Before I embarked on studying the ITEC in Diet and nutrition, I thought I had a relatively good balanced diet and considered myself to be pretty healthy and knowledgeable in what foods my body needed. I soon discovered that my knowledge was a little bit back-to-front, especially as over the years I had picked up tips and advice from various sources – the usual suspects including the media, gym buddies and of course things past down from my family. Since digging deeper into the world of food and nutrition, which I find both fascinating and enlightening, I have been keen to share my knowledge to others who are keen to truly understand more about food to make them feel and look good.
The intention of this blog is to give you an insight into the five simple basics of what nutrients your body needs to function at its very best. Eating the right food groups rich in nutrients can help you maintain a healthy weight; give you more lasting energy; better sleep and digestion to name a few.
Grow & Repair with Protein
Our body needs protein for growth and repair of our tissues. Of the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins), protein should be the least consumed of the three. The Department of Health recommends limiting our intake to 15-25% daily. There are good plant sources for protein which can be found in beans, legumes, seeds and nuts. Eggs are an excellent source of protein as they contain essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce. (Essential amino acids are important in the making of red blood cells; fights diseases by making antibodies; detoxify heavy metals from the body and essential for mental health.)
Feel Full for Longer with Fibre
We need fibre daily to keep our bowel movement healthy and maintain a healthy digestive tract. Fibre is used to slow down the metabolism of carbohydrates and (therefore, the release of sugar into the blood). The British Nutrition Foundation says we should be eating up to 30g of fibre to support digestive health. Anyone not meeting the recommended amount, which is most of us in the UK should increase your intake of fibre slowly. If you suffer frequently from constipation then 36g daily will help regulate you. Look for food rich in fibre such as wholegrains pasta bread and oats, nuts, seeds, cereals such as Weetabix, potatoes with the skin on.
Complex Carbs for Lasting Energy
The energy-giving nutrients from complex carbs should be what you eat the most of daily, followed by good fats (avocados, nut seeds, olive oil) 30% and the least of the food group protein up to 25%. Complex carbs are slow releasing into the body and keep blood sugar levels stable. Do not shy away from eating the ‘browns’ – brown bread, brown rice, and wholemeal pasta all are excellent for providing and sustaining your daily energy levels. You should be aiming for your diet to consist of 50% complex carbohydrates. As well as the brown carbs include lentils, beans, apples and green leafy vegetables.
5-a-day is good but 10-a-day is Better
We have been told for as long as we can remember that our daily vegetables and fruit portions should be five-a-day. Whilst eating at least 5 portions of vegetables and fruit is recommended, 10 a day is better. The Guardian reports that those who regularly eat 800g of vegetables and fruit a day reduced the risk of chronic diseases and heart disease. The diminishing nutrients in our foods mean we are better to aim for 10. Just to clarify that a portion = 80g, and the majority of which should be vegetables.
Raw Food Review
Following on from the 10-a-day mentioned above, ideally half of this quota is best eaten raw. The benefits to your body including raw vegetables and fruit are many and include higher energy levels; improved skin appearance; reduced risk of chronic illness. Diabetes.co.uk gives a general list of raw foods we can easily include daily.
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 ITEC Diploma in Diet & Nutrition – MSCM Training Ltd
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