According to Santa Ana Dentist, Dr. Danial Kalantari, of Smiles on Bristol Dentistry, dental health helps to protect overall health. Another way to help your overall health is through a nutritional diet. Healthy eating has a bad rap for bland eating that requires handing over all your beloved treats to munch on celery and carrots from the rest of your life. While healthy eating does require some changes, it is actually quite flexible allowing for both treats and the celery.
The most common American diet relies on red meat and the addition of a starch, usually a bleached, white carbohydrate. Think about common American staples – hotdogs with their buns, burgers in buns with a side of French fries, steak and potatoes, Philly cheesesteaks, fried chicken, etc. When people branch away for these staples, they usually head in the direction of pasta dishes and pizza, loaded with cheese, white carbohydrates, and some amount of veggies in the sauce. While all these dishes can be great, when eaten as a diet, they do not provide a balanced or nutrient-rich offering.
The first tip for healthier eating is moderation. Feel free to keep eating your favorite foods, but simply start mixing in some variety to create a more balanced diet. Everyone needs vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates, protein, and water in their diets. The human body needs a large range of vitamins and minerals to function properly. A lack of these essential nutrients can cause both physical ailments, such as anemia and brittle bones and mental ailments, such as depression. Even certain degenerative mental disorders may have a link to malnutrition such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. By eating from a full range of food sources, you are able to intake the whole spectrum of nutrients the body needs. Even a diet of just “healthy” foods such as trying to live off only green, leafy vegetables will create issues in the body. These vegetables do not offer protein which is the essential ingredient to most body structures such as hair, nails, muscles, and cartilage.
To know how you should moderate your meals, you need to know the function and benefits of the different types of food groups.
Carbohydrates, commonly called carbs, often get a bad rap. Carbohydrates are anything that the body can break down into sugar which is then used as energy for the body. While eating sugary foods can be bad as they promote tooth decay, are often high in calories and low in nutrients, and cause blood sugar spikes and drops, sugar is still essential to a properly function body. The best way to get your sugar is through complex carbohydrates such as whole grains. The whole grains require time for the body to break down into sugar and therefore do not have as damaging effects to the teeth while providing sugar over time to prevent blood sugar spikes. Whole grains are also packed with fiber which helps keep the body full, prevents overeating, and helps to keep the digestive tract running smoothly. They also offer a selection of B-vitamins and contain essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, and selenium.
Most Americans tend to opt for “white carbohydrates,” such as white bread, white rice, or they go for things like French fries and potato chips. White carbs have been highly processed and through their processing, they lose the majority of their nutrients and almost all of the fiber. Additionally white carbs tend to be reduced down to simple carbs that cause the spikes in blood sugar. Replacing white carb options with whole wheat options can be a great and simple way to change to healthier eating. Whole grain foods vary widely in taste, so try a few different brands to see which one tastes best to you.
Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and corn offer complex and simple carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals. They can be another great way to add nutritional carbs to your diet. Some preparations loaded with cheese, butter, oils, salts, or others can be delicious but may take down your healthy carb with the overload of fats and salts. Having a loaded baked potato as a meal can be a good, healthier treat option rather than having the calorie heavy loaded potato as a side of something else. French Fries and potato chips may have come from potatoes but through their cooking process, they lose most of their health benefits.
Carbohydrates should make up most of your calories each day. By making those calories count nutritionally with whole grains and nutrient-rich starchy vegetables, you can keep the carbs you love while giving your body the resources it needs to function properly. Replace buns and toast with whole grain alternatives. Try brown rice or a rice-alternative, such as quinoa, to get additional nutrients white rice does not provide.