Quick Tips for Healthy Diets and Long Term Well-Being

Sunday, September 25, 2022
The food that you eat contributes towards your overall health and well-being. Many recent studies suggest that your gut is almost a ‘second brain,' having a huge influence over your mood as well as providing you with the energy you use to heal, grow and repair. Eating a healthy diet should always be one of your main priorities, and it’s something you can encourage your family to do, too. This quick guide contains simple and easy recommendations for a healthy diet. Read on to discover more!

photo via Unsplash, M. Thomas

Wave Goodbye to Ultra-Processed Food

With each year that flies by, the number of ultra-processed foods available on grocery store shelves is skyrocketing. Such ultra-processed foods generally provide few health benefits. They lack nutritional value and are usually filled with potentially harmful ingredients that are unnatural (and unnecessary). This can include artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, as well as low-quality meat products and ingredients. Ultra-processed foods are snacks or meals that have been through a large array of manufacturing processes in order to become the somewhat unrecognizable food item you see before you. This can include microwaveable ready-meals, frozen chicken nuggets, packaged cakes, breakfast cereals, and so much more. 

photo via Unsplash, Y. Aziz

Figuring out whether your food is ultra-processed is fairly easy. All you have to do is check the ingredients list - if you see less than 5 ingredients, then what you are about to eat is fairly natural and most likely healthier for you to consume. However, if you flip a package over to find an ingredients list littered with an array of substances that you've never heard of or can't begin to pronounce, then it's more than likely an ultra-processed item. Try your best to eat a whole foods diet that is rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, along with lean protein and lots of complex carbohydrates. Find natural, unprocessed foods that haven’t been through mass manufacturing, and cook meals from scratch with fresh ingredients so that you know exactly what you and your family are putting into your bodies. You might see a dramatic difference in the way that you feel both physically and mentally when you switch to natural foods, so it’s certainly a step worth taking. 

Cut Your Food Miles by Eating Local

Another effective step that you can follow to improve your health and well-being involves shopping for local produce instead of buying foods that have travelled many miles from other countries around the world. Every food item in the grocery story will have its own unique food mileage, which tells you exactly how far it has traveled to reach you. If you like to eat exotic foods that come from somewhere far away like Asia or Africa when you're living in the US, then your individual food mileage each year will be far higher than is necessary, and you'll likely be eating far more preservatives, too. Food can sit in warehouses for months, then travel in trucks, ships, and more just to reach supermarket shelves. Some fresh produce remains in enormous refrigerators or freezers for months on end before being shipped across the globe, meaning you might be eating something that was actually picked last year! 

photo via Unsplash, S. Pauls

Choosing to eat foods that have been grown and harvested by local farmers can certainly benefit your health. Eating fresh seasonal foods instead of frozen fruit and vegetables is the best choice you can make for yourself. You'll avoid preserved foods and foods that have been doused with chemicals or ripening agents when you consume them freshly picked from a farm. Go to a local apple orchard or strawberry farm to pick your own fruit, or find foraged herbs and vegetables in natural areas close to home. Visit farmers markets and make sure you choose local growers so you know for sure the produce is as fresh as possible. Find great recipes that use local produce too!  Try making this ribollita recipe that utilizes seasonal foods for a delicious health kick that your family will love. These simple lifestyle changes will set you on the right track towards good overall health and well-being.

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