Advice on Nutrition for Healthy Living

Health. We all want it, but struggle to obtain it. I’m here to tell you that health is not as hard to attain as you may believe. There are many ways of being and becoming healthy, but I will focus on the most common challenging area… diets. Now, the first thing that probably comes to mind when you hear diet is restriction. Most people think you have to cut calories and restrict tasty foods, when that’s just not true.

Légumes

Image via Wikipedia

Okay, first off let me begin with breakfast. As many of you already know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day; however, do you know why? For the non-nocturnal world, breakfast gives us the energy and stamina to last through the day. Although, it is sad that most people do not eat breakfast as it really is important. A recent study showed that those who would eat breakfast had much greater fat loss than those who skipped it. Now, the ideal breakfast is something rich in both carbohydrates as well as protein, things such as egg whites and whole wheat toast, a bowl of raisin bran with fat-free or 2% milk would be ideal, or a morning smoothie such as the one I will mention later on and for any vegetarian, a cup of pinto beans would be just as well.

Next is lunch… or not. After breakfast you should not wait 4-6 hours to eat lunch. It is much healthier to eat 5-6 times a day consisting of three meals and two snacks. So two or three hours after breakfast, it would be good to have a light snack such a fruit or vegetable (e.g. banana, apple, carrots, celery). Now, another 2-3 hours after said snack comes lunch. For breakfast, it is practically the same for everybody; however, lunch can vary based on lifestyle. People who are very active and the ones who completes intense exercise daily, may require another meal high in both carbohydrates and protein. Ideally, a lean steak with any whole grain on the side is okay; however, for most, that type of lunch is not very common so a sandwich with wheat bread and lean ham alongside your other average sandwich fillings should suffice. But for an office worker, the protein is enough and almost any lean meat should satisfy.

Lastly, dinner. After a mid-afternoon snack though, of course. Luckily, dinner for most of us is the same, low-carbohydrate, high-protein and plenty of fiber. A meal such as skinless white chicken breast alongside a slice of double-fiber whole wheat bread would be appropriate.

While that covers every meal, there are a few other tips that I feel I should share here. Throughout each day, you need calcium; it strengthens your bones and promotes weight loss. But what most people do not know is that although we are recommended 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium, 600 mg or more may increase the risk of prostate cancer. The best thing to do is eat foods high in vitamin D as well as foods containing lycopene and beta-sitosterol, all of which have cancer fighting properties. This way you may counter balance the adverse effects of the calcium and still have all the benefits.

Next, not everyone applies here but for those who do, it is a great tip. Meat. We love it; we crave for it and with good reason. Animal proteins rev up your metabolism in a process called thermogenesis. This process burns calories in itself helping you burn fat and under the right circumstances, helps muscle recovery. Also, meats and whey proteins contain a nutrient called BCAA, which are the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These not only help muscle recovery, but they boost both your testosterone and growth hormones. With these two boosted, your fat burning and muscle building potential definitely increases. So depending on your current health level and dietary habits, you should attempt consuming anywhere from 10-60 grams of them a day.

Now, with all these little nutrients that can help improve your health, for appropriate weight, whether you’re over or under weight, you need to moderate your calorie intake. Always remember, calories are king, because even if you eat all the right nutrients, your body can still fall out of proper weight if it does not have the right amount of calories. Imagine a car, even if you put grade A oil in it, it won’t run without gasoline. So above all count calories, and I know it’s a hassle, but it’s definitely worth it if you want to stay in shape.

Then we move on to the brain. You may have heard certain nuts, such as almonds, may improve memory or brain function. While this is true, there are many other nutrients to improve brain health and activity. There is actually quite a few. An example will be the omega-3s. In fact, your brain cells are mostly made up of these good fats and it needs great abundance for proper growth and repair. Next are antioxidants, which you all probably already know are good for you… But do you know why? In our body, there are free radicals that do a number of damages to you such as aging, cancer, and brain cell damage. But there is hope, for antioxidants absorb these free radicals, keep you healthy and more protected from cell damage. Also, you may have heard this a thousand times but I am going to say it again: Drink plenty of water. Being even slightly dehydrated can cause a dip in mental energy and leave memory impairment.

Finally, and the most basic, most common and well known, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Most people overlook this simple step and only pay attention to advice concerning the little nutrients that while are important, they are not nearly as important as getting plenty of your basics. Plus, if you eat plenty of them in wide variety then chances are you will get most of those little nutrients that can pack a punch. So eat your five servings, they could be healthier than you think.

Leave a Reply