Everyday there are articles in the press about nutrition and lifestyle preventing or causing diseases. Often, these relate to a specific food or food group but the advice given is frequently conflicting with other media reports. One day dark chocolate helps prevent heart disease and the next it causes something else. So what exactly is a healthy balanced diet and why is nutrition so important?
A healthy balanced diet has been proven to help prevent cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes and certain cancers as well as being important for general wellbeing and mental health.
Fat is often seen as the cause of our obesity epidemic but, sugar can be just as much a cause. An excess of anything within the body is stored as fat so whether you are eating too many carbohydrates or too much fat, it is ultimately stored as fat. Both food groups are important in the diet as they contain vitamins needed by the body. Fat contains vitamin A which is essential within the body. A fat containing foods also have vitamin D. Fat also keeps you feeling full so if you are trying to lose weight, eating some fat in your diet is important to stop you being hungry all the time. Fat from meat, fish and poultry is much less harmful than that in cakes, biscuits and processed foods so try to eat less of those foods and more meat and fish.
Carbohydrates are often given bad press and many people avoid them because they believe it is them which cause weight gain. Carbohydrates as such do not cause weight gain however, it depends which type of carbohydrates you eat and how much. Low GI carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, pasta, rice and some fruits and vegetables release energy slowly and therefore cause a smaller rise in blood sugar. These carbohydrates keep you feeling fuller for longer and require less insulin production as the blood sugar rise in smaller. Eat more of this type of carbohydrates than high GI carbohydrates to keep blood sugar stables and prevent hunger pangs between meals.
High GI carbohydrates are foods which contain larger amounts of sugar such as cakes, biscuits and white varieties of bread, pasta and rice. There are also some fruits which fall into this category however, fruits contain important vitamins and natural sugar as opposed to processed in other foods. High GI foods cause rapid rises and falls in blood sugar which often leads to hunger, tiredness and mood swings. It is these carbohydrates which should be avoided and consumed in small quantities.
Protein is essential for the growth and repair of cells and muscles within the body. However, in the UK, protein deficiency is almost unheard of as small amounts are found in a large variety of foods other than meat, fish and vegetarian sources such as pulses and lentils. Red meat is a great source of iron especially for women and is not high fat as often reported. Removing visible fat and skin from meat and poultry helps reduce the fat content further. Try to include at least 1 portion of oily fish per week as it is great source of omega 3 which has many health benefits for the brain, heart health and others which are still being researched.
Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals needed by the body to support the immune system, for skin and hair growth and health and many other functions within the body. The also contain fibre which is important for bowel health as it helps prevent constipation which can lead to diverticular disease (pouches within the intestines) and ultimately bowel cancer. Eating 5 a day can help protect you from diseased such as bowel cancer.
Wise Choice Nutrition was set up in 2010 by Hannah Bailey, a Sheffield Hallam graduate of Public Health Nutrition. Hannah is a member of the Nutrition Society and registered as an Associate Public Health Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition. Hannah’s interest in good food and healthy living fuelled her passion for the business. From a young age she has enjoyed cooking and studied Food Technology until A Level completing many different projects such as different breads and flour work and healthy ready meal development.
Her motto of “ways to have your cake and eat it” sums up the principle of the business, having a treat within a healthy balanced diet is important. Wise Choice Nutrition offers people a realistic and sensible way of losing weight or eating a healthier diet and leading a healthy lifestyle which works for the whole family. Weekly menu plans with healthy food, packed lunch ideas and snacks are used as the basis to implement lifelong changes to lifestyle. To date, Wise Choice Nutrition has worked with a Montessori nursery, individuals, families, athletes and Sheffield Roller Girls.