Healthy living is essential to our well being, enabling us to live our lives to the full. To facilitate this, one of the key aspects is the consumption of a balanced diet. A balanced diet includes all five of the essential nutrients in the optimum quantity as required by our body.
- Proteins to build the body
- Carbohydrates to supply fuel or energy
- Fats for the effective functioning of many of the body’s processes
Some myths about healthy eating
Healthy eating is a term which is used by different people to mean different things. A quick internet search will confirm the myriad of definitions used and you may be surprised at the wide ranging opinions.For the purposes of this article, healthy eating does not involve the following:
- Maintaining extreme dietary limitations, either in terms of food types or calories consumed
- Maintaining an unrealistically thin body
- Depriving yourself of your favorite food
Instead, it is a process which enables you to
- Start feeling good about yourself
- Have more energy and keeps you charged and stimulated
- Enjoy an improved outlook on your life’s priorities
- Stabilise your mood
Diet chart for healthy living
Let us talk of a generalised diet chart instead of going into any specifics required with regard to certain health conditions. A visit to a clinic with specialised Diet Centers will provide you with an entire fitness and healthy living package which will give you:
- A good understanding of effective exercise
- An indication of the amount of exercise to do
- A nutrition plan or diet chart to follow
- A meal planner, indicating the best times to consume your meals
The basic requirements for healthy eating include:
- Reducing your sugar intake. Too much refined sugar has a direct impact on your blood sugar levels, quickly spiking to very high levels, closely followed by a crash to very low levels. This is harmful for the body and has a huge impact on your mood and cravings. Excess sugar should be cut down by:
- Avoiding drinks and juices laced with sugar
- Avoiding processed and packaged foods
- Eating low-sugar snacks
- Avoiding foods labelled “fat reduced” or “low fat” that have elevated sugar levels
- Fruits and vegetables. Including lots of differently colored fruits and vegetables in your diet will make the food look appetising and also naturally provide your body with the essentials of healthy eating. Ensure the following are incorporated into your eating plan:
- Green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach broccoli, mustard greens, Chinese cabbage etc. These are good sources of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc and vitamins like A,K,E and C
- Sweet vegetables such as corn, beets, carrots, yams, squash, sweet potato etc. When taken regularly, these will help curb your cravings for extra sugar.
- Fresh fruits of all kinds. They provide all-round nutrition in the form of fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Be cautious with dried fruit as it contains concentrated amounts of sugar.
- Increasing your intake of fiber-rich foods.It takes longer to digest fiber so it stays in your stomach longer. This gives a feeling of fullness, thereby curbing your hunger pangs. Also, fibre constitutes“roughage” which is essential for the proper functioning of your digestive system.
- Incorporating healthy carbohydrates and whole grains. Carbohydrates can be distinguished into those beneficial for the body like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, etc., and harmful carbohydrates like white flour, white rice, refined sugar etc. The healthy carbohydrates are known as complex carbohydrates and are digested slowly, making you feel satiated for a longer period of time. The release of insulin from these carbohydrates also occurs slowly, helping to stabilise blood sugar levels.
- Prioritising calcium intake.One of the primary components of our bones and teeth is calcium so it is important to ensure sufficient calcium is consumed to keep them strong. Calcium also plays an important role in the regulation of the heart’s rhythm and the proper transmission of messages through your nervous system. Make sure you include:
- Dairy products such as unsweetened yogurt and cheese etc.
- Vegetables and greens such as kale, fennel, celery and bean sprouts etc.
- Beans such as black beans, baked beans and kidney beans etc.
- Regular protein intake. With age,our protein requirements increase. Generally speaking, the optimal requirement for protein is 0.8g per kg of body weight. Adding plenty of fish, chicken, beans, soy and nuts etc., will help you to meet your protein requirements.
- Consumption of healthy fats. While trans fats are extremely harmful for the body, and animal fats should be limited, ensure you eat enough healthy fats to keep your body in tip top shape. Eat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from nuts, avocados, salmon, herring, anchovies, flax seeds and walnuts etc., will help to:
- Reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases
- Prevent dementia
- Elevate your mood
- Reducing salt intake. The body only requires about 1g of sodium per day. Anything above this can leave you vulnerable to kidney diseases, high blood pressure, memory loss, heart diseases etc. Many processed foods are surprisingly high in salt.
Moderation is the key to healthy eating, which in turn facilitates healthy living. Enjoy a range of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, moderate amounts of protein, and be sure to incorporate“good” fats.
Evie Coles is the writer of this article, and she is a professional writer and blogger. She writes on different health blogs and websites regularly. She always tries her best to write researched based article for her article. Find her socialFacebook, Twitter and Google+