Proper nutrition – for a healthy lifestyle: rules for composing a balanced diet

“You eat what you eat” – about the meaning of this winged phrase of Hippocrates, as well as about the direct influence of the quality of nutrition on health has not thought about the only person who is completely indifferent to his way of life. Even ardent fans of fast food in the depths of their souls realize that the diet would be nice to change …

In a healthy body – a healthy mind: why it’s important to follow the rules of healthy eating

The human body gets almost all the necessary substances through food and water. The composition and properties of food directly affect health, physical development, ability to work, emotional state and, in general, the quality and duration of life. It is difficult to find another factor that has such a serious impact on the human body.

A side note

According to some scientists, 50% of physical health depends on lifestyle, which includes the nature of human nutrition. Heredity and the environment account for 20% each, and only 10% is the level of medical care.

All the vital functions of the body are related to nutrition. It is the source of tissue and cell development, their constant renewal, saturation of a person with energy. Incorrect nutrition, whether excessive or insufficient, can cause significant damage to human health at any age. This is expressed in a decrease in the level of physical and mental development, rapid fatigability, inability to resist the adverse environmental factors, reduced efficiency, and even premature aging and reduced life expectancy. By the way, every woman who looks after herself knows that the condition of her skin directly depends on the condition of the digestive system, in particular the intestines, and therefore on a healthy diet.

But what is the right way to eat? There are many theories on this subject, and new ones appear almost every day. Someone advocates the complete renunciation of meat, someone proclaims raw food as a panacea for all diseases and troubles, and someone develops combinations of products that supposedly allow the body to achieve complete nutritional harmony. In fact, any dietary restrictions can hardly be considered healthy and acceptable for everyone. The human body is a very complex system; it requires both meat and plant foods to function properly. Lack of nutrients found in meat, such as high bioavailability iron, can cause serious health problems. Proper nutrition is not about controlling calories and rigid diets, but about providing the body with a complete diet, which includes all the necessary foods for it: meat, cereals, vegetables and fruits. Selection of the diet – one of the main tasks in good nutrition, but no less important is to follow it every day. If you follow the basic rules of healthy eating not from time to time, but constantly, you don’t have to worry about excess weight, reduced immunity, problems with hair, skin and health in general.

The principles of healthy eating: everyone should know it!

Where to begin? First of all, with a firm decision to eat right. Here are some simple rules that almost all modern nutrition science relies on and that will help you quickly master the principles of a healthy diet.

Diet

Rule #1. Forget about fast food forever and try not to abuse sweets.

Rule #2. Eat as much seasonal food as possible-they contain the maximum nutrients. Winter vegetables and fruits, grown in greenhouses or brought from far away, because of the treatment with chemicals and long storage, not only lose all the benefits, but also become accumulators of nitrates and other harmful chemical compounds.

Rule #3. Limit as much as possible the consumption of refined products: sugar, vegetable oil, white wheat flour, refined white rice. They have no fiber, which is very important for the digestive tract, as well as to feed the beneficial bacteria living in the intestines. That is why it is much better to eat whole grain bread instead of white bread, and replace refined sugar with brown sugar or even honey.

Rule #4. Drink water. Tea, coffee and juices are no substitute for water. The body needs at least 30-35 ml of liquid per 1 kg of weight per day. Sweet sodas are completely forbidden, they contain too much sugar.

Rule #5. Do not forget about protein food. They can give a long-term feeling of fullness and are also rich in amino acids. Protein is needed by the body to build muscle tissue and to replace worn-out cells. Protein-rich foods include different kinds of meat, fish, squid, shrimp, nuts, mushrooms, some legumes, eggs, and cottage cheese.

Cooking

Rule #1. Use several types of vegetable oil for cooking. This is the best source of the fatty acids the body needs. It is very good to have several bottles of different oils in the kitchen at all times: olive oil, sesame oil, linseed oil, walnut oil, and pine nut oil. Remember that unrefined oils are not suitable for heat treatment.

Rule #2. Cook properly. It is possible to preserve all the nutrients in the products with minimal heat treatment. It is recommended to boil pasta or cereals for just a few minutes. By the way, the classic Italian pasta should always be slightly undercooked and dressed with vegetable oil. The meat and fish products should always be heat-treated, because they may contain parasites. But in this case it is better to refuse frying in oil, the best way is to boil, bake in the oven and steam cooking.

Rule #3. Use natural and fresh products for cooking. Any semi-finished or storable product with preservatives, flavor enhancers and coloring agents increases the load on the body, prevents the excretion of toxins and slows down the metabolism. A piece of chicken baked in the oven is many times healthier than the highest quality and most expensive sausage from the store.

