What should a healthy diet consist of – The perfect balance
Any health expert will tell you that weight loss encompasses two factors. They would include a healthy diet and an effective workout regime. You cannot exercise and just eat whatever you want and expect to get real results. It just doesn’t work that way.
So what should a healthy diet consist of then? Unhealthy eating habits have been known to contribute to many lifestyle diseases. The number one epidemic in America, being Obesity. According to HHS.gov, over 80 million adults and 13 million young individuals are obese.
Of course, the numbers are expected to double or even triple, by 2030. The study continues to state that Americans tend to consume foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt. At least 90% of Americans consume more sodium than is recommended.
All these factors add up and can take a toll on a person’s health. Numerous studies have found that obesity increases the risk of developing other diseases. Such diseases include heart problems and diabetes just to name a few.
Regardless, they are diseases that have the ability to shorten one’s life considerably. Hence, the importance of watching what you consume on a daily basis. Now, what should a healthy diet consists of you may ask? Let us take a look.
A high amount of sodium intake is dangerous to your health. Not only does it lead to high blood pressure, but cancer and osteoporosis. According to the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, sodium increases the probability of stomach cancer.
Despite the above statistics, the body still needs some amount of salt. It works together with other electrolytes such as magnesium and potassium. They work towards stabilizing fluid levels for the body to function normally.
One should try to consume more potassium as compared to sodium. Potassium works to relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.
Other benefits of potassium is that it can reduce muscle cramps plus ensuring the proper growth of muscle tissues and improving the overall health of your bones, due to certain qualities within potassium it can neutralize various acids in the body, which helps in retaining and preserving calcium.
That said, how much sodium should one consume? According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the limit of sodium consumption per day is 1, 500 milligrams.
Protein is an essential component in the normal functioning of the body. So important, that most bodybuilders are advised to increase protein intake, as opposed to carb intake. Protein is made out of amino acids, which contribute to the formation of muscles, bones and so forth.
According to Neil Osterwell, an expert in health, the body needs a good amount of protein on a daily basis. This is because the body does not store protein. Instead, it all gets used up by the body.
According to the U.D Department of Health and Human Services, women should take at least two servings of protein a day. Where as men should consume three servings on a daily basis. Any more than that and you’re going overboard.
A high intake of protein can lead to clogged pores. Hence, it is imperative that you watch your intake. For a woman leading a sedentary lifestyle, you should at least consume 46 grams daily. However, a man ought to consume at least 57 grams on a daily basis. Athletes or individuals that lead an active lifestyle should increase their intake.
Most people try to avoid fat consumption entirely. As much as a high intake of fat is bad for you, you can still consume it. Of course, in limited and recommended amounts.
Our body still needs fat to function properly. They act as insulation, they coat our important organs for protection as well as store energy. According to Stephanie Dutchen, fats also help absorb and store fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and D.
Whenever our body runs out of energy, the body breaks down fats for fuel. That said, not all fats are healthy and should be consumed regularly. Try to avoid trans- fats, as well as saturated fats. They are known to contain high amounts of calories that can impact your health negatively.
Unhealthy fats only increase cholesterol levels in the blood. This then leads to fat- build up on the walls of arteries and other blood vessels. The build-up constricts normal blood flow, leading to high blood pressure.
Healthy sources of fat include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. According to Harvard Medical School, good fats are low in cholesterol and high in Omega- 3 fatty acids. Good sources of healthy fats include olive oil, nuts, fish and even fruits like Avocados.
According to the Institute of Medicine, women should consume at least 35% (2, 000 calories) or less daily. Of course, the amount is influenced by the type of diet one is on, as well as body size. In general, women should consume fewer calories than men.
Men ought to consume at least 3, 000 calories per day.
Carbohydrates are basically fuel that the body can run on. Once we consume them, the body breaks them down into glucose. The body cells then absorb the glucose from the blood, to use as energy.
Hence, our body does need a certain amount of carbs to function properly. There are both healthy and unhealthy sources of carbohydrates. Healthy sources include whole grains such as barley, sweet potato, vegetables and fruits. Unhealthy sources include refined foods such bread, milk, pasta, corn and so forth.
Notice that healthy sources of carbs are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. They tend to contain fewer calories, which is essential for weight loss. Also, imperative if you are trying to maintain your weight.
For example the recommended intake if you eat 2000 calories a day aim for around 225- 325 grams. If you eat 2,500 calories a day, aim for 281 to 406 grams of carbs.
Your diet and choice of foods really matters when it comes to weight loss. Exercise can only help you achieve so much. Complimenting your workout regime with the proper diet would catapult your weight loss journey.
Stock up more on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as opposed to trans- fats. Lessen your sodium intake, table salt that is, but do not completely cut it off. Sodium is still essential to the normal functioning of the body.
In summary, one ought to consume protein, sodium and fats in moderation.