Being healthy is something all of us want to achieve and one of the most important things you have to consider is your diet.
You need to pay attention to what you’re consuming on a daily basis because good or poor food choices can lead to all sorts of health problems.
Natural foods are the answer. It is recommended that you consider changing your diet (if you haven’t already) to incorporate all-natural, whole foods.
Health Benefits of Natural Foods
- Lower your risk of chronic disease and illness. Experts have long recognized the effect that your diet has on cardiovascular disease, but also other conditions such as cancer, dental disease, macular degeneration and more. (1) Eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes will lower your risk.
- Receive whole foods versus isolated nutrients. When you incorporate natural, whole foods in your diet you are consuming nutrients the way nature intended. When you eat an orange, you are not only getting vitamin C, but fiber, potassium, and calcium. Vitamins and minerals work in synergy – let them!
- Reduce your salt intake. When you give up fast foods, processed and refined foods, you will inevitably reduce the amount of salt you get from your diet. These foods (like bottled salad dressings, canned sauces etc.) contain a significant amount of salt per serving.
- Reduce your sugar intake. Similar to salt, salad dressings and canned sauces also contain a significant amount of sugar per serving. (Read the label next time and you’re guaranteed to see sugar as one of the top ingredients!) By opting for a natural foods diet, you will be reducing the amount of sugar you consume. But we’re all human – if you have a craving for some sweet, break off a piece or two of dark chocolate to curb your craving. And don’t feel guilty, dark chocolate has been shown to contain potent antioxidants and can potentially boost your workout.
Top Natural Foods To Add To Your Diet
Get your share of lean protein — but not too much
Our body needs the proper quantity of lean protein to function as we want it to. Here are some examples of what you should consider to include in your diet.
- Fish and Seafood – Seafood is a wonderful source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Choose wild sources of salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines.
- Beans – beans are rich in protein and trace minerals, which can significantly improve the functioning of your body.
- Dairy foods. For those who are not lactose intolerant, dairy, such as yogurt, cheese, and kefir are a great source of protein and calcium. For more on dairy, click here.
- Nuts and Seeds – This is one of the greatest sources of healthy fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins and most of us simply aren’t eating enough! Grab a handful of almonds, cashews, walnuts or brazil nuts for your next snack.
Focus on fruits, and vary your veggies, whole grains, and legumes
- Whole-grain cereals, pasta and bread – Consider choosing sprouted grains. Sprouted grains are rich in nutrients such as folate and B vitamins.
- Brown rice – The main difference between brown and white rice is that brown still has the hull and bran unlike the white. Due to that, it also contains more substances that are needed by our bodies.
- Fresh fruits and veggies – When you can, get local and fresh produce!
Eat calcium-rich foods
Calcium is not only good for your health but it also strengthens your bones. Common sources are dairy foods such as yogurt, cheese and milk, but dark leafy greens such as kale and collards and canned salmon and sardines are also great sources. You should eat the bones as well, and don’t be afraid, they’re not harmful, on the contrary!
Get your vitamins and minerals
The main idea here is to make sure that you provide your body with the things that it needs the most. Vitamin K, vitamin C, as well as magnesium, potassium and trace minerals are all important for overall health (and bone health). With the right natural diet, you will be able to provide most of these through foods. But to ensure you are giving your body what it needs, you can also supplement with a natural, whole food supplement.
This is not technically a diet choice, rather a lifestyle choice, but it’s no secret that smoking is cardiovascular disease and other conditions such as cancer and breathing problems.