Keys to Good Nutrition

Keys to Good Nutrition

When discussing Total Health, the question is where to begin. I have chosen to discuss Nutrition, because this is fundamental to health and development.
Good nutrition begins before birth. What the pregnant woman eats affects the development of her baby.

There are several Key Nutrients for pregnancy
•    Protein
•    Folic acid and other vitamins
•    Calcium
•    Micronutrients, including Iron.

The Everything Pregnancy Nutrition Book: What to Eat to Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy

I do not intend to discuss these specific requirements in detail at this stage as that is a special topic in itself and something for another time.

Misconceptions about Nutrition : Many people think good nutrition means eating foods they do not like and avoiding foods they do like. Self denial is the key to healthy living. You have to be constantly counting Calories.

The Facts:

•    Eating is one of life’s great pleasures. The place, the atmosphere and planning for a meal; the appearance and presentation of the food are all important factors.  So often today meals are eaten “on the run” or in front of the TV. Something quick and easy without much thought about its nutritional value.
•    All foods can fit into a healthy pattern of eating. We often use terms like “good” or “bad”,
“Junk food” or even “healthy food”.
The important thing is to consider what food and how much is eaten on a regular basis.
Balancing food classes over time contributes to a healthy pattern of eating. It is not what is eaten on one day, but what is eaten over several days or weeks that count.

I do not like the term “diet” as it has negative connotations.  I prefer to talk about a pattern of food choices that contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
•    Changing food and health behaviour is a lifelong process.
Healthy eating means choosing foods that are as fresh as possible, using the right cooking methods
And learning portion control.

It all begins with shopping! Do you plan and go with a list or are you an impulse shopper.
Look at the Food Pyramid as a guide to healthy shopping.

The Food Pyramid

Released in 1992, the food pyramid is a nutrition guide suggesting how much of each food group one should eat each day for a healthy diet.

In general terms the food guide pyramid recommends the following intake of different food groups each day
•    6-11 servings of grain a day such as rice, bread, cereals, and pasta;
•    3-5 servings a day of vegetables, especially green, leafy vegetables;
•    2-4 servings of fruits a day;
•    2-3 servings of meat, fish, eggs, nuts, or beans a day;
•    2-3 servings of dairy products including cheese and yogurt every other day;
•    Occasional use of fats, oils, and sweets.
The closer food is to its natural state; the better it is for you.

Whole and unprocessed grains and cereals are best

Fresh fruits and berries are great and will satisfy a craving for sweets. Whole vegetables have lots of vitamins and minerals, so eat more green, orange and yellow vegetables. Steam them to retain the most nutritional value

When considering Meat always look for low-fat and lean cuts. I will talk about the different types of fats in a later Blog and why they are important.

Fish should be eaten at least twice per week. The best are the “fatty fish “(those with a high Omega -3 fatty acid content), which have a beneficial effect on prevention of heart disease.

Watch this space for more on Keys to Good Nutrition in future blogs.

Doctor Bill