Atkins diet. South Beach diet. Low-sugar, low-carb, low-calorie diets.
Where does all madness about foods for healthy diets end? For more and more Americans, it simply doesn’t. At the height of Atkins mania, about one in 11 Americans was following its tenets, and now that juicing has caught on, the newest fad has taken shape and the cycle begins again. And people are following suit. While the popularity of these nutritional approaches can’t be denied, their actual health value can be, and often, it has been.
Atkins, for example, as a high-protein diet has led to some scientists decrying its risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in the long run. And cutting out sugar completely isn’t good for your blood. It’s important to avoid loads of calories, experts posit, but how much calorie-cutting can be officially considered too much? These are hard questions to answer, of course. But what’s not hard are the basics of whole foods, sometimes referred to as raw food diets.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Here’s where to start when focusing on choosing the right foods for healthy diets.
Whole foods mean less processing.
When you pick up a frozen dinner from the supermarket, the food inside the plastic box has been heavily processed in order to preserve its shelf life and accessibility when it comes to preparation. The downside to this convenience is a heavy loss of nutrients and vitamins contained in the food itself. The solution? The best healthy diet foods you can find are whole foods like non-refined grains, vegetables, fruits and meats that haven’t been loaded up with additional salts and sugars for taste.
Plants make for higher nutrient levels.
We mentioned plants like veggies and fruits in the point above, but they really warrant their own subsection. Structuring your meals around plants — especially healthy dark greens like spinach and arugula as well as fresh sprouts, nuts and legumes — allows you to take in as many whole nutrients as you can. This gives your body more usage energy instead of worthless fat, making you a more efficient machine in the process.
The more colors, the better.
No, a buffet of rainbow desserts like lemon cakes and blueberry pies doesn’t count. You want foods for healthy diets, which means more raw veggies (red radishes, orange carrots, yellow peppers) and more fresh fruits (dark berries, juicy pineapples, neon kiwi). And just because you can’t eat dessert all the time doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself every now and then. But remember, everything in moderation.
Remember, “good healthy diet foods” don’t have to mean portions the size of postage stamps. As long as you’re eating the right foods, you’re likely on the right track. For more information about dieting, always talk to a nutrition counseling professional or your physician. More like this.