Mode

Rule #1. Always keep to your eating habits. Infrequent meals are harmful, as well as constant snacking and the habit of chewing something all the time. It is optimal for a healthy person to eat 4-5 times a day, the interval between meals of more than 5 hours slows down the metabolism and forces the body to shift to economy mode. As a result, fat deposits begin to accumulate. Try not to snack at the workplace or at the TV. The process of food consumption in this case becomes uncontrollable, not satiety, but overeating.

Rule #2. Eat some fresh fruits and vegetables daily. The recommended amount is 300 grams of each. This way you will get all the vitamins and fiber you need. It is very convenient to take a pre-cut apple or pear, cucumber or carrot sticks with you to work.

Of course, it is very difficult to immediately and completely change your habits and give up a delicious cake with a cup of strong coffee. It may require a great strain of willpower and lead to stress. So once in a while you can allow yourself and a sandwich with sausage, and a cake. The main thing is that it does not become a daily food.

Recommended foods: tasty and healthy

All foods that people eat can be divided into “useful” and “harmful”. The useful products should be included in the diet every day: they are rich in amino acids, vitamins, micro- and macro-elements, fatty acids and fiber. At the same time they are easily digested, do not slow down metabolism and do not have a harmful effect on health. Such products traditionally include the following:

Fresh berries, fruits and vegetables (vitamin C, fiber).

Cereals and cereals made from them (vitamins B, E, magnesium, potassium, folic acid).

Dried fruits and nuts (vitamins, fatty acids, protein).

Poultry meat (protein, amino acids, vitamins A, B, E).

Fish and seafood (protein, polyunsaturated acids, vitamins D, E, B12, calcium, phosphorus).

Dairy products: sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt (calcium, protein, amino acids, vitamins D, A, B12, carbohydrates).

Green tea (vitamins, minerals, polyphenols).

Cold-pressed vegetable oils (phospholipids, linoleic and other polyunsaturated acids, vitamins A, D, E).

Honey (vitamins, minerals, glucose, fructose, phytoncides, fast carbohydrates).

Grain bread (fiber, enzymes, amino acids).

The use of these products in the right combinations is what is called a healthy diet, because they bring the body an undeniable benefit and can not only maintain health, but also strengthen it. Dietitians recommend, for example, eating cereals in water in combination with vegetable salads dressed with olive oil. By the way, it is not recommended to combine cucumbers and tomatoes in a salad – sliced cucumbers secrete a special enzyme that destroys the vitamin C contained in tomatoes. Cabbage, asparagus, zucchini, radishes, and cucumbers go well with meat, fish, and poultry. Fruit is best eaten separately, before meals or about an hour afterwards.

Unrecommended foods: unnecessary ballast

But eating healthy foods, we must not forget about the elimination of the diet of “harmful” – those foods that cause the accumulation of fat in the body and metabolic disorders:

Chips, popcorn, crackers, salted nuts.

Alcoholic beverages.

Any semi-finished products and concentrates: mashed potatoes, instant noodles, etc.

Pastries, especially those with high sugar content.

Fried foods.

Prepared sauces, including mayonnaise.

Smoked meats and sausages.

Sweets.

Fast foods.

Juices (except freshly squeezed) and carbonated drinks.

Consumption of sugar and salt is also undesirable. If you really can not give them up completely, you can use honey instead of sugar, and use a minimum of salt, with only a little salt in dishes. Sea salt and pink Himalayan salt have recently become popular, as they contain less sodium chloride and more nutrients.

Calorie Content and Nutritional Balance

It is impossible to design a healthy eating program without determining the caloric content of your diet and calculating the balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates (FU balance). Correctly selected nutrition allows you to have no feelings of hunger and weakness, to provide your body with enough nutrients, to keep weight at the right level and feel great.

In order to calculate the caloric content of the diet, it is necessary to know the permissible norm and the optimal daily amount of calories, as well as to consider the lifestyle: the caloric content of food during active sport activities should be higher than when sitting in the office and the same resting at home in front of the television.

The average daily norm of calories for men is, depending on age and lifestyle, 2000-2400 kcal, for women 1800-2400 kcal. The balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the norm should be as follows:

proteins – 30-40%;

carbohydrates – 40-50%;

fats – 20-25%.

For your information

There are several formulas that can be used to calculate individual calorie requirements. For example, the WHO formula is based on body area, and the Ketch-Macardle formula is based on the percentage of body fat.

Knowing your own numbers and using a calorie table makes it very easy to create a sample menu for the week that includes all the foods your body needs.

