Balanced nutrition is one of the essential staples of living a healthy life, and is absolutely critical not only for your well being, but also when it comes to your mood, energy levels, weight, and so on. While our body tries to give us signals concerning what exactly is it that it needs, a lot gets lost in translation, and sometimes we choose to ignore the signals that we do get. That’s why it is of critical importance to understand what exactly is it that our body needs, and to try to supply all the needed nutrients in sufficient quantities.
Optimal calorie intake differs from one person to another,depending on a number of factors, such as the person’s weight, gender,metabolism, levels of activity, age and other. On average, women need 2,000calories each day, while man usually require 2,500, but, again, your needs might be significantly lower or higher. While even your daily needs may vary based on the circumstances, once you start monitoring your calorie intake,you’ll soon be able to determine what your average daily needs are by keeping a close eye on your weight and potential shifts in it.
Starchy foods that are full of carbohydrates are usually used as a foundation in most types of diets. This is because of their high energy content and the fact that they contain other essential nutrients,including fiber and minerals. This group should be represented in roughly around a third of your diet, and it includes potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and similar. When you have the option, you should go with wholegrain, as it contains more fiber, which not only makes you feel more full, it is also great for digestion. Their most important property is that they provide you with energy that you need to go through the day, so make sure to consume this type of food when you expect increased levels of exertion or strain.
Protein is essential for muscle and tissue growth, as wellas recuperation and healing. Meat, eggs, beans and fish are all great sources of protein and come with other essential nutrients. Fish is a great source of minerals and vitamins, while oily fish varieties, such as pilchards, sardines,fresh tuna, herring and trout are also rich in omega-3 fats, which cannot be produced in our organism on their own, but are essential to our health. You should try eating fish at least twice a week. Apart from protein, meat is also rich in B12 vitamin, zinc and iron, and is one of the main sources of amino acids.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are probably the main source of vitamins, but they are also rich in other required nutrients, such as fiber. It is recommended that you get at least five servings a day. You might try to cheat by eating a fresh fruit salad containing five different types of fruit, however, youshould try and space out the potions during the day, for better absorption. Adheringto the five servings a day will significantly lower your cancer, stroke andheart disease risk, and generally, make you feel and be healthier.
Milk and dairy products, provided that you are not lactose intolerant, are another great source of protein, but they also provide calcium,which is instrumental in maintaining the health and strength of our bones.Since milk is quite rich in fat, you might want to consider consuming skimmed or semi-skimmed milk if your diet already includes sufficient quantities of it.
Fat, Sugar and Salt
While we do need them to a certain extent, and they aregreat at making our food tasty, there is a very well defined limit when itcomes to how much of these nutrients we should ingest. Make sure that you are not overdoing it, as there are numerous health issues that are caused by excessive use of either of the three.
For instance, fat helps with vitamin absorption and presents a valuable source of energy, but you should always try to consume unsaturated fats, as they are healthier (excessive quantities of saturated fats could lead to a serious increase in blood cholesterol), and an average adult shouldn’t consume more than 70g of fat a day (naturally, this is just an approximate value) and no more than 24g of that should be composed of saturated fat.
Sugar is also a great source of energy, but you shouldn’t consume more than 90 grams daily. This might be difficult to track as most foods already contain it in certain quantities, including dairy, fruit and vegetables.
Salt, or sodium is an essential part of everyone’s diet, but its blood pressure raising properties might make it risky for some people. An average adult shouldn’t have a problem as long as they refrain from consuming more than 2,300 milligrams a day. Similarly to sugar, salt is already a part of most of the types of food that we come into contact with, so you should be careful about what contains it in what quantities.