Healthy Diet

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet consists of nutrient-rich foods consumed in the proper amounts based on individual daily caloric needs. In order to fulfill these daily needs, the average adult should consume a diet that consists of at least 50% carbohydrates, 20-30% fats and 15-25% proteins.

Carbohydrates

carbohydrates

According to the National Federation of Personal Trainers, the body needs a minimum of 156 grams of carbohydrates per day for brain function. For a healthy diet, your carbohydrate consumption should be at least 50% of you daily caloric intake. Try to eat complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and brown rice which are all rich in complex carbohydrates and keep you fuller longer.

Carbohydrates are found in a variety of foods including: pasta, breads, fruits, vegetables, and sugar products. There are two types of carbohydrates; simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates (candies, sugar etc) are processed by the body quickly and are used for immediate energy. Eating too much of this type can cause medical conditions such as Hypoglycemia and type II diabetes. Simple sugars also tend to give the body quick boosts of energy followed by a crash (sluggish tired feeling) about 30-60 minutes later.

In order to avoid the above medical conditions and negative feelings, ensure you eat at least one complex carbohydrate every time you eat. Your liver and muscles absorb glucose (processed carbohydrates) slowly into the liver and muscles. Simple sugars are digested into the blood stream rapidly. Too much simple sugars taken in at any time will bypass your muscles and liver and instead will be stored as fat for later use.

Complex carbohydrates take longer for your body to process therefore your liver and muscles have time to absorb them. This is important for muscle energy replenishment and other body processes. If you do not ingest enough carbohydrates, your body will resort to using your body proteins for energy which will prevent muscle growth and may actually decrease your muscle size and strength.

Proteins

proteins

People often think that high protein and low carbohydrate diet is needed in order to lose fat and gain muscle. This is not true. Carbohydrates are needed for muscle energy so protein can be spared for muscle growth. There is plenty of debate over how much protein is needed for a proper diet. A safe bet is to ingest approximately 20-30 grams of protein every few hours.

Main sources of proteins are found in a variety of foods such as meats, nuts, soy, and milk products. Focus on eating lean meats and low fat or non fat dairy for your diet. Lean meats are low in fat and include: chicken, most fish, turkey, pork and certain lean cuts of beef. Remember to trim excess fat off your meats before cooking.

The NFPT also recommends that you include at least 15-25% protein in your diet. You should ingest complete proteins every 3-4 hours to ensure all of the proper amino acids are present for muscle recovery. A diet with plenty of complex carbohydrates and at least 20 grams for protein per meal will provide your body with the ample proteins needed for muscle growth.

Fats

fats

Fats are an important part of a healthy diet, however, you need to consult with your doctor regarding your cholesterol levels. Your cholesterol levels are affected by saturated fats and cholesterol which are often found in fried foods, fast food, meats and dairy products. Make sure you have a good understanding of the proper fats needed for your daily caloric intake.

The typical healthy diet consists of 20-30% fats. Greasy foods are sure signs of fat. They will dramatically increase your fat amount for the day and should be avoided as much as possible. That cheeseburger or fried chicken may look good, but go ahead and enter it into you calorie counter, you will see that it will increase your fat intake up to 40-50% of you daily intake.

You should aim to meet your daily fat requirements through the consumption of healthy fats. These consist of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated which are found in foods such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado, and Omega-3s found in fish and flaxseed.

 

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