Good Nutrition is the key to a healthy body. You really are what you eat and eating healthily can prolong your life, delay the ageing process, manage weight effectively and protect against a whole host of diseases and conditions.
So what exactly is “healthy eating”?
A healthy diet consists of the correct proportion of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fibre. There is so much information out there on what we should and should not be eating that it is absolutely baffling, and we would do well not to believe everything we read, hear and see in the media!
Report 41 “Dietary Reference values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom” state that your diet should consist of the following:
Carbohydrate: Approx. 50% of total daily calorie intake
Lipids (fat): Approx. 33% of total daily calorie intake
Protein: Approx. 10-15% of total daily calorie intake
Quick ways to improve your diet!
- Eat a wide variety of foods, this way you will be getting a whole spectrum of vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and carbs.
- Go colourful! The more different coloured fruits and vegetable in your diet, the more vitamins, minerals and essentially, anti-oxidents you will be getting.
- Include healthy fats in the diet-we all need a small proportion of fat every day for our bodies to function properly. An easy way to do this is to include oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados in the diet.
- Cut back on the amount of processed, pre-packaged foods you are eating. Eat as nature intended-fresh fruits and vegetables and lean sources of protein such as chicken breast, fish, pulses and grains.
- Balance you meals, every meal should be the correct proportion of proteins, carbs and fats. Click on the Food Standards Agency link for more information on the correct balance.
- Eat local-by sourcing locally produced foods you can be sure they have not travelled long distances and therefore will have reserved all of the essential nutrients so often lost in transport. You will also be supporting your local economy and cutting back on fuel used to ship in goods from around the world.
- Cut back on alcohol-Alcohol is a depressant and a diuretic, provides virtually no or very little in the way of nutrients for the body and is essentially just empty calories. A small amount of alcohol can be enjoyed with little consequence, but in reality the majority of us drink far too much booze! Click on the link below for more information about acceptable alcohol consumption.
- Stay hydrated-The body requires water for all of it’s processes, from breaking down macronutrients during digestion to regenerating cells. It is well known that we are required to drink two litres of water per day, but in reality this is quite difficult for a lot of people. Ensure that you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and you shall be getting plenty of water from your food. Herbal tea also counts as fluid intake, but avoid tea, coffee and alcohol, as these are diuretics which dehydrate the body.
- Cut back on caffeine-1-2 coffees per day is perfectly acceptable and will do you no harm, but any more and you can start to develop dependancy on caffeine. Any substance taken in too higher quantity is a concern, and caffeine withdrawal can cause severe headaches and anxiety. Caffeine is also a synthetic stress hormone and will have the same damaging effect that stress does-it causes the same chemical response, which shows why it is known to increase stress levels! Why do it to yourself? Strong tea, green tea, some energy drinks and chocolate also contain lots of caffeine so be aware of how much you are consuming.
FOOD FACT LIST
For health and weight management:
- What is a diet?-any pattern of eating. Make sure yours is a healthy one.
- Eat a variety of foods daily-don’t always eat the same thing
- Each day you must eat:
- Protein-for muscle/cell repair, vision and hormones
- Carbohydrates-energy, energy, energy!
- Fruit and Veg-you can never eat enough
- Fats-yes you do need some-don’t add any to your food.
- Water-at least 2-4 pints a day
- Remember, to keep burning fat, eat every 3 hours. Skipping meals encourages fat storing enzymes. If you eat a balanced diet, you should not need to supplement. All vital vitamins/minerals are contained in the food we eat.
- Peel all fruit and wash vegetables before consumption (unless they are oganic of course, and then a wash is still recommended) Pesticides and food handling can effect them.
- Frozen veg is NOT second best.
- Don’t forget tinned fruit is a good standby
- Keep essentials in your store cupboard
- Never shop when you are hungry
- Change your supermarket occasionally-it can encourage you to eat different foods.
- Look at your labels-the highest ingredient is listed first.
- Low fat or low calorie means it has to be 50% below the regular normal product. Look for these products.
- When buying sauces/packaged foods, try to ensure there is less than 4g fat per 100g of the product.
- All foods in excess will be stored as fat.
- You must eat to lose weight!
- Exercise and increased daily activity is the only way to reduce weight permanently.
- Exercise increases the rate at which your body burns fat
- Any long term weight loss means changing your lifestyle forever.
- Brisk walking is the best aerobic exercise to do on your own (and it’s cheap).
- The fitter you are, the more efficient your body is at burning fat.
- Exercise for 20 minutes of more for maximum results
- You need to expend 3500 calories to burn 1lb of fat!
- Sensible weight loss is between 1-2 lbs per week
- Remember, food is enjoyable and sociable and the occasional sin won’t be the end of the world.
- 80% of your shape is genetically inherited-don’t blame yourself, blame your parents!
- Hapiness and health come from within, not from what dress size you are
- Drink plenty of water-it’s good for the skin, bowels, hair and cellulite.