It’s easy to get confused when it comes to health and nutrition. Even qualified experts often seem to hold opposing opinions, which can make it difficult to figure out what you should actually be doing to optimize your health.
Yet, despite all the disagreements, a number of wellness tips are well supported by research.
Here are 28 health and nutrition tips that are based on scientific evidence.
Sugary drinks like sodas, fruit juices, and sweetened teas are the primary source of added sugar in the American diet.
Unfortunately, findings from several studies point to sugar-sweetened beverages increasing risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, even in people who are not carrying excess body fat.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are also uniquely harmful for children, as they can contribute not only to obesity in children but also to conditions that usually do not develop until adulthood, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Healthier alternatives include:
- unsweetened teas
- sparkling water
Some people avoid nuts because they are high in fat. However, nuts and seeds are incredibly nutritious. They are packed with protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Nuts may help you lose weight and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease
Additionally, one large observational study noted that a low intake of nuts and seeds was potentially linked to an increased risk of death from heart disease, stroke, or type 2 diabetes
Ultra-processed foods are foods containing ingredients that are significantly modified from their original form. They often contain additives like added sugar, highly refined oil, salt, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors as well .
- snack cakes
- fast food
- frozen meals
- canned foods
Ultra-processed foods are highly palatable, meaning they are easily overeaten, and activate reward-related regions in the brain, which can lead to excess calorie consumption and weight gain. Studies show that diets high in ultra-processed food can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions
In addition to low quality ingredients like inflammatory fats, added sugar, and refined grains, they’re usually low in fiber, protein, and micronutrients. Thus, they provide mostly empty calories.
Despite some controversy over it, coffee is loaded with health benefits.
It’s rich in antioxidants, and some studies have linked coffee intake to longevity and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and numerous other illnesses.
The most beneficial intake amount appears to be 3–4 cups per day, although pregnant people should limit or avoid it completely because it has been linked to low birth weight.
However, it’s best to consume coffee and any caffeine-based items in moderation. Excessive caffeine intake may lead to health issues like insomnia and heart palpitations. To enjoy coffee in a safe and healthy way, keep your intake to less than 4 cups per day and avoid high-calorie, high-sugar additives like sweetened creamer.
Fish is a great source of high-quality protein and healthy fat. This is particularly true of fatty fish, such as salmon, which is loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and various other nutrients
Studies show that people who eat fish regularly have a lower risk for several conditions, including heart disease, dementia, and inflammatory bowel disease
The importance of getting enough quality sleep cannot be overstated.
Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, can disrupt your appetite hormones, and reduce your physical and mental performance
What’s more, poor sleep is one of the strongest individual risk factors for weight gain and obesity. People who do not get enough sleep tend to make food choices that are higher in fat, sugar, and calories, potentially leading to unwanted weight gain