Eating regularly: regularity is the key

In good nutrition, the timing of meals should be precise, because only the timely intake of nutrients can compensate for the energy expenditure. For a healthy person, the most rational is four meals a day. It provides an equal load on the digestive system, the food is better digested and assimilated.

At two meals a day, with gaps between meals of 7 hours or more, increases blood cholesterol levels, accumulates fat deposits, reduces the intensity of the thyroid gland. In addition, after a long gap a person can eat a lot of food at once, overfilling the stomach and reducing the mobility of its walls. Stretching the stomach not only negatively affects the quality of digestion, but also raises the diaphragm, interfering with normal cardiac activity. Long interruptions cause the release of a large volume of gastric juice and irritate the gastric mucosa. Too few breaks between meals are also undesirable. There is not enough time for complete digestion in this case, which can lead to disruption of the digestive tract.

A very important factor in organizing a healthy eating system is regularity of meals. A person has a feeling of hunger by a certain time, which triggers the release of gastric juice needed to digest food. When a person does not eat regularly, this reflex goes away. Food enters the stomach, which is not yet ready for the digestive process. As a result, the appetite decreases, and all the food that enters the body is very poorly digested, which causes gastritis, cholecystitis and other diseases.

As practice shows, in order for a person to get used to the chosen dietary regime, it is enough for two or three days.

A sample menu for the day: following the principles of healthy eating

A healthy diet is not only useful, but also delicious. Let us prove this using an example of a one-day menu, made taking into account the caloric content of products and the balance of calories and carbohydrates.

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with mushrooms consisting of one whole egg and two egg whites, a piece of wholemeal bread, chicory with cream – 384 kcal, 25 g of protein, 19 g of fat and 26 g of carbohydrates.

Snack: one banana and a quarter of a bar of dark chocolate – 220 kcal, 4 g of protein, 12 g of fat, 28 g of carbohydrates.

Lunch: vegetable salad and broccoli-cabbage soup with chicken and cream – 327 kcal, 30 g of protein, 14 g of fat, 21 g of carbohydrates.

Afternoon snack: two tangerines and an apple – 174 kcal, 40 g carbohydrates, vitamin C.

Dinner: cod baked with stewed vegetables – 288 kcal, 32 g of protein, 5 g of fat, 3 g of carbohydrates.

At night: a glass of kefir – 76 kcal, 6 g of proteins, 2 g of fats and 8 g of carbohydrates.

With this menu the total calorie intake for the day will be 1470 kcal, proteins – 98 g, fats – 53 g, carbohydrates – 153 g. In addition, the products that make up the dishes have all the necessary vitamins and trace elements.

How to develop healthy eating habits?

According to experts, any habit can be formed in 21 days. The same statement applies to healthy eating. These habits are not difficult to instill, you just need to set a clear goal and not one step back from it. Take note of some useful tips:

Ask yourself a question – why do I want to change my eating habits? The answer should be as specific as possible, and the ultimate goal achievable. For example, lose three pounds, improve your complexion, get rid of heartburn, etc.

Keep a food diary – it helps to correct errors in eating at a time when new habits have not yet taken hold. Today it is very easy to do this: practically in any mobile app store you can find special programs, both paid and free. By installing them on your smartphone, you will be able to control your eating habits. When the need to eat only healthy food and drink enough water appears, you won’t need a diary.

Take your time. Abrupt and complete replacement of habitual “unhealthy” meals with new and healthy ones practically in 100% of cases leads to a breakdown. The diet should be changed gradually, introducing healthy foods in stages.

Give up rigid restrictions. Do not force yourself not to eat after 6 pm, completely eliminate desserts. All these prohibitions lead to stress and rejection of attempts to change habits for the better. For dinner, you can choose a simple and easily digestible food: vegetables, fruit, cottage cheese, chicken eggs, lean fish and white chicken meat. It is better to eat sweets in the first half of the day and in small amounts.

The diet should be varied. Healthy food is not necessarily bland and tasteless. There are many gourmet dishes that are extremely good for the body.

Stop eating out. Before your eating habits have not changed, do not visit cafes and restaurants, there are too many temptations. Preference should be given to homemade food.

Go to the store only on a full stomach. So you will have less chance to buy something harmful in a bright tempting package.

Put a reminder on your phone about water and food intake, and it will be easier for you to stick to your diet.

Find like-minded people – it’s always easier to change something in the company. Very well, if you have the support of family: family dinners, then you will not turn into a test of fortitude.

Do not pay attention to attacks from others, just learn to find decent answers to the comments about your new food preferences. And learn to turn down treats. This is especially true for shared office tea parties with candy and cookies.

Actually, changing your eating habits isn’t that difficult. The small temporary inconveniences caused by it can hardly outweigh the benefits to the body that proper nutrition can give a person.