Have you ever thought about how your diet affects your lifespan? Studies show that what you eat plays a significant role in your longevity. In fact, a recent study found that eating fewer red and processed meats and more legumes, whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables could add up to 13 years to your life.
That said, here are some expert-recommended ways to change your diet for the better and live a longer, healthier life.
Track Your Current Eating Habits
Many people eat mindlessly without paying attention to what they are consuming. The first step towards a healthier diet is becoming aware of your current eating habits. Registered dietitian nutritionist Kathleen Zelman suggests writing down everything you eat in a day, including details such as time, location, and other factors that affect your dietary habits. After that, analyze your diet and identify small steps that you can sustain to make it better.
Don’t aim for perfection when changing your diet. Instead, look for small changes that you can make consistently over time. By doing so, you can create a healthy diet that becomes a part of your lifestyle.
Plan for Success
According to Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Tom Rifai, an expert in nutrition and metabolic syndrome, we eat what surrounds us. Therefore, you need to shift your food environment to make healthier choices. Plan ahead by packing healthy lunches and snacks and stocking up on healthy food choices at home, work, and even while traveling.
Remove Sugar from Breakfast
Starting your day with a healthy breakfast can set the tone for the day. However, most breakfast foods are high in sugar, which can cause a spike in blood sugar levels and lead to energy crashes later in the day. Dina Aronson, lead dietitian with Diet ID, recommends removing sugar from breakfast for a healthier start to the day.
By cutting sugar from your morning meal, you can stabilize your blood sugar levels, maintain energy levels, and increase creativity. Rethinking breakfast can be a powerful approach to habit change because it’s a meal that most people have every day.
Make One Meal Meatless
Experts suggest replacing one meat-based meal a day with a plant- or grain-based choice to start eating more plants. Adding legumes, whole grains, or beans to a meatless salad for lunch can raise your blood sugar levels slowly, providing your brain with the energy it needs to make it through the afternoon slump. It can also reduce overeating at night, leading to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
Eat What You Love
Incorporating healthy foods into your diet doesn’t mean giving up the foods you love. You can work with an expert to find ways to incorporate the flavors of your favorite foods into your daily routine. By doing so, you can make eating healthy food a habit that you enjoy.
Food is One Part of a Healthier Life
While a healthy diet is crucial to a longer, healthier life, it’s not the only factor. Daily exercise like working out at Bay Club is also key, and it doesn’t have to be at a gym. Simple activities like taking walks in nature can improve your health and reduce stress. Stress management, quality sleep, and loving relationships are also essential for longevity.