Even though we are supposedly living in a health conscious society, there are more overweight and obese people than ever before. Since many of us are trying to change our diet and live a healthier lifestyle, we buy health books and magazines and find ways to cook more balanced meals. We also limit our sugar and fat intake and become increasingly aware of nutritional labels and the vitamins and minerals that we need. Others, however, are suspicious of what they believe is a "health craze", due to the contradictory information we receive about salt, sugar, red meat, and many other things. So what exactly is a healthy diet and can it actually be done? The answer is yes. By changing dietary habits in the four areas Americans have problems in their diet (sugar, bread, water, and artificial foods); one can experience a change in their health, energy, and overall well-being. The changes are not complicated or difficult and can be applied at your own pace without stress or guilt.
The first problem Americans face in their diet is sugar as we (as a country) are consuming over 120 pounds per person, per year. Even though there are natural sugars in fruits and vegetables, the problems with Americans' sugar intake is that the majority of it is refined sugar. Refined sugar does not have the vitamins or minerals that are needed by the body for burning and storing it, as sugar cane and sugar beets do. Therefore, the body must burn the sugar by tapping into its internal stores of nutrients, which can often lead to stress on the body. High intake of refined white sugar can suppress the immune system.
The next problem is America's bread. Because almost every bread item in the grocery store uses refined and enriched flour, the bread we eat lacks important nutrients, especially fiber. The best solution to this problem is to find a grocery or health food store that carries unrefined products, made with whole grains preferably organic sources. This means not just breads, but pastas, cereals, and any other grain dishes.
The third problem deals with water, a basic necessity to life. The issue is not about pure water, but rather what's in it and how it is purified. Since our own sewage is dumped directly into our rivers from every city in the nation, chlorine and other chemical agents are put into the water to kill the bacteria in the water. However it's a loose-loose situation, as we either drink the parasites or the harmful chlorine and bromine used to kill them. When at home, a ultra-violet only and combined UV-ozonating treatment units are the best bet as a water purifier. Although there is no ideal solution for our water problem, any steps taken to protect yourself are better than not knowing the dangers you face daily when drinking tap water. Bottled water may be the only option for some but 99% of all bottled water comes in plastic containers. In the past plastic has been known to leach into the water its holding which is undesirable and not healthy. Manufactures today claim that the plastic they use does not leach into the water, but one doesn't know for sure unless they have the water tested for plastic polymers. Fortunately some people have well water they drink from which is generally healthier due to the fact that the water in your well has to go through 50 - 100 feet of dirt and this dirt cleanses the water purifying it. Clean water is critical for good health.
The final issue with the American diet is artificial substances and processes. Almost every food label mentions numerous colors, flavors, and preservatives. It is hard to believe that these functions are simply for marketing, not nutritional purposes. We should take some degree of caution when eating a product with many artificial ingredients. It is simply adding more chemicals in your diet to be ingested into your body and harm your health. Although the solution to this problem is a bit more difficult, as we are surrounded by artificially made foods, drinking soy milk instead of regular milk and eating fruit instead of the usual processed snack is a good start. Starting a garden in your back yard and sticking with natural and organic foods can go a long way for better health even though buying organic is a bit more expensive can you really put a price on good health? By taking a few of the steps listed above you can be well on your way to a better healthier life style.
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