Nutrition, Health & Wellness
Nutrition, Health & Wellness
They really go hand in hand. The food we put into our bodies affect our health and our health affects our wellness.
Have you ever wondered why certain countries life expectancy is so high? How do they do it? There are several factors. Having access to good medical care, living in a stress free environment, genetics and of course nutrition.
Let us use the Japanese culture as an example. The overall life expectancy of a person in Japan is 83 years, ranking them at the top of the list. Their diet mainly consists of fresh fish, vegetables, soybeans (Non-GMO), seaweed, rice and tea. They eat very little red meat and dairy, resulting in low levels of cholesterol. They eat with their eyes. Meaning, the Japanese-style of eating is a balance of lower-calorie foods, presented with portion control in pretty little dishes and plates. You will not find chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and a side of macaroni and cheese in Japan. This may be unfortunate from your view, but from a health point of view, it’s a good thing!
I am not a food or health expert, but just by looking at the diet of the Japanese culture compared to the diet of the rest of the world, it is obvious that the Japanese live a healthier life.
Many people struggle to understand what the right nutrition is for them. It really isn’t that difficult. There are many diets around the world that might be a good fit for you. Take the Mediterranean diet, which is used by many countries at the top of the life expectancy list including Monaco, coming in at a staggering 89-year life span. Although their population is much lower than Japans, it is still an impressive number. This diet consists of fish, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine. That sounds pretty good… maybe 2 glasses for me! This diet also uses herbs for flavor instead of salt, replaces butter with fresh olive oil and limits the consumption of red meat to only a few times per month.
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinsons and Alzheimers.
What should I eat? Other than looking into a healthy proven diet from around the world, below are 10 helpful tips provided by the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. Use these nutrition tips as a guideline for optimal health and wellness. (no particular order, they are all important)
Ten Nutritional Tips for Healthy Eating
1. Choose good carbs, not NO carbs. Whole grains are best for you.
2. Eat healthy proteins. Fish, poultry, nuts and beans are the best choices.
3. Choose foods with healthy fats and limit foods with saturated fats. Avoid foods with trans fats. Yes, that means fast food!
4. Choose a fiber-filled diet rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
5. Eat more vegetables and fruits. Choose all colors and varieties. They all have their health benefits. Especially the green ones!
6. Calcium is important, but milk isn’t the only or even the best choice. Spinach, kale, collards and white beans are some great alternatives.
7. Water is best to quench your thirst. Skip the sugary drinks and go easy on milk and juice.
8. Eating less salt is good for everyone’s health. Choose more fresh food and fewer processed foods.
9. Moderate drinking can be healthy, but not for everyone. You must weigh the benefits and risks.
10. Regular exercise and a daily multi-vitamin is a great insurance policy. Some extra vitamin D may be beneficial if you live in an area with little sun exposure.
When you look at all the evidence together, the best nutrition advice on what to eat is relatively straightforward. You want to eat a plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Choose foods that contain healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and fatty fish. Limit your red meat and foods high in saturated fats. Avoid foods that contain trans fats. Drink lots of water and other healthy beverages. Limit sugary drinks and salt. Keep your calories in check so you can avoid gaining weight, which makes exercise a friend to a healthy diet. Most important… drink wine!