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Health guide

Quick guide to food

As the saying goes "you are what you eat" is absolutely true, each cell in your body is regenerated throughout your lifetime, some every few hours some every week some every month and some yearly or longer. The body utilises the protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals from the food that you eat, using them as building blocks to regenerate itself.

So the better the quality of food that you have the better the building blocks your body will have available to regenerate itself, meaning you will function better and ultimately be healthier.

If your dietary intake consists mainly of fast food, sugar, sweets, artificial foods and artificial colourings/ preservatives, then your body will have extremely poor building blocks to regenerate itself. Leading to poor health, poor function and disease.

Below is a few simple pointers to look out for with each food group-

PROTEIN

The easiest way to remember where a source of protein comes from is, at some point a source of protein had eyes. What I mean by this is that with the exception of legumes and lentils, protein comes from an animal source, such as meat, fish and diary. Examples of these would be:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cheese
  • Milk

The sources of your protein should be very high quality, grass fed meat and/or organic. Consuming organic/ grass fed meat will ensure that the meat you are consuming is not full of hormones and antibiotics, which are used on most mass produced animals.

FATS

Fats are very miss interpreted and they get a lot of bad press, the truth is that we need fats in our diet to be healthy. Depending on the source and the type of the fat, depends on whether the fat is healthy or unhealthy. First let’s talk about the type of the fat, the fat that you want are the omegas these are omega 3, 6 and 9, these are the fats that will keep you healthy, improve your skin and hair, they keep each individual cell in your body healthy and are integral to sustaining a healthy weight. Examples of where these omegas come from are:

  • Organic Eggs
  • Olive oil (or any oil, as long as it is of good quality)
  • Coconut oil
  • Nuts (as long as they are not salted or roasted)
  • Organic meat
  • Supplementation

Most people have an imbalance of their omega 6 and omega 3, with a large bias towards omega 6, so increasing the amount of quality omega 3 in the diet is very important for health and function of the body.

The oils need to be to be keep at room temperature; they should not be cooked in or heated up to high temperatures, as the excess heat turns the fats rancid. The only 2 oils that can be used to cook in are coconut oil and flax seed oil, both of these oils are stable enough to with stand high temperatures and don’t turn rancid when heated.

CARBOHYDRATES

Everything else is a carbohydrate; this is from vegetables to chocolate bars. Now obviously the effect of a chocolate bar and vegetables have a distinct difference on the body, every carbohydrate is eventually broken down into Glucose (sugar) for use as energy, the slower this process happens the healthier the effects on the body will be.

If the carbohydrate is broken down too fast into glucose and there is alot of it, then this causes the body to store the excess glucose (blood sugar) as fat. if this happens time and time again, the bodies response to high blood glucose gets more and more ineffective, leading to health problems, weight gain and disease. To find out just how fast certain carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the body, the GLYCEMIC INDEX has been developed this lists almost ever carbohydrate that you can think of and tells you exactly how fast it will be broken down into glucose compared with ingesting pure glucose (pure glucose has a rating of 100 per 100g), below are some of examples of different carbohydrates:

  • cornflakes 84
  • porridge 46
  • mars bar 65
  • banana 55
  • fanta 68
  • yogurt 33

These glycemic index results for any carbohydrate are only so if the carbohydrate is ingested on its own or with other carbohydrates, if you mix a carbohydrate with either a protein or a fat then its break down into glucose is much slower as it takes longer to digest.

A more accurate index is the glycemic load. The glycemic load takes into consideration the amount of food or portion size that you will actually have per serving of each food for example-

  • watermelon has a high GI of 72 but a low GL of 4
  • cantaloupe has a high GI score of 65 but a low GL score of 4

Looking at the glycemic index alone could be slightly miss leading as shown with the examples above, but when both are used in conjunction with each other they are very useful resources.

Too much sugar in the diet (a diet too high on the glycemic index or glycemic load) is extremely detrimental to your health, it is well documented that a high sugar diet leads to most health problems that exist today, ranging from anything such as high blood pressure, heart conditions, diabetes, cancer and obesity.

Do’s and Dont's

Nutrition dont's

  • Avoid sugar
  • Avoid High glycemic foods
  • Avoid fizzy drinks
  • Avoid grains where possible (pasta, wheat, bread)
  • Avoid fast food
  • Avoid cereals

Nutrition do's

  • have more omega 3
  • have more fresh fruit and vegetables
  • have more organic foods
  • supplement with vitamins and minerals for optimal health
  • drink more water
  • eat smaller snacks or meals every 3-4 hours
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