Nutrition

Nutritional Therapy

(and why Fats are good for you)

nutrition

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The words 'Diet and Nutrition' are very often associated with obese people and slimming diets. This is however far from realistic; Nutritional Therapy is for everybody, whether ill or healthy. The word Diet simply means your daily food intake and Nutrition means foods.

Many people under-estimate the power of Nutritional therapy and sadly that includes most of the GPs and other health practitioners. They have focussed so much on the heavily sponsored pharmaceutical remedies during their training that they have forgotten that Mother Nature provides us with all the remedies that we ever need in a simple natural form such as foods, minerals, vitamins and herbs.

To illustrate what Nutritional therapy (combined with other therapies) can do, listen to this story: Mrs P (suffering from arthritis) was advised by her GP to have a hip replacement at the age of 75. She didn't like this heavy operation and came to see me. After a deep assessment, I recommended some nutritional changes and supplements for her as well as fortnightly Aromatherapy massage on her legs and arms. Half a year later she was diagnosed diabetic (type 2) and more nutritional changes were introduced. Now, a year later, she walks free of pain and uses no drugs for either condition.

Ever heard the phrase: You are what you eat? Our bodies need what is called 'A balanced diet' every day and this of course is only one element of a healthy Lifestyle. (eg. plenty of exercise, free of toxins and controlled low stress level).

If you haven't recognised yourself in the previous paragraph, then don't panic. Worrying about your diet, weight or your lifestyle will definitely not improve your situation so you better be relaxed about it. I'll try to give as much advice here and on the Hints & Tips page as possible.

Our daily diet must provide our body with the following nutrients:

Nutrient Where found (rich sources)?
Carbohydrates
(CHO) Bread, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit, vegetables
Fats
 Oils, butter, dairy products, meats, fish, nuts, chocolate
Proteins
 Meats, fish, eggs, beans, pulses, soyaproducts, nuts
Vitamins
& Minerals  Fruit, vegetables, Aloe Vera
Water
 try the tap or bucket
Fruits, etc

You've most probably never come across a food that was labelled 'Carbohydrate' or 'Protein' so you may look a bit puzzled now. Unfortunately there is no single food that contains all 5 types of nutrients nor will you likely find a food that solely provides just one of the first 4 nutrients.

Indeed, foods contain an almost random amount of different nutrients and that's why we need a lot of variety in foods every day to make sure that we consume all the proper nutrients. It gets even more complicated when we want to make sure that we get the proper amount of all the different nutrients, in other words a 'Balanced Diet'.

So what is a Balanced Diet? Here are 10 rules to follow:

1) ENJOY YOUR FOOD!
Yes, appreciate what you eat rather than starve yourself

2) Eat a VARIETY of foods.

3) Eat the RIGHT AMOUNT of food to be a healthy weight
That doesn't necessarily mean counting calories..... don't get obsessed with your weight!

4) Eat a sufficient amount of MINERALS and VITAMINS.
You can get this from 5 portions of fruit & vegetables per day.

5) Drink 2 litres of WATER per day

6) Eat plenty of foods rich in STARCH and FIBRE
This means plenty of wholemeal bread, cereals, pasta, rice and potatoes.

7) Eat sufficient PROTEIN to maintain a healthy and strong body
That includes lean meat, fish , eggs, beans and pulses

Limit your intake of SATURATED FATS
Do however eat essential fats like olive oil and oily fish!

9) Limit your intake of REFINED SUGAR and SALT
Yes, that includes table salt & sugar and sweets

10) Limit your intake of ALCOHOL and don't SMOKE !
Sorry, 21/28 units per week is way over the limit !!!

A balanced meal should consist of the following nutrient amounts (in percentage of the total day's energy intake):

Carbohydrates
(4 Kcal / gram)  50 - 55 % (unless you're diabetic)
including 18g Fibre
Protein
(4 Kcal / gram)  15 %
Fats
(9 Kcal / gram) !  30 - 35 %
max 10 - 15% from saturated fats

Sounds complicated, but luckily there are plenty of small booklets available that give clear and good insight in which nutrients are supplied by what foods. I have already listed the main sources and with a little effort you can soon educate yourself sufficiently to make a proper choice in healthy foods!

But what about the FATS ???

You may have noticed that I keep telling you to limit the intake of SATURATED fats (mostly animal and cheap vegetable oil) while I encourage you to eat ESSENTIAL fats (from plants, nuts and oily fish). Other sources, in particular slimming clubs, may have encouraged you to cut out fats completely and stuff yourself with Carbohydrates instead.

My reasons are as follows: A large proportion of your brain is made up from fats. Every day part of your brain cells die and need to be replaced by........... FAT! So if you can still think clearly, it must now be obvious why you need fat in your diet. (Could it be that some slimming clubs are perhaps more interested in your money than your brain.....?)

Certain fats raise your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) that form a threat for your heart and brain while other fats raise your good cholesterol levels (HDL) and thus prevent heart disease and strokes. Essential fats strengthen your immune system (codliver oil), cure arthritis, form good cholesterol and feed the brain so make sure to include them in your daily diet.
By the way, eggs contain more good than bad cholesterol as well as Lecithin that keeps the bad cholesterol fluid so that it cannot stick to the arteries.

So eat 7 eggs and 2 portions of oily fish per week, use plenty of (extra virgin) olive oil in your cooking and supplement your diet with Codliver oil, Evening Primrose, and/or Starflower or Flaxseed oil.
If you then cut down on junkfood, alcohol and refined sugar, you're well on your way to a healthy diet.

Bon Appetit! Don't forget to check out the Food Supplement page to learn more about Vitamins and other little helpers!

 


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