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Importance of Good Nutrition

Are you feeling bombarded with information about what new eating trend to try or what must-have ingredient to include on your grocery list? Ignore that. Good nutrition is really about having a well-rounded diet, and it is much easier to do than you may think. Living a nutritious lifestyle can be both easy and fun.

Importance of Good Nutrition

Are you feeling bombarded with information about what new eating trend to try or what must-have ingredient to include on your grocery list? Ignore that. Good nutrition is really about having a well-rounded diet, and it is much easier to do than you may think. Living a nutritious lifestyle can be both easy and fun.

Good nutrition means giving your body all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work its best. With many of us quarantined at home due to the Coronavirus situation, it’s especially important to take care of yourself and your diet.

Add More Healthy Fats

Did you know not all fats are bad? Foods with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are essential for your brain and heart. Limit foods with trans fats, which are known to increase the risk of heart disease. Good sources of healthy fats include olive oil, nuts, seeds, certain types of fish, and avocados. Here’s how you can add more healthy fats to your diet:

  • Top lean meats with sliced avocado or try some avocado in your morning smoothie.
  • Sprinkle nuts or seeds like slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds on soups or salads.
  • Add a fish with healthy fats, like salmon or tuna, into your meals twice a week.
  • Swap processed oils like canola or soybean oil for cold-pressed oils, like extra-virgin olive oil and sesame oil.

Cut Out the Sodium

Proper nutrition is about balance, and that means not getting too much of certain ingredients, such as sodium, or salt. Sodium increases blood pressure, which raises the risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the CDC, most Americans consume about 3,400 mg of sodium each day. This is much more than the recommended amount of 2,300 mg per day, which is about one teaspoon of salt. Follow these tips on how you can reduce your daily intake of sodium:

  • Avoid processed and prepackaged food, which can be full of hidden sodium. Many common foods, including bread, pizza, and deli meats, can be sources of hidden sodium.
  • When you're shopping at the grocery store, look for products that say "low in sodium" on the label.
  • When you’re out to eat at restaurants, ask for sauces and dressings on the side.
  • Instead of using salt, add delicious flavor to your meals with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a dash of no-salt spice blends, or fresh herbs.

Increase Fiber Intake

The fiber in your diet not only keeps you regular, but it also helps you feel fuller longer. Fiber also helps control blood sugar and lowers cholesterol levels. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans and peas are all excellent sources of fiber. Here are easy ways to increase your fiber intake:

  • Slice up raw veggies and keep them in to-go baggies to use as quick snacks.
  • Start your day off with a high-fiber breakfast like whole grain oatmeal sprinkled with pecans or macadamia nuts.
  • Steam veggies rather than boiling them. When buying frozen vegetables, look for ones that have been "flash frozen."
  • Add half a cup of beans or peas to your salad to add fiber, texture, and flavor.

A Colorful Diet

Foods like dark, leafy greens, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Follow these tips to make your food palate more colorful and healthier:

  • Sprinkle fresh herbs over a salad or whole wheat pasta.
  • Make a red sauce using canned tomatoes, fresh herbs, and spices. Remember to look for "low sodium" or "no salt added" products.
  • Add diced veggies like peppers, broccoli, or onions to stews and omelets to give them a boost of color and nutrients.

Knowing how important a balanced diet is for good health, there are still less than 1 in 10 children and adults who eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables, AND only 4 in 10 children and fewer than 1 in 7 adults who eat enough fruit. Today, the typical American diet is too high in calories, saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars, and does not have enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium, and fiber. If you fall into this category, it's time to make a change. Follow our guide to get started!

Sources
https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/features/national-nutrition-month/index.html
https://www.tuftsmedicarepreferred.org/healthy-living/expert-knowledge/importance-good-nutrition
https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/nutritionwyska

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