Eating well is essential for staying healthy . In this articel, you will discover the main principles of diet, basic nutritional needs, how our body assimilates food, the benefits of a good diet, how to eat well, how a consultation with a nutritionist takes place and finally, How to practice these habits.
How to eat well?
The vast majority of food specialists, whether or not they are from the official world, agree on a certain number of principles that can serve as guides, here they are:
A balanced diet: it is advisable to choose foods from the different food groups: vegetables and fruits (half of the plate), cereal products (a quarter of the plate), meats and substitutes (l ‘other quarter), to which we will add a supply of calcium, by consuming dairy products, for example. Thus, your meal will contain: a good dose of carbohydrates, enough protein and little fat.
A varied diet: To achieve the necessary range of nutrients and avoid deficiencies, you must not only eat foods from each food group every day, but several foods from each group.
Fresh and good quality food: a fresh and local diet is recommended. Refined products and hydrogenated fats should be avoided.
Eat in reasonable amounts: Being overweight promotes the development of many diseases, and dramatically reduces life expectancy. A slightly under-calorie diet (but without nutrient deficiency) maintained over the long term may help prevent certain cancers and increase longevity. In addition, it helps limit oxidation and prevent clogging. An example of an adjustment: Systematically reduce portions of high-calorie foods (pasta and rice, for example) by a quarter or a third and replace them with a nutritious, low-calorie food, such as a vegetable.
Tasty food: first and foremost, it is the flavor that determines our food choices. If so many people give up on a diet, it is because it does not give them pleasure. However, the high salt, sugar and fat content of processed foods seems to be more and more appreciated and is even, among young people, becoming the norm. To counterbalance the attraction of these “over-favored” dishes, you have to buy healthy foods that you particularly appreciate and prepare them in a tasty way – using, in particular, herbs, many of which are good. source of nutrients …
Mindful eating: By taking your time and savoring each bite, mindful eating is an effective technique for learning to rediscover the flavors of food, while reducing the proportion of foods absorbed during a meal.
Adopt chrono-nutrition: Chrono-nutrition consists of eating in a certain way according to the different times of the day. For example, it is advisable to eat fatty in the morning, dense at noon and light in the evening. In the long term, this technique helps you regain your healthy weight and improve your health.
Managing your meals: for optimal nutritional intake and to avoid weight gain, it is essential to be organized. Indeed, unbalanced meals are often due to improvisation, which is why it is recommended to plan the content of breakfast the night before and each morning what the meals of the day will consist of.
Be careful with cooking: to preserve all the benefits of food, it is preferable to cook at low temperature below 100 ° C because the high temperature distorts the properties of the food. It is advisable to limit grilling, which contains a lot of free radicals. The microwave is also to be avoided because it denatures the chemical form of food.
Eat well: basic nutritional needs
The basic nutritional needs to know can be divided into two categories that we will develop below: macronutrients (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates) which provide energy, and micronutrients (vitamins, trace elements, etc.), which are essential for the assimilation, processing and proper use of macronutrients.
Proteins are essential for a balanced diet. They help the proper functioning of organs thanks to the amino acids of which they are made: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine. Our cells need these eight essential amino acids, and the lack of just one of these amino acids blocks protein synthesis, which is essential for rebuilding our DNA.
Lipids are the basis of the manufacture of all our cells, our hormonal system, and all of our cell membranes. They provide the energy necessary for the body to function and regulate multiple physiological functions. Omega 3s in food are essential for a good diet. You have to know how to choose your oils with quality fatty acids rich in monounsaturated (olive oil) and polyunsaturated (rapeseed oil) fatty acids.
Carbohydrates are just as essential for providing energy to our body. Foods that are sources of carbohydrate are starchy foods (cereals, legumes, potatoes, rich in starch), green vegetables, sweet products and fresh and dried fruits. The three types of carbohydrates are: simple sugars, complex sugars, and fiber. It’s best to avoid white sugar and brown sugar which are refined and addictive. These are present in sweets, confectionery and sugary drinks.
Today’s food is increasingly poor in micronutrients, because cultivation methods (use of pesticides, fungicides, etc.), food extraction methods (refining, high temperatures), cooking methods ( microwave, frying) and preservation methods destroy these micronutrients. These cannot be manufactured by the body and must therefore be provided by a varied, balanced and good quality diet.
Indispensable to the body, their deficiencies create imbalances which are responsible for a large number of symptoms (inflammation, sleep disorders, memory disorders, mood disorders, digestive disorders). In addition, they protect us from free radicals.
The major antioxidant vitamins are vitamins A E, C, which are contained in fruits, vegetables, green tea …
Vitamin A tones the eye area.
Vitamin C helps the body make collagen, which provides cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of connective tissue. It also has an action on the immune system and is present in the liver, brain and endocrine glands.
Vitamin E contained in vegetable oils plays an important role on the membrane of the intestines, therefore in the digestive process. Powerful antioxidant, it works in synergy with vitamin C.
As for other vitamins, group B vitamins are useful for the nervous system, vitamin D enters into hundreds of functions in the body, vitamin K is essential for normal blood clotting and plays a role in bone consolidation.
Care should be taken not to consume too many grains and legumes, which in large quantities cause maldigestion and block the assimilation of nutrients due to the anti-nutrients they contain (lectins, phytates, saponins, etc.).
Digestion begins in the mouth and is not even completed 2 days later. During this process, countless chemical transformations take place in which various enzymes and several organs collaborate. In addition, many personal characteristics influence the way our body assimilates nutrients: age, state of health, food allergies or intolerances, the amount of fatty tissue, the nutrient reserves in the body, the type work, physical activity, quality of sleep, smoking, emotional and nervous state, time of eating, posture during meals, etc.
The assimilation process is so complex that, for a long time, all kinds of approaches have been recommended that are supposed to better suit our digestive system: vegetarianism, the choice of foods according to one’s blood group, acid-base balance, food combinations, raw food, various diets (Montignac method, Pritikin, Kousmine …), not to mention Chinese dietetics, Ayurvedic food, etc. In addition, public health organizations in most countries publish official food guides that are constantly evolving. But, even today, specialists do not get along with each other and new dietary hypotheses appear regularly.
The benefits of a good diet
The list of benefits of a good diet is long, depending on the environment, the emotions, the source of the food, the cooking method, the physiology of the individual and his ability to assimilate nutrients, among them :
Ensure the acid base balance
As we age, tissues tend to acidify, which in turn demineralizes them. The liver is the most important deacidifying organ. According to most experts, the white sugars found in pastries, sweets, meats, sausages, canned goods, industrial drinks and many other foods are acidifying if abused. This is why it is essential to properly balance your diet with alkalizing foods (such as minerals), and to oxygenate the tissues by practicing physical activity
Some tips can help digestion, such as taking the time to sit down during a meal (avoiding eating in front of the computer or television). Mindful chewing allows the brain to transmit the feeling of satiety, and the digestive system to perform its functions of salivary secretion in order to make crushed food more assimilable.
Protect the intestinal ecosystem (or microbiota)
The intestinal ecosystem requires a nutritional and emotional balance in order to be optimal. It is made up of our intestinal flora, but also “friendly” bacteria, which ensure good digestion, contribute to the immune system and act on multiple functions in the body (appetite, assimilation of nutrients, etc.). In order to multiply, they need fiber, polyphenols, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
Avoid fatigue and food compulsions
Avoiding snacking helps ensure the proper functioning of our biological (circadian) rhythm. This helps regulate blood sugar and the overall metabolism to prevent fatigue and sudden cravings for food.
Preserve our liver with a light and easy-to-digest diet
This therefore consists of limiting foods that are too fatty, overcooked, too sweet, alcohol. Favor a diet devoid of toxics and pollutants which can slow down the metabolism and make it sick.
Fight against certain cancers
Certain foods such as turmeric, green tea, and pepper decrease the risk of developing certain cancers. On the other hand, excessive meat consumption promotes the development of colorectal cancer.
How to eat well?
There are 7 main food families, all essential for a balanced diet:
Meats / fish / eggs
This family contains eggs, cold meats, seafood, meats … These foods provide mainly proteins and lipids as well as certain vitamins essential for the functioning of the nervous system and for the mineralization of the bones (B1, B2, D).
Milk and dairy products
In this family, we find yogurts, cheeses and of course milk. These products provide proteins, lipids, calcium, phosphorus as well as vitamin A, D, B2 and B12. They are therefore mainly involved in the construction of bones. Too high a dose, dairy products can promote the development of prostate cancer.
Fruits and vegetables
Dried fruits, oleaginous, frozen, fresh vegetables … The products of this family are very rich in water, which allows the body to stay hydrated. They provide carbohydrates, vitamins (A and C), calcium as well as dietary fibers, which participate in good digestion.
This family contains the most caloric foods: butter, margarine, oil … They provide energy, vitamins (A, D, E) as well as omega 3 and omega 6.
Sugar and sweet products
Mainly comprising carbohydrates and minerals (magnesium), sugary products provide energy. Even if they provide a lot of pleasure, it should not be abused because they do not have a very important nutritional value.
More than 60% of our bodies are water. It is the basis of a healthy diet because it helps to dilute acids in the body. Good hydration is essential for good physical shape and for cleansing the body. Specialists consider that an adult should drink between 1.5 and 2 liters of water per day, i.e. 4 to 6 glasses of water, light tea, herbal tea, soup, or even more depending on the ambient heat and the activity. physical.
Cereals and starches
Rice, pasta, breads, potatoes … Foods in this category satisfy the feeling of hunger and provide a lot of energy. They contain protein, carbohydrates, magnesium, iron, dietary fiber as well as vitamin B.
Some tips in practice:
It is preferable to consume the fruit outside of meals (ideal 5-6 p.m.) to avoid intestinal fermentation.
Give preference to white bread: in white flour, only the central part of the wheat seed (starch) is preserved. It is therefore preferable to consume bread with semi-complete flour, which contains more vitamins and minerals. Even better, “natural sourdough” bread, which allows better assimilation of food.
Try the Mediterranean diet: it consists mainly of semi-complete or whole grains, olive oil, starches (pasta, rice, potatoes), legumes, green vegetables (5 to 15 varieties), sheep’s or goat’s cheese, fruit and a little butter. Oilseeds (nuts, almonds and hazelnuts), condiments and aromatics (garlic, turmeric, onion, thyme, savory, fine herbs, sweet spices) are added very regularly. Protein is provided mainly by poultry fish eggs and rarely beef or lamb. Very few sweets. The wine is consumed on a regular but moderate basis. The herbal teas are regular, and the coffee exceptional.
The nutrition specialist: nutritionist, naturopath or doctor
The nutrition specialist can be a naturopath, nutritionist or doctor.
How is an appointment with a nutritionist?
Although basic nutritional needs are similar for all humans, an optimal diet will differ for each person and the ideal diet does not exist. Given the real complexity of nutrition data, it can therefore be useful for most of us to periodically consult a competent person, able to determine our needs and guide us in the best nutritional choices.
This is the role of the nutritionist and the naturopath. As far as naturopathy is concerned, this practice aims above all to stimulate the body’s natural self-healing mechanisms. First, the specialist will need to find out where his patient’s problem is coming from. First of all, he will therefore administer a questionnaire to his patient in order to know his history (anamnesis), his antecedents (the field, childhood), his lifestyle and his eating habits. Second, he will precisely identify the signs and set up the follow-up program. Wise advice, personalized and based on natural means can generally resolve the patient’s problem.
Become an expert in nutrition
Nutrition experts who have received university training and who are part of a professional order bear the reserved title of nutritionist, dietitian or dietitian (the name varies depending on the country). However, other health professionals, such as naturopaths, have very good knowledge on the subject. In fact, naturopathic training includes courses in medicine, anatomy and biology.
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