Nutrition practices and theories vary greatly throughout the world, and even within communities. Vegetarian, low-carb, no sugar, and low-fat are all specific diets. However, nutrition goes beyond the rules we follow and into our meals themselves. Do we eat Indian, Mexican, French, or American cuisine? Even at a molecular level, we need different vitamins, nutrients, and amino acids to help our body function well. For National Nutrition Month, let’s look at some of the steps you should take to achieve and maintain good nutrition.

Avoid Processed Foods

Nobody will deny that processed foods are bad unless they are unaware of their dangers or are in denial. Eating only fast food and TV dinners is an easy way to gain tons of weight very quickly. On top of that, the food in these meals lacks many essential nutrients, as they get stripped away during the various packaging and cooking processes. These foods are also packed full of salt and sugar to supplement flavor, as well as potentially harmful chemicals, which all cause your body to react negatively. The best way to eat processed food is to not.

Lower Sugar Intake

Many people are skeptical of the results of food-related studies, because of their contradictory nature. Sugar is one highly-contentious topic in the world of nutrition, as many people believe you should follow government standards, while others believe those standards are too high. I can’t say for certain how much sugar we should be able to eat before negative consequences occur, but I know that lowering your sugar intake (and even cutting out added sugar altogether) is not going to hurt most people.

Increase Water Intake

People all over the world have one thing in common: water. We all need it, but many of us go without it for far too long. You should be drinking roughly 2 liters of water each day, but many of us may drink one glass and that’s it. Water is a necessary component to many of our body’s functions, and drinking more can lead to more energy, better weight loss, and recovering from illnesses faster. Water is the best non-drug cure available, so take advantage of it and stay hydrated.

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

Some people, specifically those with Diabetes or Celiac Disease, struggle with finding foods that do not harm their bodies. In fact, there are numerous conditions that require a specific diet, in order to avoid negative symptoms. While doctors may not always be right, they almost always know what’s best for you when it comes to managing a disease. Listen to your doctor when they tell you to avoid spicy or sweet foods. They are only trying to help your body work properly.

Each of these points is a small step toward proper nutrition, and each is manageable. Take these steps today to help your body work well and to avoid the negative effects of poor nutrition.