Healthy eating provides the proper nutrient foundation for cellular growth as well as the energy you need to fully function in a hectic world.
- You read so many conflicting things about a proper diet, how do you ensure you make the right healthy eating choices?
- Would you like to feel great, have lots of energy and be able to accomplish more the things you desire?
- How can the foods you choose “turn back the clock” on the normal degradation that occurs with an aging body?
This is all possible when you are in control of your health, nourish your body and approach life with vigor.
When you select foods that improve your health and avoid the ones that raise your risk of illness such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer you demonstrate stewardship of your health. This perception of control aids your mental well-being as well as the physiological health of your body. A Healthy Balance for your entire body at all levels.
What are healthy foods?
The word food traces back to an olde English term which means to foster, to nourish and to encourage growth. Healthy foods do this well while unhealthy foods contribute to illness.
There are literally thousands of different foods that humans eat and each contains at least some positive nutrients. What makes one “healthier” than others? We believe there are two characteristics that contribute to healthy eating.
First is nutrient density. Density compares the quantity and breadth of nutrients a specific food provides against its caloric content. Higher density is better.
And just as critical is the nutrient availability of the food as you eat it. In other words, if processing, storage or cooking destroys some of the nutrients, the food may no longer remain as healthy as it was in its raw state.
Some foods are a fountain of nutrients, others are empty calories. Healthy eating implies making better food choices.
The second qualification of healthy foods are lack of ingredients that inhibit health. For example, French fries may taste delicious, however, when laden with saturated trans fats and salt, even the positive nutrients of the potatoes are overwhelmed.
Daily nutritional guidelines
Learning about daily nutritional guidelines from the USDA food pyramid can provide helpful insights to selecting the right balance of healthy foods.
While the food pyramid is informative, we believe an important element of healthy eating is proper size portions and variety. There are some general guidelines that ensure you are filling your plate properly:
- 30% fruits and vegetables
- 30% bread, pasta, rice or potatoes
- 15% meats, fish or beans
- 15% milk and dairy
- 10% fat and sugary foods
Men verses women
As well, we believe to be fully informed about basic nutrition you need to understand the different nutrient requirements of male versus female bodies. What is good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander.
Discover some of the key differences in nutritional requirements of men versus women.
Why raw foods are better for you than processed foods
Whole natural foods include all of the nutrients and phytonutrients intrinsic to the plant or animal from which the food was derived. They offer delicious flavors, vibrant colors and rich textures just as they occur in nature. Healthy eating.
On the other hand, processed foods have many of their phytonutrients removed or destroyed during their manufacture. Some nutrients may be added back in fortification, however, many of these come from synthetic sources which may be chemically similar but because they don’t include all the micronutrients they may not provide bioavailability to the body. And often artificial ingredients are added for flavor, color and texture enhancement.
We think Mother Nature knows best. Intuitively she knows A Healthy Balance of nutrients.
For example, consider whole grain bread versus white bread. Whole grain means it contains all three parts of the natural grain: the germ (sprouting part), the endosperm (the starch that fuels the sprout) and the bran (protective encasement). Processed white flour contains only the starch.
In nature to promote growth of grain plants, the germ is rich in micronutrients to support the young sprout and contains many vitamins while the bran provides different nutrients that help protect the fragile plant from its environment. The bran contains over 60% of the minerals in the grain and is very high in fiber. In contrast, while the starch is energy rich (high in calories), it contains few vitamins or minerals.
Therefore, whole grain breads are nutrient dense compared to white bread. The calories are about the same….however the nutrition is not.
Learn more about food nutrition and how it is the key to healthy eating.
A healthy digestive system is critical to get the most out of the foods you eat
It’s one thing to eat the proper foods; it’s something else entirely to benefit from all the goodness in the foods that you consume. Reading the following information and working with a nutritionist can ensure that your diet is contributing toward optimal health.
Discover a simple explanation of how you digest foods and how to maintain digestive health.
Guidelines for healthy eating
Once you decide to take control of your diet in ways that fully nourish your body, food choices become easy to follow:
- Balance your food consumption with the calories you expend.
- Consume a wide variety of healthy foods to enhance the percentage of nutrients from food and require less from supplementation to achieve nutritional balance.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, lean meat, and fish as the main components of your diet. Your diet will be full of a rich variety of nutrients that promote optimal health and energy.
- Rather than use hydrogenated oils (trans fats) in cooking, choose a monounsaturated fat like olive oil. This reduces your risks of cardiovascular disease and eases digestion.
- Choose lean meats to get more protein and less saturated fat. This provides all the building block amino acids a healthy body needs with far fewer calories.
- Substitute fat free dairy products as alternatives to whole milk or cheese. You get the same vital nutrients with less saturated fat.
- Consume salmon, tuna walnuts or flax seeds to provide omega 3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy.
- Avoid choosing highly refined foods such as white breads/pasta/rice. These have had key nutrients removed during processing. We think whole grains have better flavor as well as distinctive textures.
- Keep meal portions moderate. Most Americans consume too much at each meal. For digestive health, it is preferred to have five or six “mini” meals than two very heavy ones.
- Drink lots of water. Water helps hydrate our cells (which are almost 80% water) and flush our systems of waste products and toxins.
Food nutrition myths
Many times the things we think we know are not true. To gain control of your health and achieve well-being, you need proper information. The following links you to a number of common misconceptions about food nutrition, weight loss and dietary requirements.
Click here to discover how some things you may believe about food nutrition are not accurate.
Understanding nutritional labels and claims on packaged foods
Now that you have a better understanding of what healthy eating is all about, how do you ensure you are making wise choices at the grocery store?
Click here to gain insights on food labels and nutritional claims on packaged products.
To develop your own healthy eating plan with the aid of a nutritionist, call Gale.
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Additional resources: For additional information specifically directed to women's dieting and exercise, please check out the information and insights on this website.