It can seem confusing and downright near impossible to keep up with what to eat to stay healthy and well, and yes, even while we are still partially in lock down mode, our Slaybabes are still on the grind and need the vitality to keep chasing those dreams, albeit a lot of the time sitting on our sofas or around our desks in our home office.
Although keeping up with what you're supposed to eat may seem complicated, there are really only six categories of essential nutrients, the substances you need to get from food because your body can’t produce enough of them on its own. So to help you to simplify healthy eating, we are going to bring it all back to basics. Focusing on the power 6 which means protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Firstly, all of our calories come from three macronutrients , which are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. They give you energy, and you need them in large supplies.
1 - Protein. The major building block for your body cells and tissues is protein. It is essential for your body to grow and repair itself and also increase muscle mass and may boost your metabolism. Animal protein provides all the essential amino acids you need.
Good sources of protein include:
* Lean red meat
* White meats such as: Skinless Chicken and Turkey
* Dairy products.
2- Carbohydrates. For short term energy, your body uses carbohydrates. While low and no carb diets seem popular, it makes more sense to distinguish between refined and unrefined carbohydrates. Avoid products that are mostly white, i.e. white pasta, flour and sugar. Opt instead for wholewheat.
Good sources of carbohydrates include:
* Whole grains
3 - Healthy Fats. Your body needs fats too. They give you longer term energy and help protect your organs.
Foods that are high in fat include:
* Olive oil
* Oily fish, such as Salmon, Tuna
How much do you need to eat from each group? Current dietary guidelines recommend that 5+ portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. 1 Banana, 1 apple is considered to be a portion. Starchy carbohydrates 3-4 portions a day 60-90 grams of lean cooked meat, about the size of a deck of card or the size of a fist. You should aim to eat at least 2 portions of fish a week , one portion of oily fish. Nuts are high in fats and you are advised to eat these in moderation preferably unsalted.
Vitamins and minerals are the micronutrient that support your body functions. You only need them in small amounts, but they’re still vital to your health and well-being.
There are 13 essential vitamins and a wide range of minerals that you need to keep your body in optimum health. As well as protecting your body from diseases, other important factors include:
4 -Vitamins help your body to use other nutrients and make hormones.
5 - Minerals are especially important for your central nervous system and skeleton.
The best way to ensure you're getting all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy is to add variety to your diet with special attention placed on Fruit and vegetables. if you are already including whole grains, low-fat protein and dairy products and have added bean and legumes as part of your healthy eating program then you are most likely getting the necessary amounts. Tell tale signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies include hair loss and slow healing. Most symptoms can be treated quickly by changing your diet.
Supplements. Although it's preferably to get all the vitamin and minerals you need through your food intake, there may be times when you may need supplements to boost your intake on these occasion, it’s important to follow your chosen supplement guidelines and consult your GP if you’re on a restricted diet.
6 - Water.
There’s a some difference of opinion when it comes to water. Experts are divided on whether it's a macronutrient because you need a lot of it or a micronutrient because it doesn’t provide energy directly. When it comes to the importance of keeping your body hydrated, I believe it simply has a category all of its own.
Dehydration can affect your performance. If you feel fatigued or have trouble concentrating, you may need to drink more. How much is enough? 1 and a half litres to 2 equivalent to 8 glasses of water is recommended daily.
Try adopting these habits if you are having trouble drinking enough water.
* Create triggers like leaving a glass or a drinking container by your bed each night for when you wake up in the morning.
* If the taste of plain water doesn’t appeal to you, add flavour to liven it up. Infuse it with fresh mint, water melon or some lemon or lime or cucumber.
* Water from solid foods counts too. For meals and snacks with a high water content, use ingredients like cucumbers, celery, strawberries, cauliflower, and cottage cheese.
Having a healthy nutrition can be simpler than you think. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods is usually all you need to keep your body functional and give it adequate amounts of the 6 essential nutrients.
* As always babes, If you have medical conditions or other concerns, consult with your GP or a dietitian as they can help you in understanding your individual needs.*
Slaybabe @slaybabeuk * Additional source NHS eat well guidelines*