Whether you are at your ideal weight or striving to reach your weight goal is it simply a matter of burning more calories than you take in?
The answer, I suggest, is no!
Overall body health improvement as well as weight gain or loss must be factored in to the equation or you could be heading for problems.
Correct nutrition can help to reduce the risk of a miriad of health-related problems, the most frightening of which are surely heart disease and cancer.
Proper nutrition, however, entails eating many different foods, monitoring your consumption of some food and beverage items, and counting calories.
To function properly, your body must have the correct combination of nutrients:
They are the primary source of ammunition in your diet.
The body uses carbohydrates to build glucose which can be used immediately or stored in your body for later.
Too much glucose, however, is stored as fat.
There are two types of carbohydrates – simple and complex. Sugars are simple carbohydrates.
Starches and fibers are complex carbohydrates.
Proteins help your body build and maintain muscles and other tissues. They also function in the creation of hormones.
Like carbohydrates, excess protein is stored as fat.
Animal and vegetable are the two major types of proteins. Too much animal protein can cause high cholesterol, as it is high in saturated fat.
Strange as it may seem; fat is another nutrient your body requires.
It comes in both saturated and unsaturated forms. Saturated fat puts you at risk of health problems.
Unsaturated fat is healthy, but if it goes through any type of refinement process, it can become saturated fat.
These are also required nutrients.
Different vitamins perform different tasks within the body.
They can work with the metabolism to help with energy levels for any task you can think of that you need your body to perform.
It has also been noted that certain vitamins can prevent disease.
For example, vitamins A, C, and E, also called antioxidants, can assist with the prevention of coronary artery disease by keeping build up from occurring on artery walls.
Vitamin B-1 is needed for digestion and proper nervous system function, Vitamin B-2 is needed for normal cell growth.
Vitamin B-3 helps to detoxify your body. Folic acid assists with production of red blood cells.
Vitamin D assists with the absorption of calcium.
Vitamin K helps your blood clot.
Minerals and trace elements.
These are another nutrient your body requires.
Both are used in many different body processes.
Minerals like chlorine help make your digestive juices.
Phosphorus helps build strong bones. Both can be found in the foods we consume, but with a trace element, your body just needs a tiny amount.
Salt is one final nutrient your body requires.
You should not consume more than 2400 milligrams per day, though, as it might raise your blood pressure.
The three macronutrients are carbohydrates (carbs), fats and protein.
These nutrients are needed in relatively large amounts. They provide calories and have various functions in your body.
Here are some common foods within each macronutrient group:
Carbs: 4 calories per gram. All starchy foods like bread, pasta and potatoes. Also includes fruit, legumes, juice, sugar and some dairy products.
Protein: 4 calories per gram. Main sources include meat and fish, dairy, eggs, legumes and vegetarian alternatives like tofu.
Fats: 9 calories per gram. Main sources include nuts, seeds, oils, butter, cheese, oily fish and fatty meat.
How much of each macronutrient you should consume depends on your lifestyle and goals, as well as your personal preferences.
Micronutrients are important vitamins and minerals that you require in smaller doses.
Some of the most common micronutrients you should know include:
Magnesium: Plays a role in over 600 cellular processes, including energy production, nervous system function and muscle contraction.
Potassium: This mineral is important for blood pressure control, fluid balance and the function of your muscles and nerves.
Iron: Primarily known for carrying oxygen in the blood, iron also has many other benefits, including improved immune and brain function.
Calcium: An important structural component of bones and teeth, and also a key mineral for your heart, muscles and nervous system.
All vitamins: The vitamins, from vitamin A to K, play important roles in every organ and cell in your body.
All of the vitamins and minerals are “essential” nutrients, meaning that you must get them from the diet in order to survive.
The daily requirement of each micronutrient varies between individuals.
If you eat a real food-based diet that includes plants and animals, then you should get all the micronutrients your body needs without taking a supplement.
Foods to Eat
Try to base your diet around these healthy food groups:
Vegetables: These should play a fundamental role at most meals. They are low in calories yet full of important micronutrients and fiber.
Fruits: A natural sweet treat, fruit provides micronutrients and antioxidants that can help improve health.
Meat and fish: Meat and fish have been the major sources of protein throughout evolution. They are a staple in the human diet, although vegetarian and vegan diets have become popular as well.
Nuts and seeds: These are one of the best fat sources available and also contain important micronutrients.
Eggs: Considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet, whole eggs pack a powerful combination of protein, beneficial fats and micronutrients.
Dairy: Dairy products such as natural yogurt and milk are convenient, low-cost sources of protein and calcium.
Healthy starches: For those who aren’t on a low-carb diet, whole food starchy foods like potatoes, quinoa and Ezekiel bread are healthy and nutritious.
Beans and legumes: These are fantastic sources of fiber, protein and micronutrients.
Beverages: Water should make up the majority of your fluid intake, along with drinks like coffee and tea.
Herbs and spices: These are often very high in nutrients and beneficial plant compounds.
How to Make Healthy Eating Sustainable
Here’s a great rule to live by: If you can’t see yourself on this diet in one, two or three years, then it’s not right for you.
Far too often, people go on extreme diets they can’t maintain, which means they never actually develop long-term, healthy eating habits.
There are some frightening weight gain statistics showing that most people regain all the weight they lost soon after attempting a weight loss diet.
As always, balance is key.
Unless you have a specific disease or dietary requirement, no food needs to be off limits forever.
By totally eliminating certain foods, you may actually increase cravings and decrease long-term success.
Basing 90% of your diet on whole foods and eating smaller portions will allow you to enjoy treats occasionally yet still achieve excellent health.
This is a far healthier approach than doing the opposite and eating 90% processed food and only 10% whole food like many people do.
Create a well balanced, nutritional diet.
You should follow several guidelines to create a well balanced, nutritional diet. First, try to consume two and one half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit each day.
When making your selections for each day, be sure to choose a good variety.
A good rough guide is to eat as many different colors as possible, this will help you to select from all five vegetable subgroups at least four times per week.
You should eat at least three ounces of whole grain products each day. At least half of your grain intake should be whole grain based.
Milk should also be part of a healthy diet. Consume at least forty-eight ounces of low fat milk or milk products on a daily basis.
Your total fat intake should only be between ten and thirty percent of your calories.
Most of the fats you consume should be in the form of unsaturated fats, as saturated fats can do much to damage your health.
Meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products should all be lean, low-fat, or fat-free.
Less than ten percent of your calories should come from saturated fats, and you should always try to avoid trans-fatty acid.
Fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be a regular part of your diet as should potassium rich foods. Alcoholic beverages should only be consumed in moderation.
Excellent nutrition is the basis of a healthy diet.