Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life – Making the First Steps
As the time goes by obesity becomes more and more spread throughout the world, threatening to become “the disease of the 21st century”, so there is no point of involving the questions of choice and beauty standards into the discussion. No matter how you put it, the fact remains that obesity causes numerous diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and infertility. That’s why, instead of finding a comfort in the fact that too many people are overweight, anyone who is facing such problem should do their best to make a turnover and a new, healthy beginning. We will try to give a small contribution.
The Question of Calories
In order to solve any kind of problem, we would first have to understand what the problem is, right? One of the main problems causing bad eating habits is an overall misunderstanding of the concept of calories. Although they are usually associated only with food, calories are, in fact, measures of energy that is generated in bodies once the food is eaten. On their own, calories are not the main contributor to weight gain, but they never come isolated, rather in complex combination with other nutrients. Depending on those other nutrients, our bodies will react to them in a drastically different manner. Some of them will have positive, while others will cause negative effects. While “bad” calories have higher conversion rate to fat, the answer to obesity is not renouncing calories completely. Starvation diets send the wrong message to your body to slow down metabolism and make fat deposits in order to compensate the shortage. It is much more beneficial to simply change the food which you are eating and promote “the good calories”.
What Are the Nutrients You Should Eat?
So what kind of food should we eat so we don’t send our bodies a signal to store fat, and send us back to the fridge only an hour later?
- Carbohydrates are crucial for your health. As a matter of fact they should make up 45-65% of your daily calories. Still, not all carbohydrates are good and you should prefer those which are being broken down by your body slower (complex carbohydrates), or ideally fibers, which can’t be broken down to sugar molecules at all. Fibers are also known for reducing the risk of developing heart diseases, diabetes, and constipation. They can be found in whole grain foods, vegetables, fresh fruit, and nuts.
- They are the main building blocks for our cells and play a large role in our immune systems. When there are no carbohydrates or fat stores available, they can also serve as an energy source. Try eating at least 0.8 grams per kilogram (or 2.2 pounds) of your body’s weight. They can be found in beef, poultry, fish, eggs, bananas, and peas.
- Although they sound like a bad guy, fats are one of the essential nutrients your body needs in order to function properly. They keep your organs safe, and help you to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, so they should be the source of approximately 20-35% of daily calories. Not all of them are good, though, so search for them in olive oils, nuts, avocadoes, and fatty fish.
- Vitamins and Minerals. Both vitamins and minerals are used for numerous physiological duties, like regulation of heartbeats, creation of hormones and building of bones. Their specific benefits are too numerous to count here, but what is important is that you will have to eat diversified food to find them all.
Developing Healthy Eating Habits
Did you know that the food we eat actually affects our emotions? Now that we know the rules by which we are playing, let’s make those emotions positive ones. So, do your best to:
- Base your meals on starchy food. Whole grains and potatoes contain great amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and fewer than half the calories of fats per one gram.
- Eat more fish. Fish is the only natural source of vitamin D which is important for bone health. Try having at least two portions per week; just be sure to avoid the frozen ones, because they contain salt.
- Never skip breakfast. As we have already mentioned, skipping meals solves virtually nothing, especially if we are talking about breakfast. Instead, make your first meal a healthy foundation for the rest of the day with whole grain cereals or porridge.
- Stay hydrated. Water helps the distribution of essential nutrients to cells, so drink at least 8-10 glasses a day. You can substitute one of them with other liquids, such as milk or tea, but alcohol doesn’t count. It only causes dehydration.
- Be active. Healthy nutrition works the best when combined with a vigorous lifestyle. It’s recommended to have at least 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of high-intensity of physical activity and muscle strength training two times per week.
Now that we have covered all the basics, the ball is in your court. Don’t be afraid to play with it, this is the game where you have nothing to lose, and everything, including happiness and health, to gain.