There is no shortage of information available about nutrition and healthy eating, yet each source seems to be promoting a different school of thought – or even their own nutritional system and products.
There’s good reason why there are so many books and articles about good nutrition that provide conflicting information. Your specific nutritional needs are specific to your age, goals, lifestyle, activity level, overall health and any health conditions or allergies you may have. Healthy nutrition is not one size fits all, and a diet that’s best for someone else may not provide your body with the nutrition it needs.
Who should you listen to for solid advice about nutrition?
A professional nutritionist can best evaluate your health and food choices and make the correct recommendations for your unique nutritional needs.
Basic Nutrition Advice
While nutritional requirements vary from person to person, there are several rules of thumb that apply to nearly everyone.
In general, most healthy eating plans limit or eliminate simple carbohydrates. This is what is meant when someone says they avoid white foods. Sugar, potatoes, breads and rice are usually items to avoid most of the time. Simple carbohydrates become body fat if not immediately used for fuel. When choosing healthy carbs, consider wild rice, oatmeal or beans. These digest slower and help keep insulin levels low.
Most people are also encouraged to limit or eliminate fried foods, as they are very high calorie and high fat and usually have a very limited nutritional value. Healthy fats found in nuts, fish and olives are a much better alternative.
Another thing everyone should avoid is sodium nitrate. Sodium nitrate is used in processed meats as a preservative and in excess can cause heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Protein and Fiber
Incorporate plenty of fiber and protein into your eating plan. Whole grains, fruits, leafy greens and vegetables are a healthy way to get your daily fiber requirements, while lean meats, fish, beans and nuts are great choices for protein.
Everyone should stay well hydrated by drinking fresh water throughout the day, especially before and after physical exertion.
Specialized Nutrition Plans
We’ve all seen or heard of bodybuilders who drink raw eggs for the protein and healthy fats. While someone who is not focused on building muscle mass probably wouldn’t be advised to consume two dozen raw eggs a day, in the bodybuilder’s nutrition plan, it fits.
People who are recovering from illnesses and injuries may also have a specialized diet to replenish needed nutrients. Food can be used as medicine when the medical issue involves nutrition.
Likewise, the elderly may benefit from working with a nutritionist to make sure all dietary needs are met and learn about superfoods that may help boost memory and ward off symptoms of conditions like dementia.
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