Observing the world’s wealthiest nations, you’ll notice that economic prosperity does not necessarily improve their population’s physical well-being. For instance, Americans—whose country is known for its sizable economy—were found to have a noticeably shorter life expectancy compared to other big economies where life expectancy is around 80 years. But could things be slowly changing? To know if we are getting healthier, we have to take a look at improvements in food, eating habits, and more.
Fitness is becoming more accessible
There is now greater awareness of fitness thanks to the fact that it’s more accessible than ever. Because of this, more people are motivated to start their fitness journey—often by incorporating healthier habits into their daily routines. People who want to have more physical activity would do so by walking more often, based on their knowledge about the benefits of walking 10,000 steps a day. For one, walking this much helps you look leaner as physical activity uses up the calories you eat and prevents your body from storing it as fat. You also tend to have more stable insulin levels and a stronger heart, decreasing the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease.
The Internet also provides more information on healthier eating to complement people’s fitness plans. On Youtube, there are certified dietitians like HealthNut Nutrition and Healthy Grocery Girl even share quick, healthy, and tasty recipes and snack ideas to encourage more people to cook.
Plant-based options are entering the mainstream
To boost the effects of working out, people are also advised to shift their diet to healthier options like plant-based food. Fortunately, meatless options have become more accessible, making it easier for more people to try out plant-based diets rich in protein, fiber, and vitamin B12. All this can help you achieve leaner bodies with more muscle mass and strength. Moreover, meatless products have little to no carcinogens, unlike highly-processed meats. This helps lower one’s risk of developing cancer.
To further the shift toward healthier alternatives like plant-based food, brands like Beyond Meat now produce meatless options in various flavors and shapes—and this ranges from chicken to jerky. Those with little time to cook, know that restaurants have been very dedicated to marketing their plant-based options, as well. Campaigns like Burger King’s “Impossible Burger,” California Pizza Kitchen’s “Don’t Call Me Kitchen,” and Panda Express’ “Beyond Meat Orange Chicken” are well-known among consumers.
Home cooking is becoming a common practice
Cooking at home can save you money and give you more control over your meal portions and nutritional composition. The increase in cooking content online has further motivated more people to take up cooking. As a result, over 71% of Americans stated they would keep cooking meals themselves. Aside from being economical and healthy, home cooking also helps you maximize workout gains.
Americans are still eating a lot of processed food
There is still a long way to go before we can say that the general physical well-being in the U.S. has improved for good. A study found that the consumption of ultra-processed foods has significantly increased in the past 20 years. Though these foods are associated with chronic diseases like obesity, many people still consume them for the convenience and comfort they provide. Those who work out to gain muscle should note that despite exercise, processed foods only promote fat gains.
Emergent food trends among Americans show current efforts to market healthier food choices to the general public. But with ultra-processed foods remaining a popular option, intervention at the institutional level must be done to help Americans shift to a healthier lifestyle.
Ressie Joneson is a freelance writer who specializes in lifestyle topics, including the wonders of wholesome and healthy choices. In her free time, she likes to visit local food haunts and experiment with new recipes.
Just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations, according to a study published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases.
Studies have shown that supplementation with extracts from fruits and vegetables may improve age-related changes.
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