HEALTHY AND BALANCED DIET
WHAT IS NUTRITION AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Nutrition is the process by which our body obtains the necessary nutrients for its proper functioning. These nutrients are found in the food we consume, and are divided into macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
Nutrition is important for our health because a balanced and adequate diet provides us with the necessary nutrients to maintain a healthy body and prevent diseases. For example, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, while a diet high in saturated fats can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
In addition, good nutrition is essential to maintain a healthy immune system, which helps us to prevent illnesses and recover more quickly from them. It can also improve our mood and cognitive ability, allowing us to think more clearly and have more energy for our daily activities.
In summary, nutrition is essential for our overall health and well-being. Maintaining a balanced and adequate diet can help us prevent diseases, improve our quality of life, and enjoy a healthier life.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FEEDING AND NUTRITION
- Feding refers to the act of consuming food. It is a physiological process that involves ingesting food to obtain energy and nutrients.
- Nutrition, on the other hand, is the process by which our body processes, absorbs, and utilizes the nutrients present in food to keep us healthy. Nutrition encompasses the digestion, absorption, and metabolism of nutrients and how they affect the body.
In other words, feeding is the act of eating, while nutrition is the process of how the body uses the nutrients present in food to maintain health.
Additionally, feeding focuses on the quantity and type of food consumed, while nutrition focuses on the quality of nutrients present in food and how they affect the health and well-being of the body.
HOW TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY AND BALANCED DIET
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet may seem overwhelming at first, but with some simple and practical tips, you can easily achieve it. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy and balanced diet:
- Incorporate a variety of foods into your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
- Control your meal portions to avoid overeating. Use smaller plates, measure your portions, and eat slowly to allow your body to feel satisfied before continuing to eat.
- Drink enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated and help your body function properly.
- Limit your intake of processed foods and prefer natural and fresh foods. Processed foods can contain high amounts of salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
- Incorporate lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, legumes, and nuts into your meals to keep your body strong and healthy.
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, as they contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are essential for good health.
- Limit your intake of foods high in saturated fats, such as red meat, butter, and cheese. Instead, opt for healthy fats such as those found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
- Avoid foods high in sugar and saturated fats, such as cookies, cakes, and ice cream. Instead, opt for healthier options such as fresh fruits or low-fat yogurt.
By following these simple and practical tips, you can maintain a healthy and balanced diet that will help you stay fit and healthy.
WHAT NUTRIENTS ARE RECOMMENDED TO CONSUME AND HOW OFTEN?
Here’s a list of foods and their suggested frequency to eat in a balanced diet:
- Fruits and vegetables: It is recommended to eat at least 5 servings per day. For example, 1 serving of fruit is equivalent to one medium piece, while a serving of vegetables can be around 80 grams. You can consume different types of fruits and vegetables throughout the week.
- Carbohydrates: It is recommended that carbohydrates make up approximately 50% of daily calories. A serving of complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or wholemeal bread would be approximately 1 cup. You can consume carbohydrates at each main meal.
- Proteins: It is recommended to consume proteins at each meal. A serving of lean protein such as chicken, fish or legumes would be approximately 100 grams. You can consume proteins at each main meal and also as snacks.
- Healthy fats: it is recommended to consume healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, and nuts with moderation. A serving of healthy fats would be around 1 tablespoon of olive oil or 1/4 of an avocado. You can consume healthy fats in every main meal.
- Fluids: it is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and limit the consumption of sugary and alcoholic drinks. You can distribute the recommended amount of water throughout the day and consume sugary and alcoholic drinks with moderation.
It is important to remember that these are just general suggestions and nutritional needs may vary from person to person. If you have questions about your nutritional needs, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional such as a dietitian for specific recommendations for your diet and lifestyle.
TIPS FOR THE NUTRITION OF OLDER ADULTS
- Ensuring adequate nutrient intake: It’s important for older adults to consume nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
- Drinking enough water: Dehydration can be a common problem among older adults, so it’s important to ensure they drink enough water throughout the day.
- Avoiding processed foods: Processed foods are typically high in fats, sugars, and salt, which can be harmful to health. It’s recommended to avoid them and opt for fresh, natural foods instead.
- Consuming enough fibre: Fibre helps regulate the digestive system and prevent constipation, which is a common problem among older adults. It can be found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
- Controlling portion sizes: Older adults often need fewer calories than younger people, so it’s important to control portion sizes to avoid excess calories.
- Ensuring adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D: Calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health, so it’s important for older adults to consume enough foods rich in these nutrients, such as dairy products, fish, and leafy green vegetables.
- Consulting with a healthcare professional: If you have any doubts about the appropriate diet for an older person, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional such as a dietitian or doctor to obtain specific recommendations for their situation.