A healthy, balanced diet can prevent weight gain and promote a healthier lifestyle. By adding the right foods to your diet, you can improve your health and prevent weight related problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. It helps to repair damaged muscle, bone and skin, build new muscle and burn fat. Protein, made up of amino acids, helps to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels, but these amino acids can only be obtained through food. They’re found in foods like lean red meat, poultry, fish, eggs and cheese, as well as beans, quinoa, broccoli and almonds. Health studies suggest adequate daily protein levels (46 grams for women and 56 grams for men) are essential to build muscle and burn fat.
Carbohydrates are made up of sugar molecules that your body breaks down into fuel for energy. There are two type of carbohydrates – simple carbohydrates found in processed foods and sweets, and complex carbohydrates found in starch and fiber foods. Simple carbohydrates will pack the pounds on, but they’re not healthy. Complex carbohydrates slow down sugar absorption to fight weight gain and diabetes. Focus on complex carbohydrates found in whole grain breads and pastas; brown rice; beans and legumes; green leafy vegetables; whole grain cereals; and fruits.
Fat plays an important role in keeping your heart, muscles, nerves and testosterone levels healthy. It also helps to regulate blood pressure and prevent blood clotting and inflammation. Fat should be included in your diet, but only healthy unsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are found in high-fat fruits like avocados, as well as olive oil and nuts. Polyunsaturated fats, found in foods like salmon, sardines, sunflower oil and seeds, contain healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that your body can’t produce. Healthy unsaturated fats help to lower bad cholesterol, fight weight gain and reduce body fat.
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