So it’s half way through the first month of the New Year. How many of you are sticking with your new years resolution to eat healthier? Well knowledge is power, so here are some important helpful tips to eating better. A good understanding of what and how much you eat are the building blocks to living a healthier, better you.
First start by reading the labels. One of the biggest problems contributing to obesity is not paying attention to serving sizes. So check the labels and start measuring and paying more attention to quantity of food you eat.
Here are some guidelines for RDA (recommended daily allowances* ) based on a 2000 calorie daily intake. Slight decreases are required for those trying to lose weight.
*RDA is the amount of nutrients needed to prevent the developement of disease in most people.
-Total Carbohydrates (simple & complex)
225-325 gm with no more than 90 gms coming from sugar
Carbohydrates are made of 3 components, fiber, starch and sugar. Fiber and starch are complex carbs, while sugar is a simple carb. Depending on how much of each is found in the food determines its nutrition quality. Simple carbohydrates are sugars made of 1 or 2 sugar molecules. They are the quickest