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The 6 Basic Food Groups for a Healthy Diet
Sticking to a healthy diet doesn’t have to involve a lot of complex rules of what to eat and what to avoid. Overcomplicated diets can be very hard to stick with, and many of us often end up going back to what we know because it’s easier and much more manageable in our busy lives. But if you want to eat healthy, it’s important that you stock up on these basic food groups below so you have everything you need for good, wholesome, diet-friendly meals:
Vegetables are your #1 diet-friendly food, and they are absolutely critical for a healthy diet. Veggies give you a lot of dietary fiber, minerals, and other micronutrients that your body needs. They’re also incredibly low in calories, which means you can typically eat a lot of them without worrying about weight gain. Your veggie intake should always involve a lot of colors—not just greens, but red, orange, yellow, and purple veggies as well!
Fruits are your best source of antioxidants, along with many of the most important vitamins. While they do contain a bit more sugar than veggies, the sugar is balanced out by the high fiber content. The fiber will stop your body from absorbing the sugar too quickly, helping to keep it a slow-burn source of energy that will keep you going for hours. Stick with at least 2 to 3 servings of fruit per day if you want to follow a properly healthy diet!
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are both loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins, and critical minerals, but you’ll find they’re also an amazing source of vital plant-based fats. These fats are necessary for your body to function properly, as they are what feed your brain, reduce inflammation, and provide alternative fuel for your body to burn. They’re also easier for your body to process than meat-based fats. Your healthy diet should always include at least one daily serving of nuts and seeds!
Whole grains are the best source of both dietary fiber and vital calories that your body can use as energy. Carbohydrates are your body’s primary energy source, and your body can burn carbs far more efficiently than it can burn fats. This means that the carbs you eat will provide quick-acting energy your body can put to use now. However, thanks to the high fiber content of whole grains, the energy doesn’t hit your body all at once (ultimately being turned into fat). Instead, it’s a slower supply of energy that lasts for hours rather than minutes. Whole grains are also a vital source of minerals and antioxidants, so they definitely deserve a place in your diet!
Legumes like beans, lentils, and chickpeas are an amazing source of protein but contain none of the inflammatory molecules often found in animal protein. They are also rich in minerals, fiber, and some antioxidants, which makes them very important for your healthy, balanced diet.
Finally, there are animal proteins, the last component of a healthy diet! Animal proteins contain vital minerals—like Vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and more—and will help to keep your muscles fueled and energized for your high-intensity workouts. Try to stick with the leaner cuts of meat, and whenever possible, go with free-range chicken or grass-fed beef in order to get the higher nutritional content from the meat. And, also very important, avoid the cooking methods that activate the inflammatory molecules in meat—anything cooked too high-heat or high-temperature can have negative impact on your body.