Most of us start our days with the best of intentions. We want to exercise effectively and eat the most nourishing foods in order to live healthy lives. However, in 2018, that has become increasingly difficult. Living in a world with information overload makes it challenging to know the difference between a trend and something that is actually healthy for us.
Not sure you are making the best choices for your health? Check out these common nutrition mistakes to find out.
1) You’re Afraid of Fat
Fat is not the enemy. A few decades ago, fats were ostracized and labeled as the main contributing factor for heart disease while the real enemy, sugar, fell into the shadows. The only exception to this rule is trans fatty acids, also known as trans fats.
While all fats are not created equal, you need healthy sources of fat in your diet for optimal health. Some examples of healthy fats are avocados, almonds, salmon and olive oil.
Add those healthy fats to your diet to feel full longer. If you feel fuller longer, you will eat less often and have more stable blood sugar. When your blood sugar is stable, you are less likely to develop diabetes and you will experience steady levels of energy. You will also think more clearly, as fat helps our cells communicate better.
2) You’re Drinking Your Fruit
It’s hot in Florida, and sometimes it’s just easier to throw a bunch of fruit in a blender and call it breakfast. There are certainly breakfast options that could be worse. However, your body doesn’t register liquid calories the same way it registers solid foods.
If you consume a strawberry and banana smoothie, chances are you’re going to be hungry shortly after. Why? Blending fruit changes the structure of the fibers and could cause you to feel hungrier sooner. Also, think how easy it is to dump 10 strawberries and a whole banana into a blender. Now, try to eat the same amount of fruit in one sitting. The smoothies allow you to consume more calories and sugar.
3) You’re Ignoring Your Gut
Ever heard of trusting your gut? Well, there’s a reason for that. The more we learn about food and digestion, the more we realize that it all comes back to the gut. So much of our health starts with what is absorbed or not absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. There are a lot of reasons why your gut might be out of whack, and it’s time to start listening to what it’s telling you.
For one week, try journaling how you feel after every meal. If you ate a bowl of yogurt and then experienced cramping, you could be lactose intolerant. However, if you repeatedly ignore these symptoms, you could be missing your body signaling inflammation. Even if a food is healthy, it doesn’t mean it’s the right food for you. Take time to listen to your body’s responses to what you are eating.
4) You’re Consuming Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils are terrible for you. They are loaded with trans fats, wreak havoc on the gut and cause high levels of inflammation. There’s no sugarcoating it: You should avoid vegetable oils at all costs. The problem is that they hide in our foods.
Some examples of vegetables oils are canola, corn, soybean and peanut oils. Even if you never use these oils while cooking, they add up quickly in packaged foods. Learn to check labels at the store so you can avoid these oils.
5) You’re Not Eating Enough Vegetables
Take a hard look at your nutrition and ask yourself, “Do I eat enough vegetables?” If you answered yes, you are one of the few. There’s nothing sexy about telling someone to eat more vegetables, but the truth is we all could stand to add a few more to our plates.
Let’s start with some obvious benefits. Vegetables are chock-full of vitamins and minerals that are essential to your body. For example, if you are deficient in iron, your body can’t carry oxygen properly and you will become fatigued. Just one cup of cooked spinach with your eggs in the morning would equal nearly a third of your recommended daily iron intake.
Vegetables are also an easy way to consume fiber and keep your gut healthy. This naturally keeps things moving through your intestinal tract and allows you to stay regular.
Finally, vegetables are also a great source of carbohydrates. They give you lasting energy without the glucose spike that comes from processed carbohydrates such as cake, cookies and pasta.
In this day and age, trying to stay healthy can be overwhelming. However, try not to overthink it. When in doubt, stick to real, whole foods, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and high-quality meats. We all make a choice to eat several times a day. So, when mealtime comes, make a conscious effort to stick to these tips, and you will be well on your way to a healthier life.