean sources of protein available, such as chicken and turkey breast. Eggs are also brilliant because they contain all the amino acids the body craves.
Oily fish like salmon is also perfect. These are high in fat, yes, but the good fats. Oily fish are packed with vital omega-3 fatty acids so make sure you get enough of this into your diet.
Failing that, look at using supplements for getting omega-3s.
Protein is incredibly important to the body. They are vital in muscle repair and recovery and help in burning fat by helping to increase the body’s metabolism. There are a lot of foods available that are packed with protein. To the naked eye, this would seem to be great.
4. Complex carbs
Unlike what many diet plans tell you, carbs are your friend. In fact, they are one of the main food groups your body needs to maintain good health.
The reason why people are to stay away from them is that eating too many carbs without exercise creates a surplus of glucose, which is turned to fat if not used by the body. Most people’s diet includes starchy carbs like pasta, potato, and white bread, all very starchy carbs. These are simple carbs and you should be looking to stay away from or substitute them for healthier alternatives.
These alternatives are known as complex carbs. The difference between simple and complex is that they contain far more nutrients compared to the number of calories. One of the benefits of a diet consisting of complex carbohydrates is that they take far longer for the body to break them down, producing last lasting energy.
You may have experienced a sort of ‘crash’ after eating white bread; this is because there is a high level of refined sugar, leading to short bursts of energy before your body comes down. So now you know why you need to eat complex carbs, what are the choices?
First off, switch regular pasta (and rice for that matter) with the brown, wholemeal alternative. In terms of potato, substitute them with sweet potatoes. They taste great, and as we know when looking at vegetables, the bright orange colour indicates they are full of nutrients. The tip for bread? Remove it from your diet if possible but if you must have it, use wholemeal.
The final food group that you must have in your diet to take control of your health is managing the fats that your body requires.
Fats are a source of energy that your body uses when you don’t have enough energy produced through carbohydrate break down. They are also important for homeostasis.
As we have seen, fatty acids can be found from oily fish like salmon, where the omega-3s are rich and plentiful. However, for those of you that are not big fish eaters, or you are vegetarian/vegan, the best foods to provide fats are nuts. They have exceptional nutritional value and act as an excellent source of protein.
Nut butter works just as well and they can be incredibly tasty. Another way to get fats into your diet is by cooking in extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. They add a bit of extra flavour to the food while providing excellent nutritional value at the same time.
So, there you have it, these are the 5 foods take will help you control and maintain good health.