What is a healthy diet? A question asked by everyone in the health industry and often asked by everyone looking to improve their health and wellbeing. These days everyone has their opinion on what is best and what should and shouldn’t be eaten – while it’s wonderful there is so much interest in health and nutrition, it can also make the question a little bit confusing.
The key to following a healthy diet and lifestyle is enjoying a wide variety of fresh seasonal produce, fermented vegetables, drinking filtered clean water, enjoying moderate intensity exercise daily and limiting highly processed foods such as fast food and highly refined sugars.
Our daily tips to boost your healthy diet:
- Aim to enjoy at least 6 different vegetables and 2 different fruits a day. While it may sound like a lot, it can be quite simple to do! Enjoying a stir fry, salad and snack on vegetable sticks with hummus, these can all help to boost your vegetable intake. Vegetables and fruits each have a unique health and nutrient profile, by enjoying a wide variety allows you to enjoy a wide variety of nutrients too! Remember to always eat a rainbow of colour everyday. Tip: did you know that purple fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants! Time to add some blueberries and eggplant to the shopping basket!
- Clean filtered water, the daily drink of choice! In Australia we are very fortunate for the quality of our water. Drinking water not only hydrates us and our cells, it also helps to move toxins out of our body and generally makes us feel better. A little trick is to monitor your urine output - If it is dark yellow it suggests you need a little bit more water in your diet, we should aim for the colour of light straw. A little trick to know how much you are drinking each day is to grab a glass water bottle and note how many times you fill it up each day! If you need a little bit of a variety try adding lemon, lime, mint or cucumber into the water for a refreshing change.
- Organic where possible. Not just a trendy word, organically produced fruit and vegetables have been found to contain higher levels of health benefitting nutrients and best of all they are grown free from health harming chemicals. While going 100% organic definitely has its challenges making small swaps can make a big different. Not sure where to start? The EWG (Environmental Working Group) revises the Dirty Dozen each year, these are the fruits and vegetables that have been found to contain the highest levels of chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals. Try swapping these foods out for organic ones first.
- Fat! Gone are the days that fat is bad, and we couldn’t be happier! Our body, cells, organs, skin and brain all require good quality clean fat to function and maintain optimal health. Adding foods like organic raw nuts, olives, avocado, small oily fish (sardines and mackerel) and cold pressed oils all benefit our long term and short term health.
- Goodbye packaged foods and fast ‘food’ meals! Meals that are created for take away or even packaged at the supermarket often have chemicals, artificial ingredients or high levels of sodium added to increase the shelf live, improve long shelf live taste, reduce production costs and increase profit margin. Sadly more often than not it also means less nutrients and less health benefits. For an optimum healthy diet, it is best to limit and avoid consuming these foods and rather replace with delicious seasonal home-cooked meals. Tip: ask to see the ingredient list! When at the supermarket turn the packed around and read the ingredient list… if it contains unreadable long words and numbers it’s easy to assume it might be better left on the shelf.