With so many demands on our time each day, it is easy to cut corners when it comes to eating healthy meals. How many times do we rush from task to task, leaving little time to plan and shop for, much less prepare, a nutritious meal? We are all guilty of this, but thankfully, there are some easy workarounds for maintaining a healthy diet, even with a busy lifestyle.
The secret to dietary success is treating your food choices and intake like any other important item on your daily to-do list. By prioritizing health and wellness right along with recovery, you will reap the many benefits across all areas of your life. Continue reading to learn all about the importance of nutrition, and some handy tips on how to keep a healthy diet.
6 Benefits of a Healthy Diet
Even though we might be generally aware of the role our diet plays in overall wellness, it is important enough to revisit the many benefits of maintaining a healthy diet:
- Improves Heart Health. Prevent heart disease and hypertension through healthy food choices. Include high-fiber foods, such as avocado, legumes, broccoli, apples, and potatoes, and foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, walnuts, spinach, and flaxseeds. Also, avoid trans fats, processed foods, and sugary beverages to maintain overall heart health.
- Promotes a Healthy Gut. Keep your gut’s bacteria levels balanced and healthy for improved metabolism and digestion. Eat foods that provide both prebiotics and probiotics for a healthy colon, such as yogurt, kefir, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
- Aids in Weight Control. Healthy foods help to control calorie intake, as they are naturally lower in fat and sugar content. Look for hidden sugars and fats on the labels to avoid added calories.
- Improves Mental Health. Evidence shows that our diet can influence our mood state. A diet heavy in high glycemic foods, such as refined carbs, is associated with symptoms of depression. Choose foods that have a lower glycemic load, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Reduces Risk of Cancer. Foods high in antioxidants can protect us from cancer. Add berries, dark leafy greens, carrots, and nuts and seeds to your diet to fight off free radicals and reduce the risk of cancer.
- Creates Strong Bones and Teeth. Keep your teeth and bones strong and healthy to minimize dental problems or osteoporosis in the future. Eat low-fat dairy products, legumes, broccoli, leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains to build healthy bones and teeth.
Healthy Diet Tips
Now that you are aware of the many benefits of healthy eating, it’s time to deploy a strategy to optimize your diet. Here are some handy tips to keep you on the path to wellness:
- Never Skip Breakfast. Our bodies need fuel to power us through our mornings, so never skip breakfast. Try a bowl of steel cut oatmeal with berries and a sprinkle of chia seeds, or an egg with whole grain toast, or even just a nutrient-rich smoothie for a healthy breakfast.
- Drink Lots of Water. Keep a water bottle at your desk and sip all day. This keeps your body hydrated and healthy. Staying hydrated can also help you feel full and more alert, so you will be less inclined to reach for calorie-rich snacks between meals.
- Plan Your Meals. Create a weekly menu to take with you on your grocery run. Have a list handy to guide you in selecting the ingredients and food items that will provide several healthy meals throughout the week. This helps you to avoid salty, fatty fast food meals.
- Maintain a Regular Meal Schedule. Keep a consistent meal schedule so your body gets accustomed to eatingat regular intervals. Avoid eating a heavy meal after 7pm, and have healthy, pre-portioned, between-meal snacks handy to prevent overeating at mealtimes.
Restoring health and wellness in recovery should be a top priority. By committing to a nutritious diet and regular exercise, overall health will improve across all realms, including your physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, holistic addiction treatment, drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellnessprograms and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to heal each individual with respect and dignity, and reflects on our ongoing commitment to meet new challenges. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.