Recent research has shown that 66% of our lifespan is determined by our diet and physical activity.
No doubt that healthy eating is an important part of a long, healthy life.
But there are so many different recommendations about healthy eating, and it’s hard to know which one to follow.
NIH nutrition research experts suggest that the best diet to follow is one that is confirmed by science, that allows you to meet your nutritional requirements, and that you can stick to in the long run.
They provide four effective tips to help you have a healthy eating style.
Reduce added sugar
Many processed food and beverages contain added sugar to make them sweet.
Common added sugar includes corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, and honey.
Recent studies have shown that eating too much high-fructose corn syrup may increase the risk of weight gain and heart disease.
The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that daily added sugar should provide no more than 10% of calories.
To control your intake of added sugar, it is important to nutrition facts labels.
Choose healthy fats
Although fats are high in calories and can increase your chances of developing obesity, not all fats are equal.
Some fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats, could increase LDL cholesterol and raise your heart disease risk.
Saturated fats are often found in high amounts in beef, chicken, pork, cheese, butter, and whole milk. Trans fats are usually found in processed foods.
On the other hand, unsaturated fats, such as those in vegetable oils and fatty fish, may bring health benefits.
The current dietary guidelines encourage people to consume unsaturated fats rather than saturated and trans fats.
Experts advise that people check the fat content on the Nutrition Facts label. You should get less than 10% of your calories from saturated fats.
Reduce added salt
Sodium, which usually exists as salt in our diets, plays an important role in high blood pressure and kidney disease.
Many processed foods have high amounts of salt, which make them unhealthy.
For example, if you eat salty, highly processed food, you can quickly pass the daily limit of one teaspoon of salt (2,300 milligrams of sodium).
It is important to check food labels and reduce your daily salt intake, especially if you have high risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Have a meal plan
Experts suggest that people are much more likely to stick to a healthy meal plan if they have healthy food that is ready to go.
You can try to prepare meals for the week in advance so that healthy food is within reach.
The researchers suggest that the DASH eating plan is a good start.
DASH was developed by NIH-supported research to help people lower blood pressure without medication. The diet can help reduce the risk of many diseases.
The DASH eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts, and fish. It’s also high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, and calcium and low in salt, added sugars, fats, and red meat.
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