When it comes to health and getting in shape, nutrition takes priority. Whether your goal is weight loss, muscle gain or overall health, you can get the most out of your diet by living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a good training regimen.

Micronutrients and macronutrients are an important part of keeping our body running optimally and reaching our fitness goals. Micronutrients are those we need in smaller amounts, our daily intake of vitamins and minerals. Macronutrients are nutrients we need in larger amounts, our fats, carbohydrates, protein and fiber.

What should be in your diet?

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of carbohydrates and fiber. They are full of micronutrients as well. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is a great way to prevent nutrient deficiency. The fiber in fruits and vegetables aids in digestion and helps keep you feeling fuller, longer.

The nutrients found in fruits and veggies have numerous benefits. These include protecting against certain types of cancer and reducing the risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Fruits and vegetables are also a great tool in any weight loss goal. The fiber found in whole fruits and vegetables keeps you satisfied longer than processed foods that digest more quickly. Fruits and vegetables are a lower calorie option as well, meaning they can be eaten in a greater volume with less damage to your total daily intake.

The American Heart Association recommends four servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables per day, based on the average healthy individual and a 2,000-calorie intake.

When it comes to eating your servings of fruits and vegetables, the most important thing is to get the proper amount. How you eat them, however, can affect their health benefits. For example, whole fruits have more nutrients and fiber than if you were to juice them. Juicing fruits and vegetables takes away the fiber and nutrients from the skin and pulp and leaves a lot of sugar. The best way to eat fruits and vegetables is raw, but other forms of cooking like steaming or grilling can add taste and make it easier to get enough servings in the day.

SUPERFOODS & WHERE TO START

A popular buzzword when it comes to nutrition is superfood. Superfoods are known for the numerous nutrients and health benefits they provide. All fruits and vegetables have their place in a well-rounded diet. However, if you don’t know where to start with adding fruits and vegetables into your diet, these popular produce picks are famous for their extra benefits.

Dark Leafy Greens are packed full of calcium, iron, magnesium, folate, zinc, vitamin C and fiber. Numerous studies have shown their ability to reduce the risk of chronic illness. Also, darker leafy greens are also highly anti- inflammatory.

Berries, such as blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, are known for being a great source
of antioxidants. This antioxidant capacity is linked with a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease.

Avocados are a great source of healthy fats. Monounsaturated fats are an important part of the diet for reducing inflammation and risk of metabolic syndrome. Fat also helps the body absorb nutrients, so healthy fats like avocado are great to eat along with other fruits and vegetables to get the most benefit.

by Jennifer Jensen