The influence of food on health
Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your outlook, and stabilizing your mood. If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite.
The food we eat gives our bodies the "information" and materials they need to function properly. If we don't get the right information, our metabolic processes suffer and our health declines.
If we get too much food, or food that gives our bodies the wrong instructions, we can become overweight, undernourished, and at risk for the development of diseases and conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. To prevent the onset of these diseases, we need to know how multiple nutrients in a diet interact and affect the human body's functions, according to the Nutrition Society, Europe's largest nutritional organization.
We all know that we need to get a basic balance of nutrients every day. But we may not be aware that the Standard American Diet (SAD) lacks nutrients. Moreover, some of our processed foods include chemically-altered fats and sugars that may be giving our bodies the wrong signals.
The nutrients in food enable the cells in our bodies to perform their necessary functions. A quick note to ensure you are doing it right:
- Eat the right amount of calories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink too much, you’ll put on weight. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight. It is recommended that men have around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). Women should have around 2,000 calories a day (8,400 kilojoules). Most adults are eating more calories than they need, and should eat fewer calories. Ardyss® Nutri-Shake is a healthy option to help you balance the amount of proteins you give to your body, besides being a perfect performance shake for jump-starting your metabolism, and as meal replacement.
- Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
Key to any healthy diet is moderation. But what is moderation? In essence, it means eating only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal, but not stuffed. Moderation is also about balance. Despite what fad diets would have you believe, we all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body.
For most of us, moderation also means eating less than we do now. But it doesn't mean eliminating the foods you love.
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Focus on eating the recommended daily minimum of five servings of fruit and vegetables and it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. A serving is half a cup of raw fruit or veg or a small apple or banana, for example. Most of us need to double the amount we currently eat.
Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast can help people control their weight. A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. A wholegrain, lower-sugar cereal with fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and nutritious breakfast.
Choose healthy carbohydrates and fiber sources, especially whole grains, for long-lasting energy. Whole grains are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, which help to protect against coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.
Here are a few eating habits which, once you've made them part of your routine, will have you set up for life:
1. Eat Healthy Unprocessed Food
Get into the habit of preparing meals from unprocessed foods and you will reap the health benefits. This means cooking with fresh vegetables, lean meat, eggs and milk and eating plenty of fruit, nuts and legumes.
2. Switch to Healthy Whole Grains
Whole grains tend to have a lower GI (glycaemic index), so they help keep you feeling fuller for longer and maintain your energy levels and concentration.
3. Change to Healthy Cooking Methods
Avoid things like deep-frying, which drenches your food in unnecessary calories, and boiling vegetables until they're drained of colour, as this will sap them of nutrients.
4. Eat Healthy Portion Sizes
For the ideal lunch, a quarter of the plate would be taken up by lean protein, another quarter would be filled with low-GI or wholegrain carbs, and the remaining half would be filled with salad or vegetables.
5. Understand Healthy Eating-Out Options
Always ask for dressings and sauces to be served on the side. See if the restaurant's menu is available online and choose your meal before you go out.
6. A Food Diary Will Help Your Healthy Eating Habits
Keeping a diary of everything you eat and drink throughout the day will give you a clear picture of how much you're consuming and how healthy it is.
7. Healthy Eating at Social Events
For most of us, it's impossible to avoid work gatherings or birthday bashes, where lots of food and alcohol are on offer, and the next day we're wracked with remorse if we've over-indulged.
8. Plan Your Healthy Shopping
Set aside a regular time to create a shopping list based on healthy options for each of your meals and snacks during the week, and then set aside a regular time to shop.
9. Treats Can be Healthy Too
Set aside one meal a week to indulge in as a treat.This is the time to eat something you may have otherwise kept out of your healthy eating plan.
10. Water: Nature's Healthy Drink
Water is essential for life - it's required for digestion, absorption and transportation of nutrients, for elimination of waste and to regulate body temperature.