What and how we are told to eat changes about the same way fashion, makeup and decorating do. But like fashion and style, some things are simply classic. Here are some nutrition advice classics:
- Eat More Plants. This is one piece of unwavering pieces of advice every nutrition and health professional including me agrees on: eat more fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils and whole grains like quinoa, barley and farro. Time and time again, research has proven the best way to decrease risk for today’s chronic diseases and manage weight is by increasing the plant based content of your meals. Check out this blog for more about whole grains and a yummy recipe for a Risotto Inspired Barley as well as this recent blog about the Mediterranean diet which I support.
- Eat Less Sugar. Unfortunately, sugar is the secret ingredient many manufacturers have added to their food to make it taste oh-so-good and increase sales. However, the long term consequences of eating too much sugar are real. From tooth decay to weight gain to inflammation and an increased risk for cancers, sugar is an ingredient every nutrition and health professional will always recommend to eat less of. Some completely cut out sugar because they find it so addictive that a little bit only increases the craving for more. Others can eat and enjoy sugar in moderation. The key is to find what works for you and walk away with the take home message to reduce your overall sugar consumption. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends women limit added sugar to no more than 6 teaspoons a day, which is equivalent to 25 grams of added sugar or 100 calories. For men, the recommendation is 9 teaspoons per day, which is equivalent to 36 grams of added sugar or 150 calories. Check out this quick blog where I discuss sugar.
- Eat Less Processed Foods. The real food movement has helped spread this message which nutrition experts like myself have been promoting for years: eat more foods in their natural state and reduce your intake of highly processed and packaged foods. Generally speaking, processed foods are higher in sugar, fats, calories and preservatives which we should all be avoiding.
- Drink More Water. Plain and simple. Water helps with the digestion, absorption, circulation and transportation of nutrients as well as the maintenance of body temperature. Staying hydrated also helps maintain a healthy weight and promotes young, healthy looking skin. If plain water does not appeal to you, you can still reach your hydration needs with other unsweetened fluids such as tea, coffee, and my favorite – fruit, vegetable and/or herb-infused water.
- Move More. Although this tip isn’t a nutrition recommendation, by now you know I’m about overall lifestyle. In today’s modern world of working on a computer and taking a car everywhere, it takes a conscious effort to be active. The American Heart Association recommends at least thirty minutes a day, five times a week. Remember, when it comes to your health, every step adds up. Stay consistent and have fun — you are worth it!