A healthy diet is a major part of the foundation of looking and feeling good and living your best life. A healthy diet also helps manage weight and helps cut back on health care and insurance costs. In fact, life insurance for overweight individuals can be more costly and difficult to obtain.
If you are overweight or obese, then losing some weight will make you feel better, have more energy, and lower your risk for many chronic diseases. It may also improve your self-esteem and improve mental health.
However, in some cases, feeling and looking better isn’t about losing weight.
If you are already at a healthy weight, then eating better will give you more energy, decrease the risk for numerous diseases, manage stress, improve mental health, enhance vitality, and improve overall well-being.
Here are ten of the most important nutrition tips for women to feel better, look better, and live your best life.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Water has many important functions in the body. When you are hydrated, your skin looks better, you have more energy, and you feel less bloated. Your urine should be a light yellow color if you are adequately hydrated.
Many people carry a refillable water bottle with them to keep up with their water intake during the day. If you don’t like plain water, try putting some fresh fruit in your water or use one of the calorie-free flavorings to add some flavor to your water.
One great tip is to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning when you wake up. If you are a coffee drinker, drink this glass before you drink your morning cup of coffee.
2. Eat 4-6 Servings of Fruits and Vegetables Daily
Fruits and vegetables are two of the most nutrient-dense food groups you can eat. They are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants for good health. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, convenient, and easy to incorporate into meals and snacks.
Fruits and vegetables have many health benefits.
- Some vegetables can even change your health for good with an added boost to your well-being.
- Some fruits may assist with weight loss and weight management, which is an added benefit to these foods.
Aim to eat at least one or two servings of fruits and vegetables at each meal. If you are visual, try to make half of your plate full of fruits and vegetables at each meal.
3. Eat the Rainbow
A rainbow of colors means a variety of different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A rainbow ensures that you are getting the nutrients that you need for healthy skin, healthy hair, healthy nails, strong bones, and to prevent many chronic diseases.
For example, the orange color you find in sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, and pumpkin is a result of beta carotene. Beta carotene is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage and is converted into vitamin A by the body, which is important for healthy vision.
4. Go Meatless Once a Week
A plant-based diet has a number of health benefits. You do not have to be a full-blown vegetarian or vegan to enjoy plant-based meals. Try a “Meatless Monday” where you replace the meat in your meals with other healthy protein options like beans, tofu, tempeh, or veggie burgers.
Some of the best plant proteins provide all of the essential amino acids needed for health, so they are considered to be complete. These plant-based complete proteins are great options to use when planning meatless meals.
5. Eliminate Sugary Beverages
This includes sugary coffee drinks, soda, fruit juices, and sugary alcoholic beverages. You get little to no nutrition, extra calories, and sugar from these drinks. Too much sugar can lead to weight gain, increases inflammation in the body, and increases the risk of many chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
If you do drink them, do so seldomly. Replace these sugary beverages with water or other calorie-free sugar-free beverages, and save your sugary coffee drink or soda for special occasions.
6. Get Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium is important for strong bones, and vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D also helps regulate blood calcium levels and has other important functions in the body.
Calcium and vitamin D are abundant in dairy products like yogurt, milk, cheese, and cottage cheese. You will also find calcium in plant-based milk, tofu, and leafy green vegetables. If you are not getting these foods in your diet, you should consider a calcium and vitamin D supplement.
It is especially important to get calcium and vitamin D in your teenage years and young adult years because these are your bone-building years. It is also vital in middle age when estrogen levels drop and when the risk of osteoporosis starts to increase.
Vitamin D also has a number of other health benefits related to immunity and disease prevention.
7. Get Enough Protein and Iron
Women can lack protein if they are not eating a lot of meat or limiting calories. Protein is important for building and repairing body tissues and maintaining muscle mass.
Protein is found in meat, dairy products, beans, nuts, nut butter, seeds, soy-based products, some grains, and even some vegetables. Make sure to include protein-rich foods like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, meat, beans, or soy-based products at every meal.
It’s also common for women to be lacking in iron. Eating a varied diet with iron-rich foods is the best way to ensure you are getting enough iron and not experiencing a deficiency.
Animal-based protein and meats have the type of iron that is absorbed well by the body. Plant-based iron is poorly absorbed by the body but can be enhanced by adding foods that have vitamin C.
For example, if you are enjoying a vegetarian meal with beans, add some tomatoes or broccoli because the vitamin C from the vegetables helps absorb the plant-based iron from the beans.
8. Eat Fiber-rich Foods
Fiber is an underappreciated nutrient that many women are lacking. Fiber has many important roles in feeling and looking good. It helps keep us regular and can prevent bloating.
Fiber acts like a sponge when you eat it because it expands and absorbs water. This can help you feel satisfied and full after eating, which can aid in weight management. Fiber also helps lower cholesterol which in turn can lower the risk of heart disease.
The best sources of fiber are whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, tempeh, tofu, seeds, and nuts. Whole grains include brown rice, whole grain bread, whole-grain cereal, whole-grain pasta, and quinoa.
9. Stay Away from Diets and Dieting
Diets are temporary and set you up for failure. Fad diets can be restrictive and leave you lacking in many nutrients. When you diet and do lose weight, you will most likely gain the weight back unless you have made changes to your eating habits.
Instead of dieting, make small but sustainable changes to your eating and physical activity habits.
Adding a serving of vegetables to your dinner, replacing sugary beverages with water, trying a “Meatless Monday,” or snacking on fruits instead of cookies are small but sustainable changes you can make to your eating habits.
10. Treat Yourself Occasionally
Eating should be enjoyable. Treats can fit into an overall healthy eating plan in moderation.
It’s important to stick to healthy eating habits to help you meet your health and wellness goals but being overly strict all the time is not fun. There’s no problem if you indulge from time to time, but do so in moderation.
These ten nutrition tips can help ensure that you look good, feel good, and live your best life no matter your age, your race/ethnicity, or your other unique characteristics. Healthy eating can be enjoyable by anyone at any time.