What is a Good Diet?
Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. To be able to choose good food products, and understand if your diet should be supported with supplements, you need to have knowledge of the Basics of Nutrition.
The foundation of a diet is built with four basic nutrient groups. These are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water. All are needed in proper balance for your body to be able to function in its optimum level. A diet also has to provide proper level of vitamins, minerals and micro nutrients.
There are some myths floating around we would like to get straight right from the start.
Everyone has heard the myth; "You have to drink 8 glasses of water every day at least". If you keep drinking water when you are no thirsty you may flush out electrolytes from your body to the point you start having muscle cramps and swelling of various tissues. There needs to be a certain concentration of salts and such in the body so it is able to maintain normal functions starting with adequate stomach acid. So drink when you are thirsty and eat when you are hungry. The body is pretty smart and will for sure let you know what it needs.. who are you listening?
Ditch the Low Fat Diet
Next myth; "You have to avoid eating fatty foods to lose weight". This one is even worse than the water one. The common misconception is that eating fat makes you fat. In reality it is the refined carbohydrates and added sugar in foods that ends up growing the backside and belly. Excessive sugar consumption will trigger several fat storing hormones and forces the liver to pack the extra energy in the fat cells. Fat in the other hand does NOT trigger these fat storing hormones and is pretty much neutral what comes to hormones that store or burn fat.
Drink When You Are Thirsty
70 percent of the body is water. It is involved in every function of the body. An adequate amount depends on your level of activity and physical needs, and it is not necessarily eight 8 ounce glasses every day. Tap water is generally obtained from surface water or from ground water. Most people assume they are getting clean, safe, and healthy drinking water from the kitchen tap. Often this is not the case.
Filter Your Water
The greatest concerns about water quality focus on chlorine, pesticides and parasites. Chlorine has been added to the public water supply for a long time to kill disease causing bacteria. The levels of chlorine in drinking water today can be quite high. Some byproducts of chlorine are known to cause cancer. Also, pesticides are suspected of causing an increasing incidence of cancers, especially breast cancer. The reason for this, as some scientists believe, is that certain pesticides can mimic the action of the estrogen hormone in the body.
You Do Not Need A Fluoride Supplement
Today more than half of the cities in United States fluoridate their water supplies. In many states it is required. Fluoridation of the water supply has become standard because it is believed to help develop strong bones and teeth. So far there is no convincing scientific evidence to support this claim. It is known however, that chronic fluoride use results in numerous health problems including osteoporosis and osteomalacia, and that it also damages teeth leaving them mottled. The naturally occurring form of fluoride, calcium fluoride, is not toxic, but this form of fluoride is not used to fluoridate the water.
Bottled Water is Costly
The salts used to fluoridate the water supply, sodium fluoride and fluorosalicic acid, are industrial byproducts that are never found in nature. These are very toxic, and are also used in rat poison and insecticides. Concern of the safety and health effects of tap water has made many people turn to bottled water.
Limit Simple Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the main source of glucose in blood. Glucose is the major fuel for all cells and the only source for the brain and red blood cells. When there is more glucose in the body than it needs for fuel, part of the remaining portion can be stored in the liver for later use and in the body as fat. Carbohydrates are divided into two groups, simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates include all sugars, like fructose, sucrose (table sugar) and lactose found in dairy products, and several other sugars. Large amounts of simple carbohydrates found in fast food and refined food, can lead to a number of disorders, like hypoglycemia, and diabetes. Food high in refined simple sugars is usually also high in unhealthy fats, which should be limited in a healthy diet.
Increase Fiber Content of Your Diet
Complex carbohydrates are also made up of sugars, but the sugar molecules form longer and more complex chains. Fiber and starches belong in this group. Many vegetables, whole grains, beans, and peas are rich in complex carbohydrates. Most of the fiber is not digested. Fiber in food results in bulkier and softer stool, which will help to keep the colon clean and prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. It binds certain substances in the digestive track, which would otherwise result in the formation of cholesterol. This way it reduces blood cholesterol level and the risk of heart disease. A high fiber diet also reduces the risk of colon cancer. The daily recommended amount of fiber is 25 grams.
Choose Grass Fed and Organic Meats
Protein is essential for growth and development. It is needed for production of hormones, enzymes, antibodies, tissues and energy. There are two groups of dietary protein; complete and incomplete protein. Incomplete proteins are foods which contain some of the essential amino acids, but not all of them. When you combine two incomplete protein foods, you get a high quality complete protein meal. Amino acids are the Building blocks of protein. Amino acids are divided into two groups; essential and nonessential amino acids. Essential amino acids must be included in the diet, and nonessential amino acids can be built by the body from other amino acids.
It is not necessary to get the protein from meat. Because of the high fat content and antibiotics and other chemicals used in raising cattle and poultry, most meat should be eaten in moderation. Most Americans eat too much protein. The recommended amount is about 50 grams protein a day.
Increase Fermented Foods
All soybean products are complete protein foods and best when fermented. The only animal-derived product that could be recommended for frequent use is yogurt, but not the ones that are sold in the supermarket and filled with sugar, artificial sweeteners and colorings. Health stores sell unsweetened natural yogurt, or you can make it yourself and sweeten with natural juices, fruits and berries.
Eat the Fats Your Brain is Craving
Fats are needed for normal brain and nerve tissue development. It is the most concentrated source of energy available for the body. For adults, excessive processed low quality fat intake will lead to obesity and numerous other disorders, like heart disease, high blood pressure, and colon cancer. After about two years of age, the body requires smaller amounts of high quality fat, but during infancy and childhood adequate high quality fat intake is extremely important for normal brain and nerve development.
Ditch Highly Processed Fats
It is clear by now that if your goal is optimal health products with trans-fatty acids should be excluded. This includes hardened vegetable oils (margarine and shortening) and highly processed animal fats. It is more important to eat unprocessed high quality fats than count calories.
RDA of Nutrients May Not Be Enough
Vitamins, minerals and micro nutrients are necessary for good health. The FDA (food and drug administration) has formulated recommended daily allowance (RDA) levels for vitamins. These recommendations are only enough to prevent the deficiency disease, but not enough for maintaining optimal health. Especially people who are suffering from chronic illnesses, under great stress, recovering from surgery, mentally or physically ill, use alcohol, are very active and exercise, will need higher amounts of nutrients.
Always consult your health care provider before following any recommendations, starting a new health program, or making changes to your diet or medication.