Getting Started With Eating Healthy

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Let's take a look at what truly makes up this term we refer to as "eating healthy". During any particular time during our day we need to consume proteins, carbohydrates (carbs), and healthy fats. Yes the words carbs and fats have been used in reference to eating healthy foods.

Carbs are not the bad word that everyone makes them out to be. They are a preferred source of fuel to the body, especially the brain. Simply put, we can not function without carbs in our body due to our energy needs and the vitamins and minerals they provide. There is a distinction in the types of carbs that we can eat. Carbs can be classified as either a "good" or a "bad" carb. Not all carbohydrates are created equally. Carbs can essentially be referred to as mainly sugar (though there are water and fiber components as well). Ultimately they get broken down into sugar once they enter the blood stream. How quickly the food item gets broken down into sugar determines if it is considered a good or a bad carb.

Examples of bad carbs include processed, refined, white and "starchy" foods like potatoes, white bread, and pasta. They break down into sugar into our blood stream fairly quickly. In fact it has been said that the body can convert a baked potato into sugar much quicker than a candy bar. Various fruits and green leafy vegetables(high fiber, not processed, colorful foods) are examples of good carbs.

Protein is required for our bodies systems to function in a normal manner as well. It is not quite the nutritional powerhouse as "good carbs" can be. However it is still a vital energy source for our body, and is a very important component of the muscles found in our body. Protein has been touted for its ability to fight fats. This effect is truly achieved when good carbs are paired with that protein. Protein can be obtained through animal or plant sources. Animal source proteins can be found in meats, poultry, and seafood. Plant based proteins can be obtained through nuts, vegetables, and beans.

The final component of eating healthy is incorporating healthy or “good" fats. For the most part these are known as monounsaturated fats. Examples of these would include the fats found in olives, avocados, and peanuts just to name a few. These fats actually help lower the bad cholesterol in our bodies. There are also a group of polyunsaturated fats that are known as Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids. These fats are known as essential fatty acids because, since they can not be created by our bodies and must be acquired from food or supplements. Examples of Omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, cod liver oil, and flaxseed. Omega-6 fatty acids can be obtained from corn, sunflower, and canola oils.

These are the primary components of healthy eating. Now, we can get into some more details, which will include:

Developing a Plan for Eating Healthy
More Discussion on Healthy Fats and Healthy Cooking Oils
Some Healthy Food Snack Ideas
A List of Healthy Carbs & Proteins