Healthy Habit #1 – Nutrition
Part 1 of our 7 part series
- develop, replace and repair cells and tissues;
- produce energy to keep warm, move and work;
- carry out chemical processes such as the digestion of food;
- protect against, resist and fight infection and recover from sickness.
A healthy and balanced diet provides foods in the right amounts (calorie balance) and combinations of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates & fats) that are safe and free from disease and harmful substances. Below are some basic guidelines on maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.
EAT A VARIETY OF FOODS
Eating a wide variety of different foods will supply the nutrients that are essential for our bodies and helps ensure that you get all of the disease-fighting potential that foods offer.
Sure, you can eat all the broccoli and spinach you want, but for higher-calorie foods, portion control is the key. The single most important variable in determining diet success, in terms of losing, maintaining or gaining weight is calorie balance. If you’re eating more calories than you’re burning, over time, you will gain weight which can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
EAT PLENTY OF PRODUCE
Aim for 2½ cups of vegetables a day, for a 2,000-calorie diet. If your body needs more calories, aim for more; if you need fewer than 2,000 calories, you can eat less. Include green, orange, red, blue/purple and yellow produce. The nutrients, fiber and other compounds in these foods may help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases.
EAT LEAN PROTEIN
Proteins, specifically amino acids, will help to strengthen muscles and the immune system. Foods such as poultry, fish, eggs and lean beef supply good-quality proteins, vitamins and minerals and extra energy. Eating protein with each meal helps keep insulin levels low, prevents insulin surges and promotes fat burning all day long. General health requirements call for a minimum of 0.4g protein per pound bodyweight per day. For optimal health, increase that level to .75g protein per pound bodyweight per day.
EAT CLEAN CARBS
Carbohydrates can get a bad rap but if you read our blog post on carbs, you know that complex carbs typically have a low glycemic index, help you feel full longer, provide you with energy and dietary fiber. But, while carbs are an important part of your nutrition, they need to be combined with protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and water for adequate growth and health. Assuming your are lightly active, 100-150g per day is a healthy range that won’t promote weight gain.
EAT HEALTHY FATS
Good fats play vital roles in different functions within your body. Nuts, fish, avocado’s, olives, olive & coconut oils all provide healthy fats that benefit your health rather than harm it. It’s recommended that 25 to 30 percent of your daily caloric consumption comes from healthy fats. These fats provide a number of benefits such as aiding fat-soluble vitamins, promoting brain function and providing energy.
DRINK PLETNY OF WATER
We’ll talk more about this in a few weeks. For now, we want you to know that a few benefits of water include; regulating body temperature, maintaining electrolyte balance, aiding in digestion and boosting physical performance. Drinking 1/2 of your body weight in oz of water will ensure that you’re staying hydrated and promoting good health.
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
Again, these are basic principle and guidelines to get you started. You need a variety of foods in adequate amounts that will support a healthy life and does not contribute to gaining weight, sickness or disease. Your nutritional plan will be based on your current health and aimed at meeting your specific health and wellness goals.