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Healthy foods - what should you eat?

What should I be eating?

I get this question a lot! The simple answer is everything.

Variety of diet is key to ensuring a balanced blend of macronutrients, nutrients, minerals and fiber within your diet. The main issue is the lack of insights into what contains what and which is best, this is what I am here to debunk for you today.

Firstly, lets talk about macronutrients:

Carbohydrates - in the most simple sense there are 2 forms of carbohydrate; Simple and Complex. Simple carbohydrates are practically sugars and can typically be placed into 2 forms (Glucose and Fructose) and Complex carbohydrates typically can be categorized into Starch and Fiber. Carbohydrates are the body's first source of fuel and can not be forgotten as it is incredibly important in energy output. Glycemic Index (GI) relates to a carbohydrates effect on blood sugar levels - carbohydrates in the form of sugar have a large impact on blood sugar levels (high GI) and complex carbohydrates have a lower and longer sustained impact on blood sugar levels (low GI).

Protein - made of amino acids, protein is the building blocks for muscle and life. Made of 22 different amino acids, the body can only self produce 13 which means the other 9 essential amino acids have to come from external sources - food! Protein has a higher termal effect than either carbs or fats which means the body has to metabolise harder to break down the food which will have positive impacts on fat loss and energy expenditure.

Fats - unfortunately everyone's #1 enemy. You probably won't believe me but certain fats are actually incredibly important to you and I. Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated - any fat with omega 3 or 6 will benefit the body however moderation needs to be maintained as fats hold around twice the amount of calories in comparison to carbs or protein.

So what to eat for these 3 macronutrients:

Carbohydrate:

Broccoli (high in fiber, vitamin C & K and protein)

Beans and peas (high in carbs, fibre and protein)

Oats (low GI profile, high in carbs and high in Manganese)

Protein:

Chicken (high in protein, low in fat and high in Vitamin B6)

Eggs (contain more essential vitamins and minerals per calorie than anything else)

Fish (high in omega 3 & 6)

Fats:

Fish (again high in protein and healthy fats)

Nuts (high in vitamins - also high in calories!)

Oil (Canola oil is #1 blend of omega 6 to 3 ratio)

Now secondly, let's talk Vitamins:

*(sources of vitamins)*

Vitamin A - boosts immune system (carrots, sweet potato and mangoes)

Vitamin B1 - neurological functioning (beef, pork and pasta)

Vitamin B2 - oxygen absorption & red blood cell production (dairy products)

Vitamin B3 - lowers LDL cholesterol (Poultry, fish and whole grains)

Vitamin B5 - helps process carbs, fat & protein (legumes, meat and broccoli)

Vitamin B6 - protein metabolism (potatoes, banana and chicken)

Vitamin B9 - helps blood stream (spinach and broccoli)

Vitamin B12 - helps insulate nerve fibres (fish, and ham)

Vitamin C - boosts immune (citrus fruit and tomatoes)

Vitamin D - bone builder (fish)

Vitamin E - tough on cancer! (vegetable oils and leafy greens)

Vitamin K - key for liver (leafy green vegetables)

Finally, over to minerals:

Calcium - builds bones, helps weight loss (dairy products, broccoli and kale)

Copper - antioxidant (oysters and beans)

Iron - helps transport oxygen (red meat)

Manganese - crucial for digestion (pineapple, brown rice and leafy greens)

Phosphorus - helps bones (Meat and milk)

Potassium - reduces blood pressure (Almonds and spinach)

Selenium - promotes sperm production (Brazil nuts and meat)

Sodium - retains fluids in body (salt)

Zinc - antioxidant and blood circulation (Seafood and meat)

So as you can see, there is not one food (or group) which can provide everything you need for a healthy living. Variety is the spice of life when it comes to nutrition, there are some recurring foods in the above which I suggest should be consumed regularly:

Meats

Nuts

All vegetables

Dairy

Fish

 

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