Do you eat or do you feed?
When sitting at the table to eat we can have two objectives: eat the first thing we have at hand, or try to put food on our plate that helps us meet our nutritional needs and keep us as healthy as possible. Which one do you identify with? It is true that the second option takes a little more effort, especially at the beginning. However, it is very worth opting for this option, since once we implement a diet and some habits we will be betting on our health.
You have probably heard or read that certain diseases depend on both genetic and environmental factors. Well, within the latter, food is the most relevant. If you think about it, it makes all the logic in the world: the food we eat, with its good or bad properties, becomes part of our body. Therefore, before putting anything in your mouth, remember the nutritional advice that we are going to give you.
The recommended daily allowance (CDR)
Our body needs certain amounts of nutrients , which must be part of the diet in a proportionate way: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, etc.
Although the recommended daily amounts of each nutrient are in continuous debate by experts, there are currently consensuses that can guide us about the amount of each type of nutrient that we should incorporate into our diet daily to be healthy. depending on our age and sex.
The recommended daily allowances (CDR) present a practical problem: they are based on nutrient recommendations, so you have to know how to transfer this information to your diet. Luckily, to help us interpret these recommendations we have two tools: nutritional tables and mathematics.
How to use nutrition tables
Nutritional tables usually indicate the amount of nutrients per 100 g of product. For example, in order to determine how much protein a specific food has, we must look for how much it has per 100 g. A chicken fillet of this weight contains 22 g of protein.
It is necessary to clarify an idea: it is common to think that some foods only contain one type of nutrient , however this is a mistaken notion, since it is normal for them to include several. In fact, the 100g chicken fillet that we were talking about before, in addition to protein, also contains carbohydrates (2.30g) and fat (5.2g), therefore we must also add those values.
Although it is not necessary to start counting the exact grams that we ingest of each type of nutrient, it is advisable that, in each meal, we include the different nutritional groups, to ensure a correct intake: carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables should always be present on our plates.
If we want to know the nutritional composition of fresh foods, we have no other option than to go to the nutritional tables. In the case of packaged food we have an element that makes things much easier for us: the label. Therefore, it is important that you review them when you have doubts about a product or want to compare two similar ones.
nutritional tips to improve your health
We know that having to continually refer to nutritional tables and calculations can be cumbersome, so we want to make things easier for you with these 10 nutritional tips .
Following these 10 nutritional tips will help you eat better every day and be healthier. The more you put into practice, the better. But don’t worry, you don’t have to start with all of them at once. You can gradually incorporate them, starting with those that are easiest for you. Your health will thank you!
1. Make vegetables and fruits the protagonists of all your dishes
If a boring menu in which the color green predominates comes to mind, banish this image! Each fruit or vegetable has different qualities and includes different nutrients and antioxidants. The colors of fruits and vegetables —which come from chlorophylls, carotenes and carotenoids, flavones and anthocyanins— are indicators of their different properties and their antioxidants. So now you know, turn your dishes into a festival of color! Below we explain the properties of each shade of fruit and vegetables:
- White: These vegetables contain potassium and antioxidants, which give them antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and protective properties for the circulatory system. You will find them in vegetables such as turnips, leeks, garlic and onions.
- Yellow and orange : the color is due to the presence of carotenes and carotenoids, which are characterized by having a powerful antioxidant effect. They are related to memory improvement, and also reinforce the body’s defenses, contribute to the health of eyesight, skin and mucous membranes. You will benefit from them by eating foods such as carrots, pumpkins or mangoes, among others.
- Reds and purples: the color of these foods is the result of anthocyanins or resveratrol, substances with antioxidant power and associated with an anticancer effect, cardiovascular protection and memory improvement. We can find them in strawberries, pomegranates, raspberries, blackberries, black grapes or blueberries.
- Green : green vegetables are rich in vitamin B9, C, minerals and chlorophyll. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory function. Take advantage of these qualities by eating spinach, chard, peas, avocado, arugula or lamb’s lettuce.
2. Limit red meat in your diet
If vegetables have to be the undisputed protagonist of your dishes, red meat should only make very occasional appearances. As you know, its fame is not very good, since it has been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer. The recommendations on its maximum intake are reviewed periodically, based on the available scientific information. However, it is not about completely eliminating this type of meat. You can eat a hamburger or steak eventually, but it is convenient to replace it in your daily diet with chicken, turkey, or fish.
3. The fruit, better whole or in smoothies
When we eat the whole fruit , we provide our body with both vitamins and fiber. Instead, the latter is lost if we take only the juice, for example by squeezing the oranges or using a blender. In case you get lazy or don’t feel like eating whole fruit when you get up, a great option are smoothies or fruit and vegetable shakes , for many people they are more appetizing in the morning. The truth is that they are delicious! Best of all, with them, you will be ingesting a large amount of nutrients, something essential to start the day in the best way.
Whether you eat the fruit whole or in smoothies -either of the two is a good option- we recommend that you peel it beforehand or, if not, that you buy it organically grown, since nowadays the presence of pesticides is frequent in both fruits and vegetables . in vegetables .
We also encourage you to try adding foods as beneficial as ginger or turmeric to your smoothies . Incorporating them into the Mediterranean diet is complicated, however, they are the ideal complement to your smoothies. Write down this recipe: berries, pineapple, cucumber, spinach, mint, ginger and turmeric. If you try it you will love it! As you can see, this nutritional advice can be delicious.
4. Gradually reduce sugar from your diet
Today many foods contain large amounts of added sugar. For this reason, our palates have become accustomed to the sweet taste and are increasingly demanding it. However, if we progressively reduce it, we will ensure that you do not miss it. And, in this way, we will be doing our health a favor , since the consumption of sugar is related to different pathologies:
- Spikes in blood sugar, which put extra stress on the pancreas and increase the risk of diabetes in the long term
- Alteration of the microbiota or intestinal flora, today we know that a healthy microbiota is key to our defenses and our health in general
- Some studies indicate that there may be a link between sugar consumption and the risk of Alzheimer’s
So now you know, reduce the sugar that you put in your coffee in half or, even better, eliminate it from everything. When it comes to sugar, in general, the less, the better. If you’re having a hard time giving up sweetness, consider using stevia , a naturally-derived, zero-calorie sweetener that can help you enjoy food without the ill effects of sugar.
5. Choose whole grain
Today we have a wide variety of foods made with whole wheat flour, from pasta to pizza dough or bread. In addition to containing fiber, it is more beneficial than refined flour for several reasons:
- Whole wheat flour reduces the absorption of carbohydrates and fats , thus reducing the sudden increase in blood sugar caused by foods with refined flour.
- It serves as food for the good bacteria that we have in our intestinal microbiota , favoring their growth and improving our defenses, our intestinal transit and reducing the risk of colorectal cancer.
Important! We warn you that not all foods whose packaging contains the condition of ” integral ” are. Therefore, it is best that you consult your allies, the labels. They will inform you if it is completely whole grain or if it is a food with refined flour to which cereals have been added.
For example, until very recently “whole wheat” bread could be made with refined flour, as long as cereals such as bran were added later. However, now the legislation has changed and is stricter in this regard. Since July 1, for a bread to be considered integral, it has to be made 100% with flour of this type.
In general, we recommend that whenever you are before a whole food , consult its label. In addition to verifying that it really is, you will be able to detect if it contains preservatives and thus avoid them.
Finally, favoring a varied diet is positive, which is why we recommend that you incorporate different flours. There is life beyond wheat! Have you tried buckwheat, spelled or legume flour?