What is the number one way to eat to improve your health?

As a nutritionist, my goal with my clients is to help them build a life in which, simply, they feel good.

Before we can get to this point, there is often a good amount of individualized work that needs to be done. We look into the vast array of symptoms that are presented including bloating, diabetes, weight, heart disease, PMS, acne, infertility, hair loss, rosacea, gas, headaches, anxiety, joint pain... you get the idea. For each, there is a nutritional approach that can make a difference.

But what about long-term, general health? Once we address specific conditions, how can we make a life that is generally free of symptoms, at a healthy weight, without chronic lifestyle diseases? What should we eat?

For this, there is one essential truth about health that is undeniable and, yet, painfully obvious and simple.

Eat whole foods. 

Eat foods in the state that you would find them outside, pulled from underground, plucked from a vine, or picked from a tree. Fill at least half of your plate with vegetables and fruits. Make this the normal for your meals. Less plastic wrapped, prepared, preserved food and more whole foods. It’s not about cutting things out, it’s about more whole foods. The rest will fall away naturally.

Top 4 reasons this is essential:

Nutrient Density

Nutrient Density

  1. Whole foods are nutrient dense. They have their own unique fingerprint of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants in a concentrated form. Per bite of food, you’re getting more nourishment. It’s like buying bulk at Costco.

  2. They are made to work with our natural satiety signals (how our body knows when we’re full). They are full of fiber, which makes it take longer to eat... giving us the time to register that we have had enough food. It allows the stretch receptors in our stomach to signal that we’re at capacity.
    Foods engineered with refined sugar, fat, and salt override our satiety signals. It’s very easy to eat an entire bag of potato chips but very hard to eat a lot of potatoes.

  3. Your body will thank you for skipping out on oxidized fats (highly inflammatory), synthetic flavors, gut-damaging chemicals, preservatives, hyper-palatable and addicting combinations of sugar, salt, and fat… and so on.

  4. It takes away the guessing. Are carbs good or bad? Are fats good or bad?
    Guess what? They’re both good - when they are in their whole food form.

Making this the norm in our diets is the goal. We are what we do most of the time, not some of the time.

There is an immense amount of research that shows that eating a whole foods diet, full of plants, is the most health promoting diet of all. The best part is that whole foods taste, really, really good once you get your brain out of the addiction to hyper-palatable foods. You’ll start to love broccoli. I promise.

Jen Unruh