Benefits of Good Nutrition
Most of us know what healthy eating is about: eating less fried food, using less sugar, balancing the amount of red meat, chicken, and fish we eat and including more fruits and vegetables to our daily diet.
When it comes to having good nutrition, however, too many of us don’t recognise all the benefits of good nutrition and some of the easy principles to apply to achieve this.
Good nutrition – the benefits:
· Reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, some cancers, and osteoporosis
· Reduce high blood pressure
· Lower high cholesterol
· Strengthen your immune system to fight off illness
· Support your mental well-being
· Delay the onset of ageing
· Weight Management
· Improve your ability to recover from illness or injury
· Increase your energy level
What is good nutrition?
Good nutrition means your body gets all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work to its best. To achieve this objective, you should plan your meals and snacks to include nutrient-dense foods that are also low in calories.
How to achieve good nutrition in your diet?
Each food group provides different nutrients and benefits, so eating a balanced diet that includes foods from all five groups is essential. These are the different food groups that you should keep in mind.
1. Whole grains - such as brown rice and bread are forms of carbohydrates, specifically
unrefined carbohydrates. They provide you with energy, healthy fibre, vitamins, minerals
and antioxidants, and aid with digestion.
2. Fruits and vegetables - To get the most nutrients out of your fruits and vegetables, eat them
whole – for example, eat whole fruits instead of having them juiced.
3. Protein - Protein is the primary nutrient responsible for building and repairing muscle tissue
in the body. Animal meat is the most common source of protein, but there are also several
plant-based options to choose from such as nuts and legumes.
4. Dairy - Foods like milk, yoghurt and cheese are great examples of dairy. Dairy products are
rich in important nutrients like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A, D and B12.
5. Fat & Sugar – Dietary fat (such as the kind you get from fish and olive oil) is essential for good
health as they regulate cholesterol levels in your body while promoting healthy cell
Apart from eating foods from the above-mentioned food groups, there are three other healthy eating habits to maintain to keep your nutrition plan on point.
• Keep portion sizes regulated
Managing portion sizes is all about ensuring that you are getting the right amounts of nutrients and calories from your food. Over-eating or under-eating deprives you of nutrients and can affect your weight, so always regulate your meal portions. When buying food, check out the serving sizes on the nutrition labels to see what is determined to be a regular serving and how much it provides in terms of nutrients.
• Prioritise fresh food
Fresh, whole foods are the ones you will derive maximum nutritional benefits from. Always focus on foods in their purest, unprocessed form such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat when possible. If you choose processed alternatives, pick those that have undergone simple changes such as dehydration and flash freezing to minimise nutrient loss. Also, keep an eye on the ingredients list to ensure that you are consuming as little additives with your food as possible.
• Practice healthier seasoning habits
Consider moderating your salt intake with the use of herbs and spices to add a new dimension of flavour to your food. For example, basil, garlic, paprika and cayenne can turn an ordinary chicken breast into a gastronomical delight! Salt is the most common food seasoning used in cooking, but too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and hypertension, particularly with those who are already susceptible to these conditions.