Inactivity and poor nutrition may lead to cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. That’s why it’s important to know what we should eat and drink.
Adjust your nutritional intake to your level of physical exercise: if you exercise regularly, you can eat most food in moderation. If you don’t exercise enough, you need to control your consumption of sugar and fat in order to avoid gaining weight.
One hour of athletic activity burns 200 to 300 calories, the equivalent of a large piece of cake! So the more you move, the more you can eat without worrying about the calories.
Eat less high-calorie food and fried food, butter, cream, sauces, mayonnaise, snacks, cookies and other sweets, and more products that are low in fat and rich in omega 9 (olive oil) and omega 3 (canola oil, walnut oil, soy oil and fatty fish like salmon and tuna).
Additionally, eat only one high-fat food per meal. For instance, if you eat a dish with sauce, have a piece of fruit for dessert as opposed to a sweet.
These healthy foods have very useful nutritional qualities (fiber, vitamins B and C, antioxidants) and sometimes contain beneficial fats (such as omega 9 in almonds and omega 3 in walnuts).
Remember to add fresh fruits to your breakfast, include some raw vegetables in your lunch or dinner, and vary flavors and colors (tomatoes, salad greens, bell peppers, and cabbage).
Meals can be accompanied with starches and cooked vegetables. Soup makes for a delicious meal, especially with lentils, red or white beans. These provide proteins, fiber and carbohydrates with a low glycemic index.
Replace sweets and baked goods with fresh fruit (2 to 3 servings per day), particularly citrus and exotic fruits that are rich in vitamin C. If you feel hungry during the day, have a light snack of walnuts or almonds.
In addition to the sugar that you may add to your coffee or tea, there is sugar in cookies, candy, pastries, ice cream and soft drinks. Most of the time we don’t know how much sugar is in these foods, making it difficult to control our sugar consumption.
To avoid excess sugar intake, limit your consumption to three sugar-rich products per day. For example: one spoonful of jam on your breakfast toast, one yogurt with fruit with lunch, and a serving of ice cream after dinner.
And most importantly, make water your main drink!
Salt limits the proliferation of bacteria in processed foods and improves taste, so it is present in many products.
However, salt contributes to high blood pressure and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, so consume it in moderation. Don’t automatically add salt to your food without tasting it first. When you do add salt, just use a pinch.
Avoid multiple salty foods in one meal. For example, if you’re eating ham, don’t eat cheese as well.
Your body needs approximately 1.5 liters of water every day (2), the equivalent of 8 glasses of water (one glass = 200 mL or 6.8 fl oz for adults) (read “5 water functions in human body“). Start your morning with a large glass of water and continue drinking throughout the day, before, during and after meals.
Drink before you get thirsty. Keep a bottle of water with you at work, and alternate still and sparkling water. To ensure that you’re well hydrated, check the color of your urine: it should be clear and light.
You also need to drink more water during athletic activities.
Speaking of exercise, sports are great, but simple regular exercise is equally effective. It reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Only use your car when it’s really necessary; instead, walk and take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Walk at least 30 minutes every day and complement with moderately intensive activities and muscle-building exercises, at home or at the gym.
In conclusion, you can eat most foods in moderation, without depriving yourself or over-indulging in fat, sugar and salt. Drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day and keep fit with regular exercise, and you’ll be in great shape!