Do you know that by following a few simple nutritional tips, you can improve your health? Eating correctly is essential to feel good, both inside and out. However, sometimes it becomes mission impossible due to lack of time and the current pace of life. The reality is that it is not as difficult as it seems. All you have to do is incorporate certain eating habits into your daily routine. Do you want to know which ones? In this post, we give you ten nutritional tips that will help you be healthier. Before, we are going to review some important concepts related to good nutrition.
Do you eat, or do you feed yourself?
When we sit down at the table to eat, we can have two objectives: eat the first thing we have on hand, or try to put food on our plate to meet our nutritional needs and keep us as healthy as possible. Which one do you identify with? It is true that the second option takes a bit more effort, especially at the beginning. However, it is very worth opting for this option, since once we implement a diet and some habits, we will be betting on our health. You have probably heard or read that certain diseases depend on both genetic and environmental factors. Well, within the latter, food is the most relevant. If you think about it, it has all the logic in the world: the food we eat, with its excellent or harmful properties, becomes part of our body. Therefore, before putting anything in your mouth, remember the nutritional advice that we are going to give you.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA)
Our body needs specific amounts of nutrients, which must proportionately be part of the diet: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, etc. Although the recommended daily amounts of each nutrient are in continuous debate by experts, currently, there is consensus that can guide us about the part of each type of nutrients that we must incorporate into our diet daily to be healthy, depending on our age and sex.
The recommended daily amounts (RDA) present a practical problem: they are based on nutrient recommendations, so you have to know how to transfer this information to your diet. Fortunately, to help us interpret these recommendations, we have two tools: the nutritional tables and mathematics.
How to use the nutritional charts
The nutritional tables usually indicate the number of nutrients per 100 g of product. For example, to determine how much protein a specific food has, we must find how much it has per 100 g. A chicken fillet of this weight contains 22 g of protein. It is necessary to clarify an idea: it is common to think that some foods only contain one nutrient type. However, this is a wrong notion since it is expected that they include several. The 100g chicken fillet that we talked about before, in addition to protein, also contains carbohydrates (2.30 g) and fat (5.2 g). Therefore we must also add these values.
Although it is not necessary to count the exact grams that we eat of each type of nutrient, it is advisable that, at each meal, we include the different nutritional groups to ensure a correct contribution: carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables must always be present in our dishes.
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If we want to know the nutritional composition of fresh foods, we have no choice but to go to the dietary tables. In packaged food, we have an element that makes things much easier for us: the label. Therefore, you must review them when you have questions about a product or compare two similar ones.
Ten nutritional tips to improve your health
We know that having to go to the nutritional tables and calculations continuously can be somewhat cumbersome, so we want to make things easier for you with these ten dietary tips. Following these ten nutritional tips will help you eat better every day and be healthier. The more you put into practice, the better. But don’t be overwhelmed; you don’t have to start with all of them at once. You can gradually incorporate them, beginning with those that are easier for you. Your health will thank you!
1. Make vegetables and fruits the protagonists of all your dishes
If a boring menu in which green predominates comes to mind, banish this image! Each fruit or vegetable has different qualities and includes other nutrients and antioxidants. The colors of fruits and vegetables – which come from chlorophylls, carotenes and carotenoids, flavones, and anthocyanins – indicate their different properties and antioxidants. So now you know, turn your dishes into a festival of color! Here we explain the properties of each shade of fruits and vegetables:
- White: These vegetables contain potassium and antioxidants, which provide them with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and protective properties of the circulatory system. You will find them in vegetables such as turnip, leek, garlic, and onion.
- Yellow and orange: the color is due to carotenes and carotenoids, characterized by having a powerful antioxidant effect. They are related to the improvement of memory, and besides, they strengthen the body’s defenses, contribute to the health of the eyes, the skin, and the mucous membranes. You will benefit from them by eating foods such as carrots, squash, or mango, among others.
- Reds and purples: the color of these foods is a consequence of anthocyanins or resveratrol, substances with antioxidant power associated with an anticancer effect, cardiovascular protection, and memory improvement. We can find them in strawberries, pomegranates, raspberries, blackberries, black grapes, or blueberries.
- Green: vegetables of this color are rich in vitamin B9, C, minerals, and chlorophyll. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions. Take advantage of these qualities by eating spinach, chard, peas, avocado, arugula, or lamb’s lettuce.
2. Limit red meat in your diet
If vegetables have to be the undisputed star of your dishes, red meat should only make very occasional appearances. As you know, its reputation is not very good, since it has been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Recommendations on your maximum intake are periodically reviewed, based on available scientific information. However, it is not a question of eliminating this type of meat. You can consume hamburgers or ribeye eventually, but it is convenient to replace it in your daily diet with chicken, turkey, or fish.
3. The fruit, best whole or in smoothies
When we eat the entire fruit, we provide our body with both vitamins and fiber. On the other hand, the latter is lost if we take only the juice, for example, squeezing the oranges or using a blender. In case you are lazy or do not feel like eating whole fruit when you wake up, a great option is fruit and vegetable smoothies or shakes; for many people, they are more delicious in the morning. The truth is that they are delicious! The best of all is that, with them, you will be ingesting a large number of nutrients, something essential to start the day in the best way.
