We sometimes tend to eat more, and larger amounts, of things that we like, rather than eating foods which provide us with the most nourishment. Unfortunately, this is not something we always conscious of doing, which is why nutrition expert, Miriam Ledesma, has shared some essential information, enabling us to follow a healthy diet in a more accurate, informed manner.
What kinds of food offer the most energy and how should we consume them?
Foods containing carbohydrates provide the most energy. However, it is important to learn how to select what we are going to eat, given that there are both complex and simple carbohydrates to choose from. The difference, as indicated by the name, lies in how easily and quickly our body can break them down and process them as part of our diet. Complex carbohydrates can be found in rice, tortillas, potatoes, oatmeal, pasta and bread, so the intake thereof should be controlled. Simple carbs, on the other hand, can be found in fruit, dairy products and some sweet foods. It is important to note that in order to obtain energy immediately it is always preferable to opt for some kind of fruit.
In order to gain enough energy to carry out regular activities, it is important to consider eating fruit and vegetables, preferably those which are in season. The larger the variety consumed within this food group, the greater the contribution of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. What’s more, if we combine them with a source of protein such as eggs, fish, chicken, dairy and certain dried fruits like walnuts, almonds, pistachios and different seeds, we can gain sufficient energy and nutrients to strengthen our immune system. Furthermore, as our level of inflammation goes down, our digestive system will improve, along with our mood, ultimately helping to reduce the risk of chronic-degenerative diseases.
Which foods should be avoided in terms of quantities and times of the day?
We should definitely avoid eating foods which have been ultra-processed or which, due to their high fat, sugar, sodium or artificial sweetener content, offer very little or no benefit to our health, given that our organism takes longer to digest them. I personally prefer not to label food as being good or bad for you; instead, there are kinds of food which provide greater nutritional benefits than others. It also depends on whether there are any underlying health issues to consider.
What is certain is that the more products we consume which are extremely processed and contain large amounts of sugar and fat, the more likely we are to see our health affected in a number of ways. We may be more susceptible to constipation, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increased weight; as well as a higher probability of suffering from diabetes and heart problems. Another important fact about consuming these kinds of food in excess is that we will lack even more energy, therefore putting us at a greater risk of suffering from bouts of depression and low self-esteem.
When it comes to the time of day, it doesn’t vary very much. It is common to hear that after 6-7pm our organism stops digesting certain types of food, however, this has not been wholly proven. The rhythm of our lives and activities will dictate our necessary calorie intake; from there on, a balanced diet and physical activity make for the perfect team.
3. Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
It has been said for a long time that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; however, everything we eat during the day is essential. It is true that we tend to carry out more activities in the morning, which is why a good breakfast is recommended, both in terms of quality as in sufficient quantity. Eating food which is high in sugar and fat, offering a low nutritional value, will be of little or no benefit.
Some people carry out voluntary fasting. If done correctly, under the supervision of a health professional, this can help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation and stress; otherwise, it can lead to bad moods, headaches, irritability, intestinal inflammation, bingeing on non-nutritious food, etc., all of which can cause imminent deterioration to your health. Fasting is not recommended for everyone, in the same way that some people are urged not to follow diets or eating habits which work for others. Each body and every person have different requirements.