Your health and the overall state of your body is greatly determined by what you eat. The nutrients in your food affect you both physically and mentally, so it’s important to make sure that you’re loading up on all the positive, super nutrients you need for optimal health. The recipe for success is pretty simple: knowledge of the best nutrient-rich foods for your diet, a diet and lifestyle plan you can stick with, and tools that will make sure you stay on a healthy path. Here are some tips that will help you boost your diet consistency and nutrient density:
The most important nutrients to have in your diet are macronutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients. You’ve likely come across macronutrients before, as they’re always listed first on nutrition labels. They include carbohydrates, protein, and fats. You can find good, complex carbohydrates in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. Foods with carbohydrates provide your body with energy that can help you sustain stamina for extended physical activity. There’s a lot of fiber in many carbohydrate-rich foods, which helps improve your digestive system, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of disease. Proteins are the most filling macronutrient and are also building blocks for muscles. Good sources of fat–which we all need–can be found in meat, nuts, avocados, and coconuts. These good fats act as anti-inflammatories and promote healthy brain- and immune system function.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that you need only in very small amounts, and that help regulate your metabolism, cell growth, bone density, and heart health. Micronutrients include vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B, calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, and more. Phytonutrients are natural chemicals found in plants that help keep your body working properly. Carotenoids, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, and ellagic acid are all phytonutrients. For more information and insights about the differences between these nutrients, check out Amway.
Create a diet plan and stick with it. You can do this by using a calendar and a food journal to schedule and record your meals. Make sure your schedule includes a well-balanced diet with a variety of nutrients. Be strategic in your meal times and the foods that you consume throughout the day. For example, carbohydrates are best in the morning and give you an energy boost at the start of your day. Eat protein should before or after physical activity, as your body needs it for building muscle. Take into account the seasons and environmental factors when you create your plan. For example, in the winter, there’s less natural light, which may lead to a vitamin D deficiency that can lower your mood and energy levels. Combat the winter blues with some vitamin D-packed foods.
Keep track of what you eat with a food journal so you can accurately know what you’re feeding your body. You may want to use a dedicated food journal, like the wellness journal from Moleskine, to track your meals. This journal has seasonal food calendars, food facts, and measurement- and conversions tables to help you keep accurate records. You may also want to use a smartphone app that will automatically calculate your nutrient intake. Food apps, like MyPlate, allow you to use their search engine to look up the foods you consume or manually add your own food data. The app also provides you with the amount of nutrients you’ve consumed and has a visual chart that will help you see how you’re doing compared to your recommended daily intake.