What Is Good Nutrition?

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For good health and wellbeing, eating a balanced diet is essential.  Food provides our bodies with the building blocks in order to grow, live, and function to our maximum potential.  Adequate intake of protein, energy, fats, vitamins and minerals, is necessary for a healthy life. Eating a wide variety of food is important but it should also be pleasurable.

Food does not have to be complicated.  You do not have to follow the newest fad diet.  Diets that are restrictive are often difficult to follow, cause stress to the participant, and may end up causing disordered eating and/or nutrient deficiencies.

The recommendations need to be easy, they need to be reproducible in most countries, they need to respect the research and the food needs to taste good (otherwise no one will eat it and we will all be miserable!).

Basic rules of healthy eating –

  • Most foods eaten should be plant-based

    • For example - vegetables, legumes, and fruit

    • These contain phytonutrients and important fibre to support a healthy gut micro-biome

  • Wholefood – food in its most natural state is best

    • For example, eating an orange is better than having processed orange juice.

  • Eat as many colours of the rainbow as you can

    • Different fruits and vegetables will contain all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed for optimum health, it keeps meals interesting

  • Do not be afraid of carbohydrates

    • Chose wholegrains like quinoa, brown rice, and sweet potatoes for example instead of processed carbohydrates like bagels, chips, and cakes

  • Do not be afraid of fats

    • Chose seeds, nuts, and oily fish instead of fried foods, butter, rich desserts

  • Drink more water – at least 8 glasses per day – 1.5-2L

  • Fresh, unprocessed, seasonal, and local

    • Supports farmers, encourages people to grow their own gardens or herbs, gives a good variety of foods, very tasty indeed!

  • Make sure to get enough calcium for strong bones

    • Dairy foods including yoghurt or cheese

    • Non-dairy alternatives if you do not eat dairy

  • Eat proteins – only about a quarter of your meal size

    • Nuts, seeds, legumes are plant sources

    • Fish, eggs, poultry or lean meats (not every day foods)

  • Avoid foods that contain more than 5 or 6 ingredients

    • Anything that has too many ingredients is bound to be processed and contain chemicals and preservatives

  • Add flavour to your foods with spices and herbs instead of excess salt, sugar, and saturated fats

  • Have treats by all means – but only sometimes; maybe limit these to family celebrations like birthdays or holidays

  • Sit down and eat a relaxing meal with your family or friends (using no devices) at least once daily   

Many people do not even eat a single vegetable or piece of fruit…ever!  Too many people have an unhealthy diet that is calorie dense and nutrient poor.  Their diets frequently involve foods that are processed, packaged, and contain excess saturated fats, sodium or salt, and added sugars.  Good examples include packaged chips/crisps, soda drinks, chocolate bars, candies, and deep-fried fast food.  An unhealthy diet increases the risk of developing many diseases.  The diseases associated with an unhealthy diet include Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease like stroke and heart attack, obesity, and some cancers.  These are called non-communicable disease or chronic disease.  They have now taken over as the number one cause of death and disability in the developed world. 

Please help me to spread the word.  Eating for health and wellness does not have to be expensive, and it does not have to be complicated or difficult.  You do not have to be a chef to eat well.  However, you do have to make efforts to make small changes each day.  You have to get your families and friends involved and support each other.  Fad diets do not work.  You need to make long term lifestyle changes that are sustainable.  Food is medicine….and we are definitely what we eat.  Please join the lifestyle medicine movement…and strive to eat better, feel well and prevent disease.

Please encourage your friends and family to connect with me on social media platforms, stay informed and ask questions!

Instagram: @drjillgamberg
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DrJillGamberg

Thank you for reading.
I’d love to discuss more, be sure to leave comments & feedback in the section below.

Dr Jill.