Choosing the Right Food for Health and Nutrition

Great health is only achievable by eating the right food for nutrition. It is apparent that everyone desires to feel great, energetic, and prevent common infections. However, without the right nutrition basics this is hardly achievable. Meal planning also enables someone to avoid junk food and encourages a consistent healthy diet.

Health and nutrition tips

Planning a healthy diet is the first step to nutritious eating. One cannot easily do this on the go; it takes discipline and small manageable steps. Start by thinking of the diet in terms of color rather than being overly concerned about the amount of calories intake. Fruits and vegetables are very colorful and useful in many recipes making the food more appetizing and palatable. These are the foundation of healthy eating and constitute highly required minerals vitamins and antioxidants

Nutrition improvement begins by making slow changes in one’s eating habits and over time, getting accustomed to eating healthy. These can include measures liking switching from conventional butter to cooking with olive oil. Another very important ingredient in a diet is the use of water and exercise. Water flushes out waste from the system while exercise helps in improving metabolism and increased blood flow to the whole body.

It is important to eat a balanced diet that always includes proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fat for sustainable health and nutrition. One does not have to think of some food as being off limits, however all food should be eaten in moderation and in the right quantities. What one needs to do if they have been eating unhealthy foods, for example salty and sugary foods, is to start reducing the intake slowly. The body gradually adjusts to the new alternative and soon eating healthy becomes a habit.

Starting the day with breakfast, followed by small frequent meals for the rest of the day, is energizing and increases metabolism. Whenever one has the opportunity, they should buy fresh produce from local farmers.

Healthy carbohydrates and whole grains for good nutrition

Carbohydrates and fiber rich foods for nutrition are very important as they give us energy to go through the day. These are available in whole grains and are rich in antioxidants and phyotochemicals, which are helpful in protecting against coronary heart diseases, diabetes and some forms of cancer. They digest more slowly keeping one feeling fuller for longer while keeping insulin and blood sugar levels at a healthy low. However, one needs to differentiate between the good and unhealthy carbohydrates. The good carbohydrates constitute of whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, while unhealthy carbohydrates constitute refined sugars and flour.

Planning quick and easy meals ahead

Healthy nutrition begins with prior planning which begins with a well-stocked kitchen and quick and easy recipes. One can begin by picking a few favorite recipes and schedule weekly meals while using leftovers for other days. Preparing one’s own food is less expensive and healthy. When one goes shopping, shop around the stores perimeter. One is most likely to find healthy ingredients here. Whenever possible, cook over the weekend and freeze the left overs for use during the rest of the week, this goes a long way in improving health and nutrition.

Important Health and Nutrition Information for Aging

Nutrition has a lot to do with aging. Problems with nutrition as people age increase as chronic diseases and impaired organ function damage digestive functions, along with the processing of nutrients. Food may not be absorbed, metabolized, or excreted properly, and the nutrients in the food won’t be absorbed. It is estimated that 80% of senior citizens have a chronic disease. Nutrition can prevent chronic disease and help people recuperate from it.

One factor misunderstood in nutrition is that caloric demands change as we age. We have a higher percentage of body fat, and less lean muscle. The decreased activity that often accompanies aging decreases the calories burned. You have to figure out how to keep up the nutrition while decreasing the calories. To do this, you choose foods that are heavy in nutrients. Protein, for instance, is necessary at all ages, even though it may change because of restrictions.

It’s pretty east to reduce the overall fat intake as we age, and getting no more than 30% of our daily caloric intake is fat. Carbohydrates should, ideally, be about 60% of the calories we consume, with most of those being complex. We also become more tolerant to glucose as we age, and we need to eat fewer refined carbohydrates to ease the stress on our systems. We also need more dietary fiber and plenty of water to maintain the good bowel function. Fiber also helps to keep inflammation down in the intestines. Dietary fiber comes from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes.

One of the most essential considerations is the intake of water. Enough water will help your kidneys function better. Recommendations are for 5 to 8 glasses a day. Often as people age they don’t realize they’re thirsty. They become dehydrated. You should drink before you begin to feel thirsty. Elderly people should have plenty of fluid included in their diets.

Also with age people lose their sense of taste and smell. Often, the only thing an elderly person can taste salt and sugar, and they don’t want food they can’t taste. Also, as people age, they may lose their vision and have impaired cooking. You may not know how to read the prices on food or nutrition labels. You may even forget how to cook, or be afraid to. While these may not be complete losses, they can affect your ability to maintain a healthy diet.

As we age, we also have a change in our needs for electrolytes, potassium, and sodium. These can be affected by the drugs we take for heart problems and other chronic diseases. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body, but older people often have a deficit in this. You may get a vitamin D deficiency since you don’t take as many dairy products, or get vitamin A toxicity. So, maintain a wide selection of items in your diet, especially of foods with a lot of calcium in them.

