The body needs nutrients in order to regulate processes crucial to the body’s normal functioning. This includes the production of hormones, immune system, metabolism of energy and vision. The body fails to work as efficiently as it should be when the nutrients available in the body are lacking. Certain nutrients don’t just ensure that the body functions normally, they’re also capable of lowering the risk of certain diseases and boosting one’s general health and well-being.
For instance, fiber lowers cholesterol and the risk of cancer. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart disease. Hence, it is crucial that your consumption of nutrients is adequate. But with the ubiquity of fast food and the prevalence of processed foods, many people don’t get enough nutrients that their body needs. A lot of us become lazy when it comes to supplying our bodies with nutrient-dense foods, often choosing convenience over quality. This ultimately leads to poor health and greater risk for certain diseases.
To ensure optimal health, you should focus on consuming sufficient nutrients to aptly fuel your body. It is important that people are conscious of the foods they eat so as they don’t deprive their bodies of the nourishing components that healthy foods contain. Here are 5 ways you can do to increase your nutrient intake:
1. Cook your own food
Preparing your own food at home is a great way to boost the nutrient content of your meals. Sure, pre-cooked foods are expedient and they’re perfect for on-the-go lifestyles but they’re not as nutritious as home-cooked meals. They’re also processed, which makes them filled with potentially harmful additives, refined sugar, and high amounts of sodium. The processing of these foods also results in the removal of their nutrients.
Meanwhile, home cooking enables you to use fresh foods instead of largely processed ingredients, which are usually high in calories but lacking in nutrients. The bottom line is that home-cooked meals are generally healthy than fast foods and restaurant meals. To make sure that your body gets enough nutrients when cooking, use fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole wheat products, and virgin vegetable oils.
2. Go for the ones that are nutritious
It’s just basic really. If you want your body to receive adequate nutrients for optimal health, then you have to choose nutrient-dense food items. This includes seeds, nuts, veggies, fruits, and legumes. When it comes to bread, pasta, and rice, go for the 100 percent whole wheat products.
3. Skip empty-calories food
Empty calories are foods that are filled with calories but don’t have many nutrients. More often than not, something that’s high in calories also contains lots of sugar. Since such food items don’t provide satiety, it triggers overeating when you’re left unsatisfied. Foods with empty calories usually are those whose main component is sugar.
This includes sugary drinks, candies, and baked goods like muffins and cookies, among others. You can always check the nutrition label to make the right choice when it comes to your food selections. Usually, it’s a bad call to opt for foods that have a significant amount of calorie content, but low in fiber and other vitamins and minerals.
4. Eat a well-rounded diet
Avoid eating the same kinds of food every day. Various foods mean various nutrients, which your body will appreciate more by making you healthier and stronger. Instead of sticking to one or two kinds of nutritious foods, select a variety of them. Surely, there are many kinds of veggies and fruits that you can choose from.
5. Take supplements
Supplements, as their name implies, aren’t intended to substitute a healthy diet. It’s meant to only supplement your already nutritious eating habits. Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to misuse such dietary supplements. If you’re not making any healthy changes to your diet and your level of physical activity, then supplements would be futile. But if you’re already eating a wide range of nutritious foods, staying away from calories, and working on a regular basis, supplements can help strengthen your overall health.