Health and nutrition are two topics that are often discussed but not always done right. There are many myths out there about what foods you should eat or how much exercise you need, so it’s important to find evidence-based information before making decisions about your diet. This blog post will talk about some helpful tips for living a healthy lifestyle that has been proven by research.
Do you have a hard time figuring out which health and nutrition tips are evidence-based and which ones aren’t? This blog post will help clear things up for you.
It’s not easy to know what information is backed by science or if it’s just someone’s opinion. However, you can easily find yourself being swayed into believing that drinking green juice every day will bring your body back to perfect health.
But does it really? In this article, we’ll go over some of the best ways to tell whether a piece of advice is actually supported by scientific research or if it might be nothing more than an old wives tale.
The human body is an incredible thing, and we owe it to ourselves to provide it with the best care possible. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most effective nutrition tips that are evidence-based for your convenience.
So, you’re thinking about giving up and going on a diet. You’ve heard all this talk about the health benefits of weight loss and how it’ll help improve your life in so many ways. But just as with any major life decision, there are pros and cons to consider before making such an important change.
Some of the best ways to find out what foods are best for you is by paying attention to your body’s reaction after eating them; if it doesn’t feel right or there isn’t much energy afterwards, then it might not be the right choice for you!
Remember that this is just basic information, so always consult with your doctor before making any significant changes in your diet or workout routine! Good luck!
In this blog post, we’ll highlight some of the most reputable evidence-based tips that will offer you the best chance at achieving your goals without sacrificing too much along the way: better moods, increased energy levels, better sleep quality…the list goes on! So let’s dive right in!
1. Eat a balanced diet
- Add variety to your meals. Eat various foods that include fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Aim to eat at least five servings (400 grams) of fruits and vegetables every day, especially fresh, seasonal ones. If you aren’t vegetarian, include fatty fish in your diet since omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent inflammatory diseases such as heart diseases.
- Cut back on salt. Your daily salt consumption should not exceed 1 gram (or 1 teaspoon). Add less salt when preparing your meal, limit the amount of high-sodium condiments like soy sauce you add to your foods, and avoid salty snacks. Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet decreases your risk for high blood pressure.
- Limit your sugar intake. Limit your sugar intake to 50 grams or about 12 teaspoons a day. You can achieve this by avoiding snacks, candies, and sweetened drinks, such as fruit juices and sodas. Reducing your sugar intake reduces your likelihood of developing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
- Avoid unhealthy fats. Fats should only make up 30% of your total energy intake. Stick to unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Avoid saturated fats, such as red meat, butter, and cheese, and trans fats, such as baked foods and prepackaged, ready-to-eat items.
2. Stay well hydrated
Remember to drink eight glasses of water a day. Your body is made up of 80% water, and water is necessary for regular bowel function, optimal muscle performance, and immune and skin health. Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration, fatigue, headache, dry skin, and weakened immunity.
3. Replace saturated with unsaturated fat
Fats are important for good health and proper functioning of the body. However, too much of it can negatively affect our weight and cardiovascular health.
Different kinds of fats have different health effects, and some of these tips could help you keep the balance right:
- You should limit total and saturated fats (often coming from foods of animal origin) and completely avoid trans fats; reading the labels helps identify the sources.
- Eating fish 2-3 times a week, with at least one serving of oily fish, will contribute to your right intake of unsaturated fats.
- When cooking, you should boil, steam or bake, rather than frying, remove the fatty part of the meat, use vegetable oils.
4. Exercise regularly
Try to get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week or 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week. Whether it’s walking, jogging, swimming, or doing an at-home Pilates workout, the goal is to stay physically active.
Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and decreases your risk of developing diseases as a result of a sedentary lifestyle.
Doing an aerobic exercise or cardio is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health.
It’s particularly effective at reducing belly fat, the harmful type of fat that builds up around your organs. Reduced belly fat may lead to major improvements in your metabolic health.
We should strive for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week
5. Limit sugary drinks
Sugary drinks like sodas, fruit juices, and sweetened teas are the primary source of added sugar in the diet.
Unfortunately, findings from several studies point to sugar-sweetened beverages increasing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, even in people who do not carry excess body fat.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are also uniquely harmful to children, as they can contribute to obesity in children and conditions that usually do not develop until adulthood, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Healthier alternatives include:
- unsweetened teas
- sparkling water
6. Limit your alcohol intake
Drinking alcohol in excess can lead to liver diseases and even liver cancer in the long run. Alcohol abuse can also cause impaired judgment and even lead to accidents and injuries.
Men should limit alcoholic drinks to 2 a day, while women should limit alcoholic drinks to 1 drink a day.
7. Do not smoke
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer across the globe. Apart from lung cancer, smoking contributes to the development of other organ cancers as well. It also increases your risk for heart disease.
