woman eating healthy food

The Truth About Nutrition

It seems that every time you pick up a newspaper, read a magazine or watch the news that someone is reporting a new dietary discovery. “Eat this for good heart health,” “Avoid this to keep from having cancer,” they say. Often the news is conflicting. It’s all, but impossible to know which reports to believe and which to file away as a fad at best or detrimental to your health at worst.

The truth about nutrition doesn’t lie in the latest health reports. The best way to live a healthy lifestyle is to follow the tried and true tenets of eating fresh, unprocessed foods, eating a variety of foods as illustrated by the nutrition pyramid and following your nutrition plan for the long term (years, not weeks.)

What is the nutrition pyramid?

The nutritional pyramid was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1992 and illustrates the different types of food that Americans should include in their diets and the relative quantities of each type of food. The latest version of the pyramid, adopted in 2011, lists the basic food groups as meat and beans, milk and milk products, vegetables, fruits and grains.

Nutritional Tips for a healthy lifestyle

Eating a healthy diet requires a little research and a little practice to determine what works well for you and your family. Below are just a few tips to get you started:

  • Limit starches and sugars. Starches and sugars are at the center of most Americans’ diets. However, too much pasta, potatoes, sweets and sodas can wreck havoc with your health. These foods are converted into glucose in your body, one of the energies that fuels the body. However, too much glucose can cause those troublesome mood swings and energy surges and valleys.
  • Add fiber. Fiber, found in whole grain products, dark-green vegetables, beans and other fruits and vegetables, is essential for good digestive health.
  • Stay the course. A good healthy diet requires that you follow your good eating habits for the long-term, not for just a few weeks or months. The key is to find the mix of foods your family can live with happily and stay the course.
  • Be a locavore. Buying locally-grown and locally-raised fruits, vegetables and meats not only supports the local economy, but also keeps preservatives, additives and other non-nutritious elements out of your food. Buying local is also friendly to the environment since your food doesn’t have to be trucked hundreds of miles to get to your grocery store.
  • Vary your proteins. Too much of any one type of protein isn’t healthy, particularly red meat. Better to alternate between beef, chicken, egg dishes and fish and seafood. Try to include a couple of vegetarian dishes (with proteins from beans, cheese and/or eggs) in your menu each week.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle takes practice and a commitment to success. However, with a little practice, virtually anyone can reap the rewards of eating well.