Nutrition is a very important aspect of any healthy lifestyle and simply swapping out junk food for healthier food is usually the first step towards maintaining your weight within an acceptable range relative to your optimum body composition. It is widely accepted that a well-balanced and nutritious diet helps to keep the weight off and, more importantly, stay healthy. The latest science and recent research are also showing that nutrition is a key part to combating the onset of many serious diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and many others. So why is nutrition so important?
The three most important nutrients are calcium, iron and potassium. The first two are fats, which our bodies need to form the bones and teeth and the third is water, which is found in our tissues. What you eat affects your nutrition and it can have a profound effect on your health and how well you can fight against disease. The four types of nutrition are:
Raw foods are those that come directly from nature, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts. The reason you want to get these from natural food sources is because they contain all three nutrients – antioxidants, fibre, and phytochemicals – in their most natural and pure form. You will be surprised at how fresh and tasty fruit can be, and the rich flavour of vegetables can leave you craving them again! With this type of food, you are not restricted to eating only certain food types such as pasta, rice or bread and you enjoy all the benefits of good nutrition.
A good nutrition plan also includes healthy weight loss and exercise. Nutritious food does not have to be boring and dull! There are plenty of delicious, colourful options available and if you combine them with regular exercise, you will find you are feeling more active and healthy than ever before. You can choose from low fat options, such as a salad with tomato and cheese, and try things such as wheat bread or wholemeal bread for a taste boost.
You may need some help choosing the types of food you eat and the amount you eat. If you are not used to cooking, you may need to learn how to cook different types of food, so you know what nutrient values you are getting in your meals. Alternatively, you could opt for growing your own vegetables, which will provide you with nutritional value as well as making your food more interesting. Growing your own vegetables will also make you feel more independent as you don’t need to rely on restaurants for their side dishes or snacks.
Another option for a nutritious diet is to include meat in your diet. Try grilling steaks, chicken or fish, and avoid frying your vegetables – stick to steamed and boiled vegetables to enjoy the benefits of natural nutrition from the food you are eating. Although it sounds great, you should be aware that many vegetarians who do eat meat find they miss out on some vital nutrients from the meat, such as B vitamins, zinc and iron. Try to eat organic meat if you can, and take time to chew your food well – don’t eat too quickly as this will release all the nutrients from the raw meat into your system, which could leave you hungry again very soon.
Another good choice of food is to choose low fat products. You may think that low fat means no taste, but if you have tasted low fat cakes, biscuits or chocolate then you will realise that there is a lot more taste than there is mention of. When buying foods for your diet, look for the label to tell you how much salt, fat, sugar, fibre, vitamins and minerals the food has. This will give you an idea of how much, if any, of each nutrient you should be getting from the food you are buying. Foods with high levels of fat and sodium may contain more calories, so if you want to lose weight then be sure to choose foods with lower fat content.
A good nutrition plan will help you to have a balanced diet that provides all the essential nutrients you need for daily activities. Your diet should be rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. If you are trying to lose weight, try to cut down on all fatty foods, and choose healthier alternatives such as tofu and nuts. You should be able to get all the important nutrients from your food, and have fun doing it!