Nutrition for Health
Eating healthy is the most important factor in maintaining good health. Eating the right foods, nutrition for health, can be challenging with todays fast paced life style and with all the choices we have.
Depending on what you are trying to achieve: good health, weight reduction, increase muscle mass or eating for sport it is knowing the right balance of your main nutrient groups that is key. The three food groups are protein, fat and carbohydrate. A good ratio of these is 45-60% from carbohydrate, 10-35% from protein and 20-35% from fat. You can find a more detailed breakdown of ratios depending on what you are trying to achieve here:
Click here: shapescale
Fibre and the 5 to 1 ratio
Maybe one of the most damaging result of eating processed foods is the low fibre content. Increasing your fibre intake is maybe the single most important factor in eating for health. Fibre can be found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. Getting enough dietary fibre will:
- reduce cholesterol
- reduce or stabilise body weight
- improve glucose metabolism
- reduce the risk of diabetes
- reduce blood pressure
- reduce inflammation
We all know that the problem with today’s food is that a lot of what we eat is packaged. Packaged food is most often highly processed and has a low fibre content. To get enough fibre, we should look at the ratio of fibre to carbohydrates. This can be found on the food packaging labelling. The ratio should be one in five – or less. Let’s look at this closer.
When reading packaging for your grocery shopping you can calculate your 5 to 1 fibre ratio by dividing the amount of dietary fibre by the carbohydrates:
dietary fibre divided by carbohydrate = ratio.
You want the ratio to be one in five or more. In other words 20% or more of the fibre to carbohydrate content should be fibre.
Micronutrients are super important to health. These are often the forgotten nutrients, but have important functions for health and prevention of disease. We are talking about vitamins and minerals: Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K, calcium and others.
Living in the northern hemisphere one of the most important and most common deficiencies is vitamin d. Because our skin makes vitamin d from the sun, when there is little to no sunshine, or when we are working long hours indoors we can become deficient. We can easily get enough vitamin d between April and September Click here for more information: (reference 1). Vitamin d has more than a thousand known functions in the human body including immune system and muscle function, healthy bone and tooth health and cognition to mention a few.
Vitamin d is found in a small number of foods:
- Oily fish – salmon, sardines, mackerel and herrings
- Red meat, liver, egg yolks
- Fortified foods
However, even when eating these foods it can still be difficult to get enough vitamin d in the winter months. For adults the current guidelines for winter and autumn is 10 micrograms a day. More details for age groups and others can be found here (Department of Health and Social Care) Click here: link .
It is also worth knowing that vitamin K increases calcium and vitamin d absorption. If you are taking a high dose of vitamin d, taking vitamin k can reduce the risk of hypercalcemia (too much calcium in your blood).
A balanced diet should give you all the nutrients you need.
Eating for health can be challenging with today’s fast paced life. Getting the right amounts of nutrients is important for our health, wellness and rehabilitation from injury. The amount of each macronutrient we need depends on our activity levels and what we are trying to achieve. Planning our daily intake of food can be a useful way to make sure we get the right nutrients. You can talk to your podiatrist about your current eating habits. For a meal plan or more in depth information, talk to a nutritionist or dietitian.
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