The Key to Eating Well

The key to eating well is ensuring you're eating a variety of foods that give you all the nutrients your body needs. Learn more in this article!
The Key to Eating Well

Last update: 14 February, 2021

Eating well can be a daunting task if you don’t follow basic healthy eating guidelines. Industry and advertising often encourage us to eat more processed foods. That processing decreases the quality of our foods. The key to eating well is ensuring our diet is full of fresh foods that haven’t been processed.

One of the main evils in our diets today is the use of sugar and additives. These additives improve the palatability and preservation of food, but they take away from its nutritional quality.

Find out what to keep in mind when it comes to eating well in this article!

The key to eating well is a varied diet

This is the fundamental pillar of healthy eating. A varied diet ensures that you’re getting an adequate amount of almost all the nutrients that you need to function. 

Although it’s a fairly obvious rule, a lot of restrictive diets that have recently become popular restrict certain foods. These diets often lack scientific evidence and are based on popular beliefs that certain foods are capable of causing inflammation.

However, restricting food groups usually doesn’t go well, except in cases of allergies or intolerances. In those cases, it should only be prescribed by a doctor, and never by another health professional.

When we restrict certain foods, we run the risk of nutrient deficiency. For that reason, many restrictive diets are usually associated with the supplementation of certain micronutrients to compensate for any deficiencies.

Eating well, on the other hand, never requires restricting foods. Instead, it’s all about combining. The key to eating well is to eat many different foods but to do so in moderation.

Different foods

Restrict toxins

Although for years we’ve been hearing that a glass of wine a day is healthy, the truth is that alcohol and drugs are the only substances that we should restrict in our diet. This is supported by a publication in BMJ. These are toxic substances and it’s best to limit them.

A glass of wine doesn’t have any positive effects on our cardiovascular system, nor does it have a remarkable antioxidant capacity. The antioxidant power of tannins is much greater in grapes before they have been fermented. Also, other foods prevent oxidation in our DNA much more effectively, like blueberries.

It’s difficult to stop drinking alcohol because it’s part of our social lives. However, it’s important to understand its risks and to understand the negative effects it has on our health. These negatives still exist even if we only drink it in a controlled manner.

Fresh food over processed food

Other handicaps of our diets are ultra-processed foods and fast food. These foods have a lot of sugars and additives, and we are still unclear on their effects on our health in the medium term.

Therefore, it’s important to prioritize fresh foods when we’re trying to eat well. Making simple recipes and avoiding fried and battered foods will help improve the quality of our diets. Also, we should be sure to avoid harmful substances such as acrylamide.

The right amount of vitamins and antioxidants

A trend in North American diets is including supplements in diets. However, using these supplements may increase the likelihood of long-term cardiovascular disease. 

Currently, the evidence recommends not consuming vitamin supplements if you don’t have any obvious deficiencies, especially with B vitamins. The same goes for antioxidants; people need these nutrients, but they should only get them from their diets. You don’t need an excess of them.

So, we’re going to repeat that the key to eating well is a varied diet. Healthy eating isn’t synonymous with taking supplements.

Making salad

A key to eating well: Prioritize fish over red meat

According to a study published in the journal Critical Reviews in Oncology/ Hematology, it’s possible that eating red meat may play a role in the development of certain cancers. Although this idea hasn’t been supported with the best evidence, it’s clear that reducing red meat consumption and eating more fish is a healthy option. 

This is because fish have a notably lower caloric content. Therefore, eating it lowers the risk of falling into a hyper-caloric diet and becoming overweight. 

Since fish tend to have a greater number of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, they help with cardiovascular function.

Importance of fiber and flora

Recent studies have shown the great role intestinal flora has on the body’s function. When it comes to eating well, you need to ensure you’re getting enough fiber and probiotics. That’s because they help with our microflora’s health. 

Keeping colonic bacteria healthy and functional will improve nutrient absorption, short-chain fatty acid (Anti-inflammatories) formation, and it will reduce the chances of digestive tract cancers. 

Also, as if that weren’t enough, studies show that the quality of the intestinal flora influences depression and athletic performances. 

The key to eating well: Diet influences health

As you can see, diet has a decisive impact on our health. Changing habits can help reduce the possibility of developing certain diseases, both in the medium and the long term.

It’s never too late to put these strategies into practice and improve the quality of your diet!

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  • Brasky TM., White E., Chen CL., Long term supplemental, one carbon metabolism related vitamin B usee in relation to lung cancer risk in the vitamins and lifestyle (VITAL) cohort. J Clin Oncol, 2017. 35 (30): 3440-3448.
  • Lippi G., Mattiuzzi C., Cervelin G., Meat consumption and cancer risk: a critical review of published meta analyses. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol, 2016. 97: 1-14.
  • Cheung SG., Goldenthal AR., Uhlemann AC., Mann JJ., et al., Systematic review of gut microbiota and major depression. Front Psychiatry, 2019.