29 nutritional tips to improve health for everyone

Good nutrition is a vital part of health and development. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), better nutrition is linked to better health at all ages, a lower risk of disease and a long life.

People may find it difficult or confusing to navigate the amount of nutritional information available now, and many sources have differing opinions.

This article provides science-based nutritional tips to help someone lead a healthier lifestyle.

Following these nutrition tips can help someone make healthy food choices.

1. Add protein to every meal

Eating some protein with every meal can help balance blood sugar.

Some research suggests that higher protein diets may be beneficial for type 2 diabetes.

Other research indicates that balancing blood sugar can support weight management and cardiovascular health.

Eat fatty fish

According to research, omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish are essential for cell signaling, gene expression, and brain and eye development.

Some studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Other research suggests that the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 may effectively control the early stages of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Eat whole grains

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people eat whole grains instead of refined grains.

Whole grains contain nutrients such as B vitamins, iron and fiber. These nutrients are essential for bodily functions such as carrying oxygen in the blood, regulating the immune system and balancing blood sugar.

Eat a rainbow

The saying ‘eat a rainbow’ reminds people to eat different colors of fruits and vegetables.

Varying the color of plant foods provides a person with a wide variety of antioxidants beneficial to health, such as carotenoids and anthocyanins.

Eat your vegetables

According to the Department of Agriculture (USDA), dark green leafy vegetables are a great food source.

Leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The USDA suggests that folate in leafy vegetables can help protect against cancer, while vitamin K helps prevent osteoporosis.

6. Include healthy fats

People should limit their intake of saturated fats and avoid trans fats, according to the USDA.

A person can replace these fats with unsaturated fats, which they can find in foods such as avocado, fatty fish, and vegetable oils.

Use extra virgin olive oil

As part of the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil has benefits for the heart, blood pressure and weight, according to a 2018 health report.

A person can add extra virgin olive oil to their diet by adding it to salads or vegetables or by cooking food at low temperatures.

Eat nuts

According to the AHA, eating one serving of nuts daily instead of red or processed meat, chips, or dessert can benefit health and prevent long-term weight gain.

The AHA suggests that Brazil nuts, in particular, can help someone feel fuller and stabilize their blood sugar.

9. Get enough fiber

According to the AHA, fiber can help improve blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

People can get enough fiber in their diet by eating whole grains, vegetables, beans, and legumes.

10. Increase plant foods

Research suggests that plant-based diets can help prevent overweight and obesity. Doctors link obesity to many diseases.

According to some studies, including more plant foods in the diet could reduce the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

11. Try beans and legumes

Beans and legumes are a good source of protein for those on a plant-based diet. However, those who eat meat can eat it on a few meat-free days a week.

Beans and legumes also contain beneficial fiber, vitamins and minerals.

In fact, some research says pulses can help people feel fuller and lose weight.

Drinking plenty of healthy fluids has numerous health benefits. Health experts recommend these tips:

12. Drink water

Drinking enough water every day is good for overall health and can help control body weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Drinking water can prevent dehydration, which can be a particular risk for older adults.

If someone doesn’t like plain water, they can add some citrus slices and mint leaves to increase the appeal, or drink herbal tea.

Enjoy coffee

A 2017 study suggests that moderate coffee consumption of 3-5 cups per day increases the risk of:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • heart and vascular disease

According to the same review, the recommended amount is reduced to 2 cups per day for pregnant and lactating people.

Drink herbal tea

According to research, catechins in green, black, and other herbal teas may have antimicrobial properties.

Herbal teas, such as mint, chamomile, and rooibos, are caffeine-free and help keep a person hydrated throughout the day.

It’s important to cut back on food and drink that can have harmful health effects. For example, a person wants:

15. Reduce sugar

According to research, dietary sugar, dextrose and high fructose corn syrup can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.

People should be on the lookout for hidden sugars in foods that manufacturers label as names ending in “-ose”, such as fructose, sucrose and glucose.

