Adequate Nutrition and Eating Healthy - Worth It?
Yes! Your diet plays an important role in determining your quality of life. Eating behavior can affect your energy level and overall feeling of well-being1. It can change your shape and affect your risk of developing certain diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure3. Paying attention to your nutritional habits and eating healthy is an easy way to feel better fast and do something positive for your long-term health.
What About That Hamburger?
Healthy eating is consuming foods that provide your body the nutrients it needs to function at its peak. Healthy eating does not mean eating only "health foods" or restricting what you like to eat1. You can eat all foods, as long as your diet is balanced and varied and you eat foods in moderation1. When you eat, you should be able to both enjoy yourself and give your body what it needs to be healthy. WebMD Health provides these basic tips for eating nutritiously.
- Balance - eat many different types of foods from different food groups.
- Variety - eat a variety of foods within each food group (for example, eating different fruits from the fruit group instead of eating only apples). A varied diet helps you get all the nutrients you need, since no single food provides every nutrient. Eating a wide variety of foods will also help you avoid eating too much of any substance that may be harmful.
- Moderation - eat a little of everything but nothing in excess. All foods can fit in a healthy diet if you eat everything in moderation.
Food and Diet Guidelines
The United States Department of Agriculture offers a wealth of information about healthy eating on their website. In addition, it offers a personalized pyramid based on different factors at choosemyplate.gov. The program stresses increased physical activity, eating healthy fruits and vegetables, whole grains, limiting saturated fats, sugar, alcohol, and salt while consuming the appropriate amount of nutrient-dense foods. The choosemyplate.com website combined and replaced MyPyramid and MyPyramid Tracker in June 2012 and added additional content and more interactive features.Individuals with special health concerns, or those who avoid all foods from any one of the five food groups, should consult their Doctor for specific recommendations.
Can eating certain foods help you do better on that big exam? Nutrition research is continuously providing more insights into how vitamins and nutrients affect us. WebMD lists health foods for cognition, memory, and alertness including dark fruits and veggies, spinach, broccoli and beans4. They also talk about how skipping breakfast to try and save time can backfire3. If time is at a premium during test time, Delish.com lists a quick and easy smoothie recipes with blueberries and walnuts to pack an extra brain boost.
How Healthy Is Your Eating?
Evaluate your eating behavior by looking at what, how, and why you eat. How does your eating behavior compare? How does it compare with your activity level? Americans have a tendency to underestimate the amount of calories and high fat foods they consume. A good way to evaluate your diet and make sure you are eating a diet that can boost your energy and banish the brain drain is to track eating habits for a week or two. It is easier than ever with apps and programs available for free. Super Tracker is an online dietary and physical activity assessment tool offered by the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has also reviewed some of the most popular apps and made picking the best one for you easy. Categories include diabetes management, gluten-free and weight management.
Nutrition QuizHow much do you really know about how healthy your diet really is? Take the Acadamy of Nutrition and Dietetics nutirition quiz and find out.
RecipesEat Healthy Recipes -- WebMD provides a multiple recipes from Cooking Light.
- Source: WebMD "Healthy Eating - Overview"
- Source: WebMD “Assessing the Benefits of Breakfast”
- Source: American Cancer Society “American Cancer Society Guidelines on Diet and Cancer Prevention”
- Source: WebMD "Healthy Foods to Eat for Brain Power”