In addition to being harmful to your own health, smoking is also harmful to the people around you. Secondhand smoking damages the airways and the lungs and is also a leading cause of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
8. Eat fatty fish
Fish is a great source of high-quality protein and healthy fat. This is particularly true of fatty fish, such as salmon, which is loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and various other nutrients.
Studies show that people who eat fish regularly have a lower risk for several conditions, including heart disease, dementia, and inflammatory bowel disease.
9. Use extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest vegetable oils you can use. It’s loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties.
According to some evidence, extra virgin olive oil may benefit heart health, as people who consume it have a lower risk of dying from heart attacks and strokes.
10. Practice safe sex
Taking care of your sexual health is important for your overall health. Practice safe sex by using condoms to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea and syphilis.
11. Get enough sleep
The importance of getting enough quality sleep cannot be overstated.
Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, can disrupt your appetite hormones, and reduce your physical and mental performance.
What’s more, poor sleep is one of the strongest individual risk factors for weight gain and obesity. People who do not get enough sleep tend to make food choices that are higher in fat, sugar, and calories, potentially leading to unwanted weight gain.
12. Slow down
The pace at which you eat influences how much you eat and how likely you are to gain weight.
In fact, studies comparing different eating speeds show that fast eaters are much more likely to eat more and have a higher body mass index (BMI) than slow eaters.
Your appetite, how much you eat, and how full you get are all controlled by hormones. Hormones signal to your brain whether you’re hungry or full.
However, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive these messages. That’s why eating more slowly may give your brain the time it needs to perceive that you’re full.
Studies have confirmed this, showing that eating slowly may reduce the number of calories you consume at meals and help you lose weight.
Eating slowly is also linked to more thorough chewing, which has also been linked to improved weight control.
So, simply eating slower and chewing more often may help you eat less.
13. Feed your gut bacteria
The bacteria in your gut, collectively called the gut microbiota, are incredibly important for overall health.
A disruption in gut bacteria is linked to some chronic diseases, including obesity and a myriad of digestive problems.
Good ways to improve gut health include eating probiotic foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, taking probiotic supplements, and eating plenty of fibre when indicated. Notably, fibre serves as a prebiotic or a food source for your gut bacteria.
14. Don’t eat heavily charred meats
Meat can be a nutritious and healthy part of your diet. It’s very high in protein and a rich source of nutrients.
However, problems occur when meat is charred or burnt. This charring can lead to the formation of harmful compounds that may increase your risk for certain cancers.
When you cook meat, try not to char or burn it. Additionally, limit your consumption of red and processed meats like lunch meats and bacon as these are linked to overall cancer risk and colon cancer risk.
15. Avoid bright lights before sleep
When you’re exposed to bright lights — which contain blue light wavelengths — in the evening, it may disrupt your production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Some ways to help reduce your blue light exposure are to wear blue light blocking glasses — especially if you use a computer or other digital screen for long periods — and avoid digital screens for 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed.
This can help your body better produce melatonin naturally as the evening progresses, helping you sleep better.
16. Take vitamin D if you’re deficient
Most people do not get enough vitamin D.
While these widespread vitamin D inadequacies are not imminently harmful, maintaining adequate vitamin D levels can help optimize your health by improving bone strength, reducing symptoms of depression, strengthening your immune system, and lowering your risk for cancer.
If you do not spend a lot of time in the sunlight, your vitamin D levels may be low.
If you have access, it’s a great idea to have your levels tested so that you can correct your levels through vitamin D supplementation if necessary.
17. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Vegetables and fruits are loaded with prebiotic fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, many of which have potential health effects.
Studies show that people who eat more vegetables and fruits tend to live longer and have a lower risk for heart disease, obesity, and other illnesses.
18. Eat adequate protein
Eating enough protein is vital for optimal health, as it provides the raw materials your body needs to create new cells and tissues.
What’s more, this nutrient is particularly important for the maintenance of moderate body weight.
High protein intake may boost your metabolic rate — or calorie burn — while making you feel full. It may also reduce cravings and your desire to snack late at night.
19. Minimize your sugar intake
Added sugar is extremely prevalent in modern food and drinks. A high intake is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
We recommend keeping added sugar intake below 10% of your daily calorie intake. In comparison, the World Health Organization recommends slashing added sugars to 5% or less of your daily calories for optimal health.
20. Limit refined carbs
Not all carbs are created equal.
Refined carbs have been highly processed to remove their fibre. As a result, they’re relatively low in nutrients and may harm your health when eaten in excess. Most ultra-processed foods are made from refined carbs, like processed corn, white flour, and added sugars.
