Everything you need to live well

19 Nutrition Facts You Should Know

By Chidirim Ndeche 28 December 2017   |   8:00 am

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to nutrition and overall health; even qualified experts often have differing opinions on some issues. However, there are other topics that most agree on because they are well-supported by research.

1. Run from sugary drinks
The most fattening things you can put into your body are sugary drinks. Why, you ask? The brain doesn’t register calories from liquid sugar the same way as those from solid foods. So, drinking soda or even fruit juices mean more calories and a possibility of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and all sorts of health problems.

2. Nuts about nuts
Nuts may be high in fat, but they are very nutritious and healthy. They contain a high source of magnesium, vitamin E, fibre and other nutrients. They can help you lose weight, fight type 2 diabetes and even boost metabolism.

Nuts

3. Real food over junk food
The biggest reason why people in the world are fatter and sicker than ever before is processed junk food. These foods are made in such a way that they trick our brains into eating more than we need, even leading to addiction in some. They are also low in fibre, protein and micronutrients (empty calories), but high in unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and refined grains.

4. Coffee isn’t bad
Coffee has been treated unfairly for a while, when in fact it is actually pretty healthy. High in antioxidants, studies show that coffee drinkers live longer and have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and numerous other diseases.

5. Fatty fish is healthy
Most people agree that fish is healthy, especially fatty fish like salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and various other nutrients. People who eat the most fish have a lower risk of all sorts of diseases, including heart disease, dementia and depression.

6. Eat your vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits are important to your diet for good reason. They are filled with fibre, vitamins minerals and all sorts of antioxidants, some of which have potent biological effects. People who eat the most vegetables and fruits live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and all sorts of diseases.

Fibre foods: fresh fruits and vegetables

7. Probiotics and fibre are good for your gut
The bacteria in your gut, collectively called the gut microbiota, are incredibly important for all sorts of health-related aspects. A disruption in these “gut bugs” is linked to some of the world’s most serious chronic diseases, including obesity. A good way to improve gut health is to eat probiotic foods (like live yoghurt), take probiotic supplements, and eat plenty of fibre, which functions as fuel for the gut bacteria.

8. Drink water
Drinking enough water can have numerous benefits. It can help boost the number of calories you burn. Studies show that it can boost metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours. The best time to drink water is half an hour before meals. Half a litre of water, 30 minutes before each meal, can increase weight loss by 44%.

9. Don’t overcook your meat
Meat can be a nutritious and healthy part of a diet. It is very high in protein and contains various important nutrients. However, when meat is overcooked and burnt, it can lead to the formation of harmful compounds that increase the risk of cancer.

10. Eat enough protein
Many experts believe that the recommended daily intake of protein is low. Protein is very important for weight loss, as it can boost metabolism significantly while making you feel so full that you automatically eat fewer calories. It can also reduce blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

11. Eat the whole egg
Whole eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, even often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin”. It is a myth that eggs are bad for you because of the cholesterol. Studies show that they have no effect on blood cholesterol in the majority of people. Also, a study showed that egg consumption had no association with the risk of heart disease. The yolk is where almost all of the nutrients are found. Telling people to throw it away is among the worst pieces of advice in the history of nutrition.

12. Don’t do drugs; drink in moderation
Your diet is the least of your worries if you are a tobacco smoker or drug addict. You need to tackle those problems first. If you choose to take alcohol, only do so in moderation and avoid it completely if you have alcoholic tendencies.

13. Use extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat on the planet. It is filled with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants that can fight inflammation and leads to many beneficial effects on heart health and lowers the risk of dying from heart attacks and strokes.

Olive oil. Photo credit: Soul Vegan Summit

14. Avoid refined carbohydrates
All carbs are not the same. Refined carbs have been highly processed and have had all the fibre removed from them, making them low in nutrients (empty calories), and can be extremely harmful. Studies show that they are also linked to overeating and numerous metabolic diseases.

15. Use herbs and spices
There are so many incredibly healthy herbs and spices, like ginger and turmeric which both have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, leading to various health benefits. Try to include as many different herbs and spices as you can as they can have powerful beneficial effects on your health.

16. Track your food intake
The only way to know exactly what you are eating is to weigh your foods and use a nutrition tracker. It also helps ensure that you’re getting enough protein, fibre and micronutrients. People who track their food intake in one way or another tend to be more successful at losing weight and sticking to a healthy diet.

17. Say goodbye to excess belly fat
All body fat is not the same. The most harmful fat in your body is in your abdominal cavity, the belly fat. This fat builds up around the organs and is strongly linked to metabolic diseases. Because of this, your waist size is a stronger way to check your health than the number on the scale. Cutting carbs, eating more protein, and eating plenty offibrer are all excellent ways to get rid of belly fat.

18. Exercise
Doing aerobic exercise or cardio is good for your mental and physical health. It helps reduce belly fat, the harmful type that builds up around your organs, leading to major improvements in metabolic health.

19. Don’t starve
Believe it or not, diets are ineffective and rarely work well in the long term. In fact, starving or depriving your body of foods it needs may lead to future weight gain. Instead, try adopting a healthier lifestyle and focus on nourishing your body. Weight loss should come as a natural side effect of better food choices and improved metabolic health.

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