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How to Teach Yourself to Eat Healthy

By Andrew Bennett

Learning how to eat healthy takes time, but it can be a very rewarding experience. Not only can eating healthy maintain healthy body weight and prevent disease, but it may even extend your life. Healthy nutrition is one of the best things you can do for your body. Once you make a few basic changes to your diet, you may find that the foods you used to eat are no longer appealing. In fact, they may make you feel downright sick. Paying attention to how foods make you feel, reading labels and focusing on healthy sources of vitamins and nutrients will go a long way toward teaching yourself how to eat healthy.

Start reading nutrition labels. In general, it is best to stay away from high sugars, saturated and trans fats, and highly processed or refined foods. Check to see if there are added vitamins, because this usually means that the original food has been so processed that its vitamin content was lost and they have tried to add it back. While this is not inherently bad, it is a sure sign that the food is highly processed.

Choose “clean” foods that are nutrient-dense and promote health and wellness. For example, look for lean sources of protein such as turkey, fish, chicken, lean cuts of beef and pork, or soy. Eat carbohydrates that are low-glycemic, such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain breads and pastas, beans and lentils, and sweet potatoes.

Find fruits and vegetables that you enjoy. Many associate vegetables with traumatizing childhood memories of being forced to eat broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Fortunately, nature has provided mankind with such a variety of choices that nearly everyone can find some healthy vegetables they enjoy. Experiment with different ways of cooking vegetables. For example, drizzle some olive oil over green beans on a baking sheet and bake for about five minutes. Incorporate fresh or frozen fruits into deserts or smoothies.

Eat more healthy fats. Mono and polyunsaturated fats can help prevent heart disease, as well as balance blood sugar and suppress hunger. Examples include olive oil, avocados, whole eggs, natural peanut butter and nuts and seeds. The body can use these fats as a source of energy, and to maintain brain, skin and hair health.

Pay attention to the way you feel when you eat certain foods. No food, no matter how healthy, is worth feeling nauseous or sick. Go to a local farmer’s market and check out the products they have to offer. Read the latest on healthy eating at Livestrong.com, or the Mayo Clinic or Life Extension Foundation websites. Eating healthy is a personal choice and should be an enjoyable learning experience.

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