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What is the best diet for healthy living? 5 tips that are scientifically proven to be effective.
There is SO much confusing research out there now regarding diet and what is healthy and what is not.
As a researcher and writer for a health website I am often mind-boggled by the amount of confusing information I come across!
- What fats are good fats? Are fats good for us or not?
- What are healthy carbs? Do we succumb to the low-carb diet craze?
- Should we eliminate gluten? Should we eliminate lactose?
- Is eating meat bad for you?
- Is a high protein diet healthy and good for weight loss?
… and endless more questions with more answers than anybody will ever have the time to read, never mind process.
I think that is genuinely time to take the whole diet advice back to basics and good old common sense.
So, here is what I have learned and try to follow myself:
1. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
Forget the "5 a day mantra". The World Health Organization recommends 400 g of fruit and vegetables a day and this was interpreted by some countries as "5 a day".
However, why limit yourself to 5 a day?
Eat as many fresh, organic, in season, fruit and vegetables as you can - all day every day.
Rediscover your favorite fruits and vegetables and enjoy them. We need to stop seeing fruit and vegetables as something we ‘must’ force ourselves to eat 5 a day of and instead, see them as delicious treats that we can overindulge in.
Discover and eat the fruits and vegetables that reflect each season.
For example, enjoy all those orange pumpkins, turnips, sweet potatoes, mandarins and pomegranates that reflect Autumn. I genuinely think that we should eat an abundance of foods that are in season.
Fruit and vegetables are vital to health and an essential source of healthy vitamins and minerals including fiber.
The benefits of eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables are too numerous to go into here — but they are immense.
2. Eat carbohydrates, but choose wisely
With the IMMENSE amount of information on low carb diets on the internet it is VERY confusing.
Firstly, carbohydrates are an important food group (regardless of whether they can be substituted with fats and proteins).
Indeed, carbs provide energy to the organs, blood cells and brain of the body. According to the Institute of Medicine carbohydrates should make up 45% to 65% of the daily caloric intake.
But let’s forget recommendations and get to the main issues:
Highly Refined Carbohydrates are NOT good for a healthy diet. Limiting (or eliminating) these types of carbs will improve health.
Examples of refined carbs:
- Refined Breakfast Cereals
- White Bread
- Pizza Base (White)
- Pasta (White)
- White Flour and everything made from it like donuts, cakes and cookies
- Fruit Juice, Soda and any sweetened Drinks
- White Pizza Base
However, the following carbohydrates are excellent for health and should be included in healthy diet plan:
- Barley and Buckwheat
- Lentils, chick peas, green peas and beans
- Fruits: Such as bananas, cherries, apples, blueberries
- Vegetables: sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach
3. Fats: Good fats and bad fats
Yes, this one is really confusing! For years the health specialists promoted the low fat diet. Then, low-fat products are seen as bad for us… so what is the answer?
Well, some fats are essential to well-being. Indeed, natural fats contain essential nutrients, aid in the digestion of certain vitamins and provide a vital source of energy to the body.
A meta-analysis of 21 studies that included 350,000 subjects concluded that there is NO correlation between saturated fat intake and heart disease and stroke.
It is the source and type of fat that is important to health and some fats are beneficial to the heart and brain.
So, as a basic guideline, the fats to avoid are trans-fats. For example:
- Most processed Foods
- Cakes and pastries
- Microwave popcorn
- Chips or French fries
- Fried fast food
- Frozen Pizza
- Vegetable oils
Examples of Good Fats to include in moderation in your diet:
- Dark Chocolate
- Fatty fish
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
Again, there has been a lot of buzzing about high protein diets and weight loss.
Proteins are the building blocks of the body and absolutely essential to good health.
The accepted recommended daily dose of protein is 0.8 g per kg. However, some studies and medical experts now agree that this amount, for optimal health, should be a lot higher.
Some excellent sources of protein are:
- Lean white meat such as chicken and turkey
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese and
- Red Meat such as pork tenderloin and lean beef
There is a lot of controversy regarding eating red meat and the adverse effects on health. My advice would be to limit red meat to once a week or so.
So, eat more seafood and lean white meat such as chicken and turkey. Most importantly change to organic meat whenever possible. I know that it is more expensive, but eat less of better quality.
5. Drink Water
Finally drink LOTS of WATER. Forget carbonated and caffeinated drink and flush your body with healthy, clean, calorie-free, pure water.
Note: For a healthy method to lose fat fast, take a look at the 10-Sec Daily Gut Burner below.
About Author: Andrea Fiore
I live in Sacramento, California, but grew up in Colorado. These days, I work from home because of COVID-19, doing accounting for several small businesses and blogging in between. I have two teenage sons, ages 13 and 15. I write this blog, from personal experience, for women in search of simple health tips that work. I enjoy reading, yoga, walking my dog, and the occasional game of Scrabble.