Eating well is fundamental to good health. Aside from promoting better physical health, a healthy diet is said to combat mental illness, as well as protect against a myriad of chronic diseases - such as cancer and heart disease.
Eating a wide variety of fresh, non-processed foods will help you to sleep better, promote better mood, improve energy levels and could even help you to live longer.
But getting lost in the mountains of information online can make this seem more complicated than it is. So many people are confused by the different types of diets (paleo, pagen, keto etc…), food groups, and ingredients, that it’s hard to know where to start if you’re chasing a healthier lifestyle.
So, to help you, we’ve compiled four simple and strategic ways you can improve your diet with little to no effort. Start these simple tips today and watch as a healthier you emerges!
1. Eat more plants
This one is so simple. It’s very common in western culture to plan our meals around animal meat. But what if you made this simple switch and plan around plants instead?
We’re not saying to avoid animal meat completely, but by including more plants in your diet such as vegetables, nuts, beans and pulses you could dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some mental illnesses too. Increasing the plants in your diet improves your gut health, so you’re better able to absorb nutrients. A healthy, functioning gut can better support your immune system, and in term lower cholesterol and improve bowel management.
Try bean casseroles, vegetable lasagnes and curries, and even mushroom burgers for a healthy, plant-based switch from your regular meals!
2. Reduce salty and processed food
Follow the 80/20 rule here! As long as you’re eating well 80% of the time, the odd plate of chips won’t make much of a difference. The same as one gym session won’t make you an athlete overnight!
But, it’s important to be wary of how much processed food you’re actually eating. Processed food is naturally higher in trans fats, oils, cholesterol and sodium, which all spell bad news for our health. Eating too much overtime can lead to serious health issues including obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure. Obesity alone spells disaster for your heart, your respiratory system and even your mental health.
But by adopting a lifestyle that favours more home-cooking, you can be more aware of what is going into your food. Even reducing your calories unknowingly, and shedding any excess weight. Try to limit shop-bought, fast food to once or twice a month, and watch as your mood, energy, and health begins to improve.
3. Eat more healthy fats!
Fats have earned themselves a bad name over time. Throughout the nineties especially, the focus was ‘low fat’ and ‘fat free’ products that were ironically, heavily processed. Even some well-known diets continue to demonise fats including nuts and avocados as unnecessary calories, when this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Eating healthy fats as part of a healthy diet can actually help you to stabilise your weight, your blood sugar levels, improve mood and sleep and even add a gloss to your hair and sparkle to your skin. Macadamia nuts especially, which are high in healthy fats, will be a fantastic addition to your new healthy diet. And since they’re so versatile, you can pop them into your breakfast, lunch or dinner! Check out our recipe page for more ideas!
4. Drink more water
And last but more least, stay hydrated! Most of us aren’t drinking enough water, and unfortunately, highly caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee can actually dehydrate us, causing us to feel sluggish and lethargic and in some cases, mistaking thirst for hunger. But before you reach for a sugary doughnut, glug a glass of water. If you’re still hungry, you can opt for a healthy snack, but chances are you were just thirsty!
Staying hydrated is crucial for proper functioning of the body and the brain. It enables your body to efficiently eliminate waste, maintain temperature, transport and absorb nutrients and so much more. You might wish to opt for a water filter so that you always have clean, freshwater ready to go in your fridge. Or try adding a dash of lime or lemon to add some zing!
So there you have it. Four essential, yet strategic ways to improve our diet starting today. As you start to feel better, you’ll find it easier to introduce more healthy habits into your routine such as exercise or home-cooking. But these tips are a great starting point. Good luck - and, wishing you all a healthy, happy new year!