The War On The War On Carbs

For those that love carbs, you’ve been taking a beating lately. Don’t eat carbs, they make you gain weight say the “experts”. Lately, there has been a complete war on carbs and as someone who loves their carbs… it’s time to start a war on the “war on carbs”

Carbs are essential, there’s just no getting around it. Whether your goal is to lose weight or increase sport performance, you’ll just do yourself a disservice if you abandon our friend the carb. For all high intensity, short duration activities, muscle glycogen is the source of energy and muscle glycogen comes from… carbs. Even endurance activities of moderate intensity use glycogen as 50% of your energy needs. In fact, the one limiting factor on your sport performance will be the lack of availability of carbohydrates. Even during low intensity exercise when your body uses a higher percentage of fat as its fuel source, it takes a good supply of carbohydrates to fuel that process. Ever play a sport or involve yourself in a high intensity workout program and you hit the proverbial “wall”… that’s because your body has a lowered supply of glycogen EVEN THOUGH your body has a great supply of fat. Want to perform better… eat your carbs.

What if you want to lose weight; surely you need to decrease your carb intake. After-all, carbs MAKE you fat right? Carbohydrates provide you with variety, necessary nutrients and volume to your diet.

Recommended ranges for carb intake is between 45-65% of your total intake. Weight loss occurs when there is a calorie deficit and not a particular macronutrient profile.

Weight loss occurring on low-carb diets is generally attributed to 2 things… a lower overall calorie intake and loss of body mass. Ever start a diet that restricts your carb intake and seen great results in the beginning weeks? Lower carbs mean lower muscle glycogen stores. For every gram of glucose lost through glycogen you also lose 2.7 grams of water with it. This loss of glycogen combined with water loss is the contributing factor in the initial big losses seen.

Some studies you will read (actually the newspaper headlines you will read… very few read the actual studies) will tell you that we are gaining weight faster than ever even though our fat intake is down. This is partially true. The PERCENTAGE of fat intake in our total diet is down but the actual grams of fat consumed is unchanged all while the total calories consumed in our diets has increased. As well, most studies rely on self-reporting and people generally report eating less than they actually do.

Consider in the 1900’s the typical diet had a higher intake of carbohydrates and a lower intake from fat. Even though our dreaded enemy the carb was consumed at a greater rate, we have only seen the rise of weight issues in the past few decades. In short, the increase in the rise of weight gain we see as a society is largely due to increased calorie and decreased activity.

So, here’s what is so good about carbs:

1. They provide nutrients that you can’t get from fat or protein
2. Adds bulk to your diet
3. Stabilizes blood sugar levels
4. An adequate supply of carbs in your diet spares your body from turning to protein as an energy source meaning that protein can do its job.
5. It’s the body’s preferred energy source
6. Your brain only uses carbs as its energy source
7. You need carbs in order to fuel the process of fat burning

All this doesn’t mean run out for a dozen donuts. Select good choices of veggies, fruit, whole grains… eat ’em up… yum!

Losing weight doesn’t have to be so complicated. Like they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat and there is more than one way to lose weight. Don’t let your fitness plan be swayed daily by the changing tides of news headlines.

Spring Forward With Fruits and Vegetables

Now that you’ve finished up the big meal from the Spring holiday, let’s get the folks who strayed from their best laid “healthy” eating plan back on track. In this season of fresh tender vegetables and richly flavored fruits, these food groups come with plenty of the right stuff. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables are an aid in maintaining good health. A produce-filled diet can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower the risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help you monitor your appetite and avoid overeating.

According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only one out of ten Americans eats enough fruits and vegetables. Consumption varies throughout the country, however all regions fall short of recommended goals. The federal recommendation for fruit is 1-1/2 to 2 cups a day while vegetables weigh in at 2 to 3 cups daily. How much is enough? If you eat one banana and one-half apple, you’ve met your fruit goal. You can knock out the veggie recommendations by adding a side salad or slaw with lunch and two vegetables with dinner. It is easy and this is the season when we start to see more of the fresh items that have been out of season. Although most fresh produce can be found year ’round, the price is generally better when they’re in season. And remember you can use canned, frozen or dried produce e to eat the amounts recommended each day.

In addition to the perennial favorites of asparagus, artichokes, chives, strawberries and grapefruit, I’m sharing information on in-season choices that may not be top-of-mind. One of my goals is to share options and encourage you to eat from a variety of foods to make a colorful plate.

New Potatoes are often red-skinned, small and freshly harvested. You can find them in the market April to July. They retain their shape when cooking and are a sweeter potato because their sugar content is not converted to starch yet. They are a good source of Vitamin C, and low in fat and calories. They also contain antioxidants which can help prevent hypertension and protect against heart disease and cancer.

Snap Peas are in the legume family. They are in the market March to June. The crisp pea pods do not require shucking before cooking and are a wealth of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to both bone and heart health. They contain Vitamins A, C, B6, folate and vitamin K. These peas are low in calories and are a source of fiber.

Cara Cara Oranges are available December through April. These sweet and tangy oranges are seedless which makes them very easy to use as a snack or in salads. They are high in vitamin C with a reddish-pink flesh. The flavor is similar to strawberries and cranberries.

Kumquats are miniature oval-shaped oranges, which have a thin sweet skin that can be eaten. They also contain seeds which you will want to avoid because they are bitter; remove them before eating or cooking. They’re available January to June and make a great snack or addition to breads and muffins. This bite-size citrus is a good source of dietary fiber; vitamins C and A. Eight whole kumquats contain just 18 calories.

As you increase the fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, consider these foods and try new varieties found at the supermarket. As you try new items, think of them as samples-you just may like them enough to add to your menu often.