A seemingly qualified influencer will tell you on Instagram to adopt a carnivore diet, while another on TikTok will tell you that lowering your blood sugar is the key to optimal health. So, which one is it?

I’ll let you in on a secret: the key to optimal health is a little more boring that these influencers let on. The science is pretty clear on what we need to do, but not interesting enough to gain you a million followers on social media. As an evidence-based Nutritionist, here are the three most important things I think you can do to improve your nutrition and overall health today.

Eat Protein (from Plants)

Protein is required to build muscle, make hormones and maintain satiety, and most of us aren’t eating enough. And those of us that are, are usually over-consuming protein from animal sources. Reducing consumption of animal protein and increasing plant protein is consistent with improvements in human health, particularly in the treatment of chronic disease.

Approximately 15-25% of dietary intake should come from protein, that’s roughly 77-128g per day for the average person. Ideally, we want to try and make at least 50% of your total daily protein intake come from plant-based sources. Plant-based sources of protein look like legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans), tofu, edamame beans, greek yoghurt, quinoa, nuts and seeds.

And side note: it’s a myth that plant-based diets are low in protein. All plant foods contain all 20 amino acids, but some are limited in some foods, so consuming a wide variety of plant foods is essential.

Eat Differently

Fibre is the part of plant foods that our bodies can’t digest, and they provide many beneficial properties to our health. Fibre improves our digestive health, and regular bowel movements and keeps us feeling full. It can help improve cholesterol, blood sugar levels and stabilise weight. Fibre can assist in the prevention of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and bowel cancer.

We know enough fibre is beneficial for us, but what’s even more beneficial is the different types of fibre we consume. What we want to do is eat different types of fibre as much as possible, rather than eating the same things every day. We want to aim for 30 different plant-based foods per week, which includes all of your fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. Bonus points if you’re getting over 30 different foods per week!

Fat is Your Friend

Low fat had its moment in the 80’s, then we had the ketogenic (or keto) diet where fat was all we were supposed to eat. Now everyone seems to forget about it all together, which can be even more detrimental for us.

Fat is a macronutrient just like protein or carbohydrates, but it is more ‘energy-dense’ meaning it provides our body with more kilojoules per gram than the others. However, a moderate amount of dietary fat is essential for your body to function optimally. Fats are a source of energy for the body and assist in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D E and K. Fats are also crucial in order for your body to make hormones.

We want the majority of our fat intake to come from unsaturated fats, which decrease cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. This includes polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6), and monounsaturated fats (omega-9). Omega-3 fats can be found in fish and seafood, walnuts, soy products, flaxseeds and chia seeds.Omega-6 fats can be found in sunflower seeds, linseeds, brazil nuts, pepitas and pine nuts. Monounsaturated fats can be found in olive oil, peanuts and peanut butter, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and avocados.

Changing all these three things at once may seem daunting, so I encourage you to think about the quickest win. Is that swapping to some plant-based protein, changing up your fruit and veg, or adding in some healthy fats?


By Jade Harman 

Jade is a clinical Nutritionist, podcast host, writer and speaker who works with women seeking a sustainable and positive approach to weight loss, and parent’s who are dealing with young kids and fussy eaters.

Jade’s approach as a Nutritionist is very simple, structured, and considered and her love of nutrition is balanced with a strong sense of caution around ‘wellness’ industries. That’s why all of the advice Jade provides is backed by peer-reviewed knowledge.

She sees clients 1:1 but her work expands into online courses, group coaching, events and workshops. It’s no secret that Jade doesn’t love social media, so you can find her at www.harmanhealth.com.au

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1 month ago

I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.

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