We all know some of the basics of staying healthy, like staying active and eating a healthy diet. But you may not be eating as healthy as you think. So, how Healthy is your diet, really?
Did you know that NEARLY 9 IN 10 PEOPLE THINK THEIR DIET IS HEALTHIER THAN IT REALLY IS? According to a new study, almost everyone thinks their diet is far healthier than it actually is. In fact, of the nearly 10,000 people researchers looked at, only 15 percent could accurately tell how healthy their diet was. Interestingly, those with the worst diets had the best idea of how unhealthy it was. (1)(2)
Researchers said the difference between the ideal healthy diet and what people were actually eating was typically a lack of whole grains, greens, legumes, seafood, and plant-based protein, and too much sodium and saturated fat.
How can this be? Many people overestimate the quality and quantity of their food. They also are unsure what is actually healthy and what is claimed to be healthy.
So, what is actually considered a Healthy diet for most adults? Here are some helpful tips to ensure you are eating a healthy diet.
- Fruits & Veggies: Consuming at least 4-5 servings of whole fruit and vegetables daily. Make sure to eat the RAINBOW because not one fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need.
- Legumes: Consume up to 1 cup or less of legumes daily (like lentils and beans).
- Healthy Fats: Consume healthy fats (like nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and avocado oil.) The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends eating around 20 % to 35 % of your total daily calories in the form of healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats.
- Whole Grains: Consume at least 6 oz of whole grains daily (like rolled oats, millet, barley, buckwheat, whole wheat, and brown rice).
- Lean Protein: Consume a variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean meats and poultry, and eggs, including the legumes, nuts, and seeds from earlier.
- Omega 3s: Eat more Omega 3s Fatty Acids. Consume Your body doesn’t produce fatty acids; researchers recommend that healthy people consume 500 milligrams of EPA plus DHA daily. Excellent sources are fatty fish like salmon, anchovies, sardines, atlantic mackerel, cod, herring, lake trout, tuna, oysters, seaweed, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp seeds.
- HYDRATE! Make sure you are consuming 8 glasses daily, or at least a minimum of 6 glasses. This includes fluids from water, beverages like teas and juice, and from food. BUT remember, you may need more water if you are working out or out in the heat. Bonus tip, eat more cucumbers, watermelon, celery, watercress, apples, tomatoes, peaches, zucchini, and lettuce as these foods are very high in water. Not to mention you will also get your fruit and veggies servings in as well.
- AND STAY ACTIVE! Making sure you are being active with regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can be as simple as walking more or standing more and moving around. Did you know that a new study by Simon Fraser University reveals that sitting six to eight hours a day at a desk increases the risk of early death and heart disease? Researchers studied 100,000 people and found those who sit for more than eight hours a day have a 20% higher risk of early death and heart disease. (3)
REDUCE OR ELIMINATE
- Reduce Sugar Consumption; start slowly reducing or eliminating sugars added to foods you buy, sugary drinks by the manufacturer, or specialty coffee drinks, cane juice, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit nectars, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, brown sugar, sucrose. As well as sugars naturally present in honey, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, fruit juices, and fruit juice concentrates. Even though those are natural sugars and best to use, moderation and reduction is the key. Need help reducing sugar in your diet? I have a FREE 7-day Sugar detox that helps educate you on the hidden sugars you might be unaware of and will help you reduce cravings.
- Less Processed Foods, Saturated Fats, and Trans-fats. Start reducing consumption of fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee, lard, baked and fried foods, and pre-packaged snacks and foods, such as frozen pizza, pies, cookies, biscuits, wafers, and cooking oils, spreads, and particular high-fat dairy foods. (4).
- Reduce sodium consumption. Less than 5 g of salt (equivalent to about one teaspoon) per day (8). Salt should be iodized. Be careful when consuming processed foods as they are high in sodium, ready-to-eat meals, processed meats (such as bacon, ham, and salami; cheese; and salty snacks), or from eating out.
Remember when eating to be more mindful of the quality of your food. Think to yourself, How close is it to a whole food?
The bottom line is to slowly start incorporating more of the foods you should eat daily and slowly reduce the ones to eliminate. This will help ease you into better healthy habits and able to make it a part of your daily routine.