Am I Healthy? 6 Signs of Good Nutrition That Aren’t WeightArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Whether you are visiting the doctor soon or not, “am I healthy?” is a question that you probably ask yourself from time to time. Sure, your weight is often a pretty good indicator that you’re consuming the right amount of calories and eating nutritious meals. But your dietary habits can effect more than the numbers on the scale.
The next time you ask yourself, “am I healthy,” the answer lies in these six signs of good nutrition:
1. Your skin is aging well.
The hard-to-hear truth: Aging is inevitable, and you can’t stop its effect on your skin. But, a growing body of research indicates that healthy eating habits may help promote skin health and delay signs of aging. While the science behind nutrition and the skin is still evolving, studies suggest a diet high in antioxidants and healthy fats, but low in sugars, refined carbohydrates and bad fats may help the skin retain some of its youthful glow. Click here to find out how to eat your way to better skin.
2. Your energy is high.
That pep in your step may be due, in part, to the balance of foods on your plate. Consuming a combination of healthy foods provides your body with the nutrients it need for sustained energy. Just think whole grains, lean protein, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, fat-free or low-fat dairy and a small amount of healthy fats. Eating every three to four hours also helps keep you fueled and your blood sugar balanced. High-sugar treats and drinks, however, mess with your energy. These give you a short, quick boost, but likely followed by an energy crash. Want to know the secret to having more energy? We’ve got you covered here.
3. You don’t struggle to “go.”
Yes, it’s gross, and of course you don’t want to look, but you should: Soft, smooth and sausage-shaped stool is a sign of good gastrointestinal health. Soft blobs with clear-cut edges are fine too. How many times you go varies from person to person—for some, once a day is normal, for others it’s three times a day. But, passing fewer than three stools a week is a sign of constipation. If your poop is hard and lumpy, you may need more fiber in your diet in the form of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Loose stool may also indicate food intolerances or other conditions.
4. You don’t get sick easily.
Good nutrition is key to keeping your immune system armed and ready to fight the common cold, the seasonal flu, infections and other health conditions. If you’re under the weather a lot, make sure you’re getting enough protein, which is part of the body’s defense system. Seafood, poultry, lean meats, beans and seeds are all good sources of this macronutrient. Also, up your intake of foods high in vitamin A, C, E and zinc to take your immune system up another notch. These come in the form of leafy greens, citrus fruit and whole grains. Click here to learn the top immune-boosting foods.
5. Your teeth and gums are healthy.
Tooth decay happens when plaque—a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth—interacts with the sugar in your mouth to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. Drinking too many sugar-filled sodas or sweetened fruit drinks, and overindulging in candy, cakes and cookies put you at risk of tooth decay. If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be even tougher for the tissue in your mouth to resist infection, contributing to gum disease, according to the American Dental Association. For good dental health, eat healthy balanced meals, limit snacking, drink plenty of water and, of course, brush and floss every day! Find out the top culprits for tooth decay here.
6. Your hair is strong and shiny.
The tresses on your head need the same well-rounded diet the rest of your body requires for good health. Protein, in particular, is important for hair growth. Severe deficiency in this nutrient can cause brittle hair or lead to hair loss, according to experts at the Cleveland Clinic. Incorporating more protein is easy with healthy options like chicken and turkey. Essential fatty acids, vitamin C, zinc and iron are also associated with healthy hair, so eggs, grilled salmon, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds are surefire ways to get more luscious locks. Find out the top foods for healthier hair here.