Everyone knows that eating right is crucial for good health, but just how should you go about doing it?
With so many conflicting sources of information about the best ways to lose weight and achieve optimal nutrition, it can be hard to know exactly what truly healthy eating looks like. In addition to the standard good advice about balancing your food groups and cutting back on processed foods, you can also focus on specific nutrients to target certain health benefits.
Check out these five out-of-the-box suggestions for healthy eating to make sure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need in your body. Some of them may surprise you!
1. The Right Foods Provide Energy
While caffeine and sugar are easy sources of quick energy when your levels are perilously low, they can also send your body into an unhealthy rollercoaster ride of energy highs and lows that will leave you feeling worse than you did to start with.
Instead of relying on that daily latte, eat a diet of healthful energy boosters that are high in magnesium. Magnesium helps your body convert food into energy during the metabolic process, and if you don’t have enough, you can tire out more easily. Try snacking on foods like almonds, avocados and bananas for a healthy shot of magnesium each day for better energy overall.
2. Antioxidants Prevent Aging
There’s a lot of hype about antioxidants helping your body prevent disease and cellular degeneration, but the results of studies have been mixed. While it’s not clear if Vitamins C and E can really do much to prevent wrinkles or heal sun damage to your crow’s feet, they can help prevent aging in another part of your eye.
These antioxidants, along with beta-carotene and lutein, have been shown to prevent blindness and slow the progress of macular degeneration. The best way to get what you need to protect your sight? Chow down on dark, leafy greens and colorful vegetables like carrots and tomatoes to get these nutrients naturally.
3. Trace Metals Are Your Body’s Building Blocks
Sure, protein gets all the glory for being the building block of your cells, but your body couldn’t function without some tiny bits of metal in your diet, too.
While iron is the best known for its effects on your red blood cells, copper is just as important for a healthy body. Chickpeas and other seeds are good sources of this trace mineral, which is known to help build enzymes and protect your thyroid and nervous system.
4. Fermented Foods Aid Digestion
Just about every culture has a favorite fermented food, but goodies like sauerkraut and yogurt are about more than just unique or traditional flavors. Fermented foods contain loads of probiotics — tiny, beneficial bacteria that do everything from pre-digesting hard-to-break-down foods to improving the overall health of your digestive tract. These helpful bacteria help regulate your digestion and can also improve the way your body absorbs all the other nutrients you need, so make room for lacto-fermented pickles, kimchi and kefir in your diet.
5. Vitamin D Enhances Bone Health
Thanks to more conscientious sunscreen use, you may not be getting the recommended amounts of Vitamin D any more. Many Americans are coming up short because their bodies aren’t converting sunlight into this important vitamin on a daily basis. This critical nutrient helps your body use calcium to build bones, and it also regulates the growth of cells and lowers your risk for heart disease. Luckily, you can add Vitamin D to your diet by picking up extra portions of fish like salmon and tuna, or fortified milk and orange juice.
If you add some of these typically overlooked nutrients to your diet, you’ll be taking steps down the road to good health. Luckily, many of the food listed here are also good choices for an overall healthy diet, thanks to their low fat and high fiber profiles.
While there’s no such thing as a magic bullet of a diet, or a single super food that’s going to transform your body, you can work to eat balanced meals and add regular exercise to your routine for a delicious and nutritious lifestyle boost.
About the Author
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for "The Drifter Collective." Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.