Whether you eat the whole fruit or in smoothies – either of the two is a good option – we recommend that you peel it before or, if not, that you buy it from organic cultivation because nowadays the presence of pesticides is frequent in both fruits and vegetables. We also encourage you to try adding such beneficial foods to your smoothies as ginger or turmeric. Incorporating them into the Mediterranean diet is complicated. However, they are the ideal complement to your shakes. Write down this recipe: berries, pineapple, cucumber, spinach, spearmint, ginger, and turmeric. If you try it, you will love it! As you can see, this nutritional advice can be delicious.
4. Little by little, reduce the sugar in your diet
Today many foods contain large amounts of added sugar. For this reason, our palate has become accustomed to the sweet taste and is increasingly demanding it. However, if we progressively reduce it, we will ensure that it is not missed. And, in this way, we will be doing our health a favor since sugar consumption is related to different pathologies:
- Spikes in blood sugar, which put extra strain on the pancreas and increase the risk of diabetes in the long term
- Alteration of the microbiota or intestinal flora, today we know that a healthy microbiota is a key to our defenses and our health in general
- Some studies indicate that there may be a link between sugar consumption and the risk of Alzheimer’s
So now you know, halve that sugar that you put in coffee or, even better, eliminate it from everything. When it comes to sugar, in general, the less, the better; if you have a hard time giving up the sweet taste, you can use stevia, a naturally-derived calorie-free sweetener that can help you enjoy food without the harmful effects of sugar.
5. Choose integral
Today we have a wide variety of foods made with whole wheat flour, from pasta to pizza dough or bread. In addition to containing fiber, it is more beneficial than refined flour for several reasons:
- Whole wheat flour reduces the absorption of carbohydrates and fats, reducing the sudden increase in blood sugar caused by refined flour foods.
- It serves as food for the good bacteria that we have in our intestinal microbiota, promoting their growth and improving our defenses, intestinal transit, and reducing the risk of colorectal cancer.
Important! We warn you that not all foods in which packaging has stated the condition of ” integral ” are. Therefore, you should consult your allies, the labels. They will inform you if it is entirely whole or if it is a food with refined flour to which they have added cereals.
For example, until very recently, “wholemeal” bread could be made with refined flour, as long as cereals were added later as bran. However, now the legislation has changed and is stricter in this regard. Since last July 1, for a bread to be considered integral, it has to be made 100% with flour of this type. In general, we recommend that whenever you are before a whole food, check its label. In addition to verifying that it is, you can detect if it contains preservatives and thus avoids them.
Finally, favoring a varied diet is positive, so we recommend that you incorporate various flours. There is life beyond wheat! Have you tried buckwheat, spelled, or legume flour?
6. Feed your microbiota
Our sixth nutritional advice has to do with the intestinal microbiota. Do you know that some foods also serve to nourish it and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria? You have probably heard that potatoes, sweet potatoes, or rice are best eaten cold. This is because these foods, after cooling after being cooked, generate a substance called type III starch, key to the macronutrient microbiota, which produces a substance that protects our colon. We can reheat these foods before eating them but in a gentle way.
There are two other great friends of the microbiota:
- Kombucha: fermented tea drink high in probiotics and available in many flavors
- Kefir: a product similar to yogurt.
It is imperative to take care of our microbiota since there is more and more evidence of the relationship it has with the defenses, the response to medications, allergies, and mood.
7. Eat nuts
It is imperative to consume them, although in the right measure. Nuts provide antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and are crucial for a healthy diet. Nuts are essential for cardiovascular health, but we must limit ourselves to the daily amounts necessary to not exceed our caloric intake, a handful a day is enough!
8. Abuse the fruit!
In this case, there are no restrictions. The fruit is very beneficial because it provides vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and other multiple benefits for the body. Each one has different properties; for example, red fruits have great antioxidant power and high flavonoid content. They are so beneficial that they should be eaten daily.
A trick to eating more fruit is to get used to choosing it over any processed food when you feel like snacking on something. We advise you, preferably, to consume seasonal fruit.
9. Avoid processed foods and additives
This is one of the essential nutritional tips. The ultra-processing of some foods makes them an unhealthy option, full of preservatives, colorings, and all kinds of additives. Therefore, avoid them at all costs. Today there are applications such as Yuka, which are used to scan the code of food and see if it is highly processed and indicate the content of additives that can be potentially harmful.
10. Eat legumes every week
They are very, very healthy and can be consumed in a thousand ways. Do you want some ideas? Try them in salads, in the form of hummus, or as the traditional spoon dish. The legumes contain vitamins of group B (thiamine, niacin, B6, and folic acid) and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and iron. Also, they are a food that contains both carbohydrates and proteins. Yes, protein! Which, too, are of vegetable origin and almost without fat.
To complete these ten nutritional tips, it is also essential that you hydrate and do physical activity. For this reason, drink an average of 2 liters of water a day to cleanse your body and exercise regularly. You will see the benefits!
We hope that you liked these tips that we give you from Veritas and, above all, that you put them into practice. Investing some time and effort in a healthy diet is investing in health, both in the present and in the future. Taking care of your body will help you feel better, stronger, and healthier. Put these nutritional tips into your routine and start feeling better right away!