The ONE THING you should be eating more of now to improve your health
As you can imagine, there is a LOT of nutrition information swirling around in my brain. And as you know from following me and especially if you've worked with me before, nutrition is completely personalized - there is NO one-size-fits-all approach. We are all genetically unique and have had different life journeys and experiences that shape our goals, health status, preferences, and nutrition needs. However, in an effort to help to start guiding you on your nutrition journey, I am going to post some very general nutrition guidelines that I believe everyone should work to incorporate into their lives. So many people are so confused about what the "right" or "best" diet looks like - there is a lot of information swirling around on the internet, being shared by documentaries or recommended to people by healthcare professionals - it's no wonder that people are confused, and it's not your fault!
The Big Question on Everyone's Mind...
What in the world should I be eating to <insert health goal here>???
Whether you want to lose weight, improve longevity, reduce risk of developing chronic disease, overcome digestive symptoms or inflammation... the reasons are many, but the simple answer is generally the same: EAT. MORE. PLANTS. If you will make a concerted effort to include more plants into your diet, you will take HUGE strides toward achieving your health goals. Yes, there are some nuanced recommendations and considerations to be made (food sensitivities, bacterial overgrowth, genetic tendencies, etc.) - but if you start on this journey by increasing the veggies and fruits in your diet, it will be so much easier to fine tune and adjust what your body specifically needs.
No matter where you look, and no matter what nutrition advice you follow, fruits + vegetables are good, and it is by no mistake that we are talking about them first. Plants are the most nutrient-dense foods, and should ideally make up 75% of our diets. Here are a few big reasons why:
Vegetables + fruits reduce inflammation, a major driver for obesity, heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease.
Vegetables + fruits make our helpful tummy bugs happy! Our largest organ is actually our microbiome - the community of microorganisms (bacteria, protozoa, fungi/yeast) living in and on our body - and these little guys LOVE vegetables + fruits. It’s so important that when we consider feeding ourselves well, we must also think about our microbiome. They create the fuel for our gatekeepers (epithelial cells lining the intestine) between the outside world and inside our bodies, allowing them to function properly. They create B vitamins, Vitamin K, and neurotransmitters. They are SO important, and most of the typical American diets do not serve these guys very well at all.
Vegetables + fruits are high in water content and fiber, and low in calories
Now that we've reviewed the how much + why for vegetables and fruits, let's talk about the what. What kinds of plants should you be eating? ALL OF THEM. Seriously though - eat a wide variety. I love how nature helps to direct us in fueling our bodies by differentiating nutrients through different colors. Each color of produce and each type has different phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, to help with everything we talked about above. One quick and easy way to tell if you are getting all the nutrients your body needs is by assessing how colorful your diet is.
So, how does your diet stack up? What is one thing you learned about vegetables + fruits that you didn't know before today? What percentage of your diet are vegetables + fruits currently contributing? Are you regularly eating from every color of the rainbow? Send me a message or comment below and let me know!