Studies show that a diet high in refined carbs may be linked to overeating, weight gain, and chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
21. Avoid artificial trans fats
Artificial trans fats are harmful, man-made fats that are strongly linked to inflammation and heart disease.
Avoiding them should be much easier now that they have been completely banned in many other countries.
Note that you may still encounter some foods that contain small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats. Still, these are not associated with the same negative effects as artificial trans fats.
22. Use plenty of herbs and spices
There is a variety of herbs and spices at our disposal these days, more so than ever. They not only provide flavour but also may offer several health benefits as well.
For example, ginger and turmeric both have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which may help improve your overall health.
Due to their powerful potential health benefits, you should aim to include a wide variety of herbs and spices in your diet.
23. Avoid Stress And Stressful Situations
If you are often stressed, depressed, or in a bad mood – it will affect your quality of life. This is because you will be accompanied by negative feelings and negative thoughts, which you will often pass on to other people around you.
Then you will evaluate each situation negatively, and then you will react negatively in accordance with it. That way, you will enter a vicious circle from which it is difficult to get out. That is why you need to arm yourself with positive thoughts to lead a healthy and quality life.
24. Lift heavy weights
Strength and resistance training are some of the best forms of exercise you can do to strengthen your muscles and improve your body composition.
It may also lead to important improvements in metabolic health, including improved insulin sensitivity — meaning your blood sugar levels are easier to manage — and increases in your metabolic rate, or how many calories you burn at rest.
If you do not have weights, you can use your own body weight or resistance bands to create resistance and get a comparable workout with many of the same benefits.
We recommend resistance training twice per week.
25. Occasionally track your food intake
The only way to know exactly how many calories you eat is to weigh your food and use a nutrition tracker, as estimating your portion sizes and calorie intake is not unreliable.
Tracking can also provide insights into your protein, fibre, and micronutrient intake.
Though some studies have found a link between tracking calories and disordered eating tendencies, some evidence suggests that people who track their food intake tend to be more successful at losing weight and maintaining their weight loss.
26. Avoid restrictive diets
Diets are generally ineffective and rarely work well long term. In fact, past dieting is one of the strongest predictors for future weight gain.
This is because overly restrictive diets actually lower your metabolic rate, or the amount of calories you burn, making it more difficult to lose weight.
At the same time, they also cause alterations to your hunger and satiety hormones, which make you hungrier and may cause strong food cravings for foods high in fat, calories, and sugar.
All of this is a recipe for rebound weight gain or “yoyo” dieting.
Instead of dieting, try adopting a healthier lifestyle. Focus on nourishing your body instead of depriving it.
Weight loss should follow as you transition to the whole, nutritious foods — which are naturally more filling while containing fewer calories than processed foods.
27. Get rid of excess belly fat
Excessive abdominal fat, or visceral fat, is a uniquely harmful fat distribution linked to an increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
For this reason, your waist size and waist-to-hip ratio may be much stronger markers of health than your weight.
Cutting refined carbs, eating more protein and fibre, and reducing stress (which can reduce cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers abdominal fat deposition) are all strategies that may help you get rid of belly fat.
28. Eat whole eggs
Despite the constant back and forth about eggs and health, it’s a myth that eggs are bad for you because of their cholesterol content.
Studies show that they have minimal effect on blood cholesterol in most people, and they’re a great source of protein and nutrients.
Additionally, a review involving 263,938 people found that egg intake had no association with heart disease risk
29. Laughter Is The Best Cure
One should laugh and look for a note of comedy in everyday life situations. Each person should laugh for eight to ten minutes a day. Everyone needs to learn to look at life from a brighter side and “rise” above many situations.
30. Create A Network Of Mutual Assistance From Your Family And Friends
Nurturing good relationships with family and hanging out with friends is something that everyone needs. In addition, it should be borne in mind that good relationships with family and friends positively affect people with chronic diseases and encourage healing in patients.
Stress has a negative effect on your health. It can affect your blood sugar levels, food choices, susceptibility to sickness, weight, fat distribution, and more. For this reason, it’s important to find healthy ways to manage your stress.
Meditation is one such way, and it has some scientific evidence to support its use for stress management and improving health.
In one study involving 48 people with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or both, researchers found that meditation helped lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and inflammation compared with the control group.
Additionally, the participants in the meditation group reported improved mental and physical wellness.
32. Think Positive
Self-confidence is half the solution to the problem. Experts believe that the body is a factory that produces all drugs – but that we must recognize how to activate them. Therefore, make a list of things you do successfully every day.
The bottom line
A few simple steps can go a long way toward improving your eating patterns and wellness.
Still, if you’re trying to live a healthier life, do not just focus on the foods you eat. Exercise, sleep, and social relationships are also important.
With the evidence-based tips above, it’s easy to introduce small changes that can have a big impact on your overall health.