By Marcia Bristow
Photo by Craig Thomas
Are nutrition and health related? In other words, is healthy eating important? Of course!
Like finely tuned machines, our bodies need the right fuel (food) and regular maintenance (movement, lifestyle and mental attitude) to maximize health and achieve their full potential. Each of your food and exercise choices affects your health and well-being today, tomorrow and into the future.
Maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise routine can:
Give you vitality and energy for life
Help you stay at a weight that’s right for you
Boost your immune system
Improve sports performance
Delay the effects of aging
Keep you active and fit into old age
Help beat tiredness and fatigue
Protect teeth and keep gums healthy
Enhance your ability to concentrate and possibly improve mood
Ward off serious illnesses like heart disease, certain cancers, Type 2 diabetes, and gallbladder disease
There are many ways to eat healthfully, and everyone has their own eating style. Food preferences, culture, traditions and budget drive food choices. It is easier than you think to start eating healthy and getting more active. Small changes can make a big difference to your health.
To start Fueling Fitness recommends, try a few of these healthy goals:
Focus on variety, amount and nutrition:
Look for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, lean protein sources and low-fat, calcium-rich foods to get the most nutrition and meet your personal calorie needs. Choosing nutrient-rich foods and drinks, along with regular physical activity, can help you manage your weight and lower your risk of disease.
Choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium and added refined sugars:
Sugars, sodium and saturated fat are often added to processed food. Eating a diet rich in whole foods and lower in processed food will help you meet this goal.
Drink plenty of fluids:
It’s easy to overlook, but choosing healthy drinks is a key part of a balanced diet. Unless you’re taking part in high-level endurance sports, water is the best way to replace fluids lost during the day. If plain water is getting boring, try sparkling water or add a splash of juice or a slice of fruit. Tea and coffee count as well, but watch the sweetener. Added sugar equals added calories.
Stress, tension and eating on the run all take their toll on your digestion and health. Try to relax and take the time to really appreciate your food. This will increase the enjoyment of eating and satisfaction, and is a strategy to help people lose weight.