Natural sugars, such as honey and maple syrup, can also contribute to weight gain if a person eats them too often.

16. Drink alcohol in moderation

Diet guidelines for Americans recommend that if someone consumes alcohol, it should be in moderation.

They recommend a maximum of one drink per day for women and a maximum of two drinks per day for men.

Excessive drinking increases the risk of chronic illness and violence, and over time can impair short and long-term cognitive function.

17. Avoid sugary drinks

The CDC often associates drinking sugary drinks with:

  • weight gain and obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • non-alcoholic liver disease
  • tooth decay and cavities
  • gout, a type of arthritis

People should limit their consumption of sugary drinks and preferably drink water instead.

18. Eat less red and processed meat

A large prospective study in the British Medical Journal indicates that American adults who ate more red and processed meat had higher mortality rates.

Participants who exchanged meat for other protein sources, such as fish, nuts and eggs, had a lower mortality risk over the eight-year study period.

19. Avoid processed foods

According to a review in NutrientsEating ultra-processed foods can increase the risk of many diseases, including cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and depression.

People should instead consume whole foods and avoid foods with long lists of processed ingredients.

In addition to consuming healthy foods and drinks, there are several steps a person can take to improve their health.

20. Support your microbiome

A review from 2019 in Nutrients suggests that a high-quality, balanced diet supports microbial diversity and may influence the risk of chronic disease.

The authors indicate that the inclusion of vegetables and fiber is beneficial for the microbiome. Conversely, eating too many refined carbohydrates and sugars is harmful.

21. Consider a vitamin D supplement

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 15 micrograms or 600 international units per day for adults.

Many people get some of their vitamin D from sunlight, while it is also in some foods.

Dark-skinned people, older adults, and people who are less exposed to sunlight – such as in winter or less sunny climates – may need to take a vitamin D supplement.

22. Watch portion size

Knowing about portion sizes can help people manage their weight and diet better.

The USDA has helpful information on portion sizes for different diets.

People can adapt the guidelines to their cultural or personal preferences.

23. Use herbs and spices

Using herbs and spices in cooking can liven up a meal and have additional health benefits.

A 2019 review suggests that the active compounds in ginger can help prevent oxidative stress and inflammation that occur as part of aging.

Curcumin in turmeric is anti-inflammatory and may have protective effects on health, according to research.

Garlic has many benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

24. Rest your body by fasting

Intermittent fasting means avoiding eating at night or on a few days of the week. This can reduce energy intake and may have health benefits.

Intermittent fasting can improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels and heart health, according to a 2020 review.

25. Keep a food diary

The American Society for Nutrition says keeping a food diary can help people keep track of calories, see how much they are eating, and recognize nutritional habits.

Keeping a food diary can help someone who wants to maintain a moderate weight or eat a healthier diet.

Apps, such as MyFitnessPal, can also help someone achieve their goals.

26. Wash fruits and vegetables

According to the CDC, raw fruits and vegetables can contain harmful germs that can make someone sick. They advise that Salmonella, E. coli, and listeria cause a large percentage of foodborne illness in the US.

Always wash fresh products if you eat them raw.

27. Do not microwave in plastic containers

Research suggests that food stored in the microwave in plastic containers can release phthalates, which can disrupt hormones.

Experts recommend heating food in glass or ceramic containers that are microwave safe.

28. Eat varied meals

Many people eat the same meals on a regular basis. Eating different foods and trying different cuisines can help a person get the nutrients they need.

This can be especially helpful if you’re trying to eat a wider variety of vegetables or proteins.

29. Eat mindfully

In a 2017 study, conscious eating helped obese adults eat less sweets and control their blood glucose.

Another study suggests that mindfulness can raise awareness of food triggers and habits in people with diabetes.

Nutrition is an essential part of health, and people can start living a healthy lifestyle by making small changes to their diet.

It’s also important to remember other important aspects of health, such as exercise and activity, stress strategies, and getting enough sleep.

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