Are you eating the right food for your body?

Eating the right food dictates what you look like and how efficient it is, regardless of what you do on the outside

Today’s active, hectic, and at times just plain stressful lifestyle means we are working our bodies harder than ever before, and we expect it to keep up. Yet at the same time we are eating more artificial foods containing E numbers and additives, and less of the natural foods that have sustained us since man began.

Choosing nutrient-rich foods first is a positive and realistic way to think about eating. Eating for nutrition isn’t about the foods you can’t eat, it is about focusing on the food you can, and enjoying them. Select energy giving foods, fare that has repairing properties, and plenty of protein and you will soon feel the results and benefits. Ensure you gain your nutrients from a wide selection of produce, covering all the essential food groups to give your body the nutrition it needs every day to help protect against illness and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Having a good knowledge of the value of the food and drinks you consume, and what they can do for your body is the first step to a better body, mind and healthier lifestyle. 

Found in: wholegrains, eat at least three ounces of cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day.
Great for: the digestive system, your heart health and to reduce cholesterol levels

Found in: baked, broiled or grilled meat and fish, nuts, seeds, peas and beans.
Great for: bone health, muscles, hair, nails, skin and helps to repair tissues in the body. Make sure you trim the fat off any meat to make it as healthy as possible.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
Found in: almonds, avocados, olive oil
Great for: lowering cholesterol, keeping your heart healthy, supplying energy, and serving as carriers for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Avoid fats found in cakes, biscuits, milk chocolate and sweets.

Found in: fruits and vegetables
Great for: reduces the risk of certain health problems such as osteoporosis and aneamia. Eat a variety of fruits, either fresh, canned or dried and vary your veggies. Concentrate on orange and dark green vegetables as they are an important source of potassium to help maintain healthy blood pressure. Make sure you get enough magnesium for healthy bones, muscles and a healthy blood pressure; folate to help the body form healthy red blood cells; vitamin A to keep eyes and skin healthy and protect against infections; vitamin C to help heal cuts and wounds, keep teeth and gums healthy and aid in iron absorption.

Found in: almonds, low-fat cheese, milk or yogurt. If not these, then a milk substitute such as soya or rice, for the same nutrients.
Great for: women in particular to make strong, healthy bones and prevent tooth decay. Watch out for flavoured milks, milkshakes, condensed milk and milk-based energy or malt drinks, because these tend to contain added sugar, which is bad for your teeth and health.

Found in: high-quality steak, poultry, lentils, beans, tofu
Great for: refuelling energy stores, with more iron in your blood you can process more oxygen and burn carbohydrates more efficiently as well as giving you a better circulation. The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers iron deficiency the number one nutritional disorder in the world, as many as 80 per cent of the world’s population may be iron deficient.

Food labelling
One of the most important skills to learn when eating healthily is to read nutritional labels effectively, don’t be fooled by food companies’ radical claims. The Food Standards Agency has strict guidelines on how certain food label terms can be used. These are the most common claims seen on food packages, and what they really mean:
Low calorie – less than 40 calories per serving.
Low cholesterol – less than 20mg of cholesterol and 2g or less of saturated fat per serving.
Reduced – 25 per cent less of the specified nutrient or calories than the usual product.
Good source of – provides at least 10 per cent of the daily value of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.
Calorie free – less than five calories per serving.
Fat free/sugar free – less than 1/2g of fat or sugar per serving.
Low sodium – less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.
High in – provides 20 per cent or more of the daily value of a specified nutrient per serving.
High fibre – five or more grams of fibre per serving.

What to drink?
To be as healthy as possible, water should be your drink of choice – you need between six and eight glasses a day to keep your body hydrated, add cordial for a burst of flavour. Or try drinking cranberry juice – great for helping with urinary tract infections and heart disease. If you find cranberry too tart, then a 150ml glass of orange juice is counted as one of your recommended five fruit and veg a day. Try diluting it with some soda water to reduce the calorie content.

Alcohol is full of calories and has very little nutritional value, it is also a diuretic, meaning it makes the body lose more water than usual. So you need to have more non-alcoholic drinks otherwise it’s easy to get dehydrated.
If you are going to drink have one small glass of high quality red wine. Research has shown this can help your heart, but you shouldn’t exceed two small glasses per day. Heavy drinking can lead to a wide range of health problems, including cancer, liver disease, stroke, high blood pressure and can affect mental health.

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