Poor BMI has a significant impact on your long-term health. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports carrying extra weight makes you more susceptible to:
- Cancers such as breast, colon, and endometrial cancer
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- High blood pressure
- Respiratory problems
- Sleep apnea
- Type-2 diabetes
And according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, underweight people are at an increased risk of fragile bones, hair loss, fertility problems, and weakened immunity.
Luckily, getting healthier is not complicated. You don’t have to starve or stuff yourself or set up a sophisticated exercise regimen. Eating right is all it takes.
Let’s discuss foods you can eat to have a better BMI.
BMI: What You Need to Know
The Body Mass Index measures your body size by combining weight and height. This way, a BMI measurement allows you to determine whether you have the right weight for your height.
Remember that BMI does not measure your body fat or account for your ethnicity, sex, age, or muscle mass. It’s a basic measure that will compare your body size to the healthy norm and let you know whether you need to lose or gain weight.
If your BMI isn’t in the healthy range, you are at risk of the health issues discussed earlier.
How to Determine BMI
In the metric system, the BMI calculation formula is as follows:
All you have to do is substitute your weight in the numerator and divide it by the square of your height in meters.
To measure BMI in imperial units, use the BMI equation:
Multiply your weight in pounds by 703, and divide that number by your height in inches squared.
You can determine the implications of your BMI by checking which of the BMI categories you belong to:
|18.5 – 24.9||Healthy|
|25.0 – 29.9||Overweight|
If you prefer not to work out the math, you can use the Meta-Calculator BMI calc and feed in your values to get your BMI. Besides adult men and women, the calculator can work out BMI for teens and children. It will show you which category you belong to right after you click “calculate.”
A BMI chart can help you determine whether you have a healthy weight or not. You can use the chart offered by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
After opening up the chart, locate your height on the left. Next, find your weight in the rows of the chart. The chart will indicate your BMI at the top and also the BMI category you belong to.
Food You Can Eat to Have a Better BMI
Depending on the results of a BMI calculator, you might want to gain or lose weight. Regardless of whether you’re looking to shed some pounds or put some on, here are some guidelines to abide by:
- Consume fewer calories than you burn, and you’ll lose weight.
- Consume more calories than you burn, and you’ll gain weight.
- Making serving sizes smaller and eating more meals is a great way to manage weight.
- Eating fewer calories ≠ eating less food. Eating more calories ≠ eating more food.
- Staying healthy is a lifelong activity.
Let’s discuss the foods you can eat to increase or decrease your BMI.
Foods You Can Eat to Reduce BMI
The three foods you can eat to reduce BMI include:
#1 Vegetables and Fruits
The best foods to eat to reduce BMI are fruits and vegetables. Ideally, you should need five servings of fruit and vegetables daily.
An ongoing supply of nutrients from these foods will keep you full the entire day. What’s more, fruits and vegetables are low in calories, so they will keep you in a calorie deficit.
If you don’t find vegetables appealing, use spices, herbs, and dressings to make delicious meals out of them.
#2 Whole Grains
Getting more fiber in your system will do two things:
- Give you energy
- Regulate your metabolism
It is proven that the body’s Basal Metabolic Rate (the number of calories needed to keep the body functioning at rest) increases with fiber consumption. In other words, eating fiber-rich foods can help you lose weight faster.
Whole wheat flour, oatmeal, barley, chickpeas, lentils, and brussels sprouts are some fiber-rich foods you should include in your diet.
Additionally, remove bread, rice, and flour from your diet, and replace them with whole-grain alternatives. Many packaged foods labeled “whole grain” are dyed with coffee and other coloring but are heavily processed and not made from whole grains.
When buying packaged foods, look at the ingredient list. A genuine product will list whole grains as the first ingredient.
#3 Lean Meats
Eating lean meats is the best way to go if you need to lose weight because they are loaded with protein and have fewer carbohydrates and fats. Further, they keep you feeling full for longer periods.
If your doctor has recommended you stick to a strict daily calorie intake, lean meats such as chicken breasts are an excellent option. Chicken wings and thighs tend to have more fat than breasts, so avoiding them is best.
You could also eat cuts of red meat such as pork and beef so long as the fat is trimmed off them. The leanest cuts of red meats are rich in iron, zinc, and vitamin B, making them the healthiest foods you could eat. You could also consider eating eggs. They can be cooked in several styles and are a great source of protein.
Tip: If you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, beans and lentils are excellent sources of protein you can rely on daily.
Foods You Can Eat to Increase BMI
Increasing BMI doesn’t mean you can eat an unhealthy diet. The same foods that help decrease BMI can also help you increase your BMI. So, eat an overall healthy diet that includes vegetables, fruits, dairy products, lean protein, and whole grain cereals, pasta, and bread.
Besides eating those foods, you can try drinking shakes and smoothies. Diet soda and other fizzy drinks have little nutritional value and must be avoided. Stick to healthy smoothies made from fresh or frozen fruit and milk.
Add some ground flaxseed if you like. It’s nice to indulge yourself in chocolate and other flavorsome treats by adding them to these healthy smoothies. Don’t hesitate to add extras for more calories to any of your meals.
Nuts, peanut butter, dried fruit, and cheese are excellent foods to increase BMI. Eating a bedtime snack is a great idea. You can enjoy a hot chocolate, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a wrap with avocado, cheese, and meat or veggies before bed.
The key is not to overload yourself with calories but to have nutritional foods and supplement them with foods with more calories.