Your are what you eat…or are you?
Our latest blog offering comes from Neil Elbourne, who is a certified Nutrition Coach and owner of Neil Elbourne Fitness & Nutrition Coaching.
When looking at your dietary intake there should be three primary concerns:
- Body composition
While there is a great deal of foundation in the statement ‘you are what you eat’, in truth you are what you digest, absorb and transfer to your cells as every function of the body happens at a cellular level.
The nutrients contained in foods are crucial to health, however, you should be careful not to become too obsessed with nutrients, and remember that you eat food and the nutrients are delivered as a consequence.
Food is generally made of combinations of macronutrients, micronutrients and water. The macronutrients are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. In our food these macros and micros come in numerous combinations.
We are all aware of the importance of eating a wide range of foodstuffs to ensure that the body gets all of the nutrients it requires for optimal function. However, both deficiencies and an over abundance of certain macros and micros can lead to imbalances and eventually to poor function and disease.
What should we avoid and why?
Processed food should be avoided as much as possible. Highly processed foods are usually stripped of most of their nutrients and have lots of chemicals added to either hold them together and/or extend their shelf life.
- Get into the habit of checking ingredient lists and if there are numerous ingredients/chemical names then this is a sign of poor nutritional value. It also gives you a better chance of choosing the foods that are closest to their original and natural state.
- Be wary of foods that are proclaimed to be healthy, as this is often far from the case. An example of this are foods which proclaim they are low in fat, and while this might be the case they are often loaded with sugar (worse) to make them taste better. Fats should be an essential part of your diet as they are required for many important functions of the body.
What should you fill your plate/glass/cup/stomach with?
I’m sure you have all heard about ‘Super-foods’, but what are they and why are they so important. Basically, super-foods carry a very high density of nutrients, and as a result, should form staple parts of your diet.
- Protein – lean red meats (beef – grass fed best), fish (not farmed), eggs, plain greek yoghurt, whey protein
- Fats – olives/extra virgin olive oil, fish oil, coconut oil, raw unsalted nuts, flax seeds, avacados
- Carbohydrates – quinoa, whole oats, mixed beans
- Fruit and Vegetables – spinach, cruciferous (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), tomatoes, oranges
- Others – green tea, greens supplements
Recommendations to form the basis of your diet
- Eat lots of fresh (or frozen) vegetables and fruit, more vegetables than fruit (5:1)
- Eat protein at every meal
- Carbs should be obtained from unrefined whole grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables
- One essential supplement should be fish oil
- Avoid as much processed food as possible
- Drink lots of water
I hope this gets you started on the right track to a healthy diet, and If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch by leaving a comment below, and I will respond to you as soon as I can.
Neil Elbourne BSc(Hons) Pg Dip