Nutrition is often an overlooked part of our everyday life. However, it can have a huge bearing on our overall health.
With almost one third of all UK adults classified as obese, never has our nutrition had such a significance with regards to our physical wellbeing and mental health. But what exactly is nutrition? And how does poor nutrition affect us?
What is Nutrition?
The World Health Organisation defines nutrition as, “the intake of food, considered in relation to the body’s dietary needs”.
In other words, a well-balanced diet combined with enough regular exercise to burn what we consume.
Poor nutrition can increase your susceptibility to disease, weaken your immune system, impair both your physical and mental development, and lastly, reduce productivity in the workplace.
Therefore, it’s critical that you pay attention to what you’re putting into your body at each and every meal time. A healthy diet is the cornerstone to any plan to improve nutrition.
What is A Healthy Diet?
A healthy and balanced diet consists or consuming a wide variety of food and drink in the right amounts, so as to maintain a healthy body weight.
In terms of specific food groups, you should focus on eating a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and other well-known superfoods, whilst monitoring your intake levels of saturated fat, salt and sugar.
Too much of the latter can lead to serious health problems such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
One specific diet that has a lot of evidence to advocate its effectiveness is the Mediterranean diet. Based on the dietary habits of those living in southern European countries, it has an emphasis on plant-based foods, olive oil, fish, poultry, beans and grains.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed that those who followed a Mediterranean diet had a 25% lower risk of death from any cause. Another study proved the Mediterranean diet to reduce the chance of suffering a heart attack or dying as a result of heart disease by 72%.
But a good diet isn’t just about what you eat, it’s also about ensuring you consume correct portion sizes and reviewing what times of the day you eat.
How Much Should We Eat and When?
When thinking about nutrition, it’s imperative to remember that how much you eat is almost as important as what you eat. Over-eating will lead to weight gain and other related health issues, whilst under-eating can equally cause serious wellbeing problems.
Healthy diets should provide us with the correct amount of energy (measured in calories), so that we maintain what’s known as an energy balance. This is where the calories you consume are roughly equal to those that you burn through your everyday activities and exercise.
Generally, these energy amounts have been agreed to come in at roughly 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 calories for men in order to maintain that balance. It’s important not to stray too far either side of those figures, to remain at a healthy weight.
But it’s not only the calorific content of food and drink that you need to be mindful of.
Recent investigations into the timing of our meals has indicated that the timing of our meals has a bearing on our health too.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that participants who ate later between 12noon – 11pm saw their levels of insulin, glucose, and insulin increase when compared to the control group who ate between 8am and 7pm. What’s more, the same group experienced weight gains as a result of their later eating.
Nutrition is More Than Just What We Eat
As you can see, nutrition looks at the bigger picture when it comes to food, drink and exercise. With good nutrition your body can maintain its energy balance, and ensure you remain at a healthy weight.
Whilst it’s important to try and stick to a well-balanced and healthy diet (such as the Mediterranean diet), it’s just as vital that you pay attention to how much you eat as well as the time of day you are consuming your meals.
Drinks need extra attention, since many soft drinks contain dangerous levels of sugar.
If you find yourself needing extra motivation to make the right nutritional choices, why not download the DocHQ app and access hundreds of discounts on healthy products provided by well-known brands such as Graze or Bulk Powders?
Alternatively, if you think you are suffering from any symptoms associated with nutritional deficiencies, you can use our symptom checker to gain more accurate information concerning your ailments. Download the App from Google play or the App store.
You may also be interested in further blogs to learn about Cholesterol, the importance or pro and prebiotics, how to protect yourself from Lyme Disease or help you spot the signs of poor mental health. Visit our blog.
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