Our bodies require certain fuels and nutrients to remain alive. Too over weight, and we stress the organs and make them work harder than they need to. Too little weight and the visceral fat is compromised, and our bodies need a certain level of fat in order to function properly.
Nutrition for good health does not just mean eating well. Good health is a combination of both good diet and exercise. The common guide is at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.
This must be combined with a balanced diet.
Vegetable, fruit and wholegrain fibre
This helps achieve the required carbohydrate intake a day. It is usually recommended that you consume at least 5 portions, but I believe that it is all too easy to consume too much carbohydrate due to a vast array of tempting fast food choices.
Moderate fat intake, avoiding saturated and processed fats
Fat is needed for the body to process the intake of vitamins. Research also suggests that a low fat diet can cause problems such as thyroid malfunction. Fat is important, but we must not overdo it. High calorie beverages such as sugary drinks and alcohol are ‘empty calories’ providing very little in the way of nutrients. A diet that is too high in fat could however, affect the body’s insulin sensitivity, a reason why people that are obese are at higher risk of being diabetic.
In general this is the guideline, but this may be different and worth reconsidering when referring athletes with a high volume of training, who will be losing salts through sweat.
This area is becoming a growing concern in recent years. The amount of processing has increased, with the addition of refined sugar, white flour, both of which lose their nutrients in the refinement process. Products such as fruit juices and non dairy creamers have become completely artificial, containing few or no nutrients but the same calories as their natural counterparts. Aspartame is also aother widely researched product (sold as nutrasweet or saccharin). Scientist are concerned that this man made low fat alternative, used widely in ‘diet’ foods actually may have the opposite effect, as the body is more likely to store a man made substance that it is unsure how to process.
The timing of meals is also key to a healthy lifestyle. For example, those who skip breakfast are much more likely to snack during the morning, more than likely on inappropriate foods, making it more likely that they will be overweight. Research has supported this.
A good balance of nutrients is vital. For example proteins promote growth and development, carbohydrates provide energy, vitamins and minerals regulate the metabolism. This combined with good exercise will fuel the body to perform at its optimum while maintaining weight at a healthy level.