As the global awareness of our health needs grows, so does our knowledge regarding diets that actually work, and the ones that no longer deserve our attention. In all fairness, the term “diet” has thus far received plenty of bad press, simply because of its overuse in the same context of weight loss and fads that don’t provide results.
Instead, we all strive for a more balanced approach to nutrition that not only focuses on our current fitness goals, but also safeguards our overall health and wellbeing. Without further ado, let’s take a look at a few well-balanced, healthy eating methods that have the power to completely reshape your lifestyle and help you finally reach your goals!
The Mediterranean diet
As opposed to reaching for a complicated system of eating based on a handful of studies and anecdotal evidence, there is a way of eating that has been “hiding” in plain sight. We already know that people who live the longest, and see those silver years healthy, independent, and suffer from the least diseases possible all live in the Mediterranean.
It turns out that their diet regime, based predominantly on seasonal, locally-grown plants, enriched with some dairy and meat, is the key to their longevity and health. Their main source of fat is olive oil, while they steer clear of processed carbs, making it a heart-friendly diet that can help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
Keto and its low-carb siblings
There are various diets out there whose main focus is lowering your carb intake, and even though the most famous among them is the Ketogenic diet, Atkins and Zone also fall under the same category. Due to their key premise of low-carb, you may initially feel some side-effects such as dizziness and nausea, but if you do stick to a balanced diet even with the limited intake of carbs, your body will adapt to the change without any damage.
It’s a brilliant way to burn stored fat, making it a great choice for people looking to lose weight, but a healthy low carb diet is also a great pick for athletes, and anyone who feels better on a protein and fat-dominant eating plan. When the majority of your plate is filled with lean protein, healthy fats, and a limited amount of healthy carbs from veggies and fruits, you’ll feel full for longer and finally ditch those carb cravings!
How about flexitarian dieting?
Even though the term may sound confusing and as if we’re discussing a new kid on the diet block, the simple truth is that there are many people out there who lead healthy lives already following the key principles of flexitarian eating and they aren’t even aware of it! First of all, do you know what a flexitarian is, and how you can reap the rewards of this simple way of eating?
These folks are, as the name implies, very flexible with their dieting, but they mostly base their meals on plants, with an occasional meat-based meal. What mostly matters is that you eat according to what you need in terms of your calories, and that you don’t rely on meat, especially the processed kind, as your main source of protein. As much raw, unprocessed, whole food as possible paired with a diverse way of eating is the best way to go!
Short for the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, the DASH diet is truly designed to achieve just that – give you a strong, resilient heart with no blood pressure issues. It’s based on the premise of reducing your sodium intake, limiting your red meat, and of course, steering clear of sugary goodies and other processed foods.
This is one of the favorites among health professional, alongside the Mediterranean diet, since it actually provides results and helps balance your eating in a healthy way. The greatest challenge of this nutrition approach is eating less sodium, but if you manage to stick to the dietary recommendations, then you will quickly feel the benefits of this way of eating.
Plant-dominant and least processed
There will always be another fad trend to try, or another cleanse promoted by a celebrity influencer, but when it comes to actual results and healthy weight management without worrying about side-effects, real food takes the first prize.
According to Dr. David Katz of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, natural is the best way to go. There’s no need to turn the ritual of balanced eating into something too complex and impossible to follow through. In fact, simply being careful about your calorie needs, eating predominantly plant-based foods, and staying away from processed items is all it takes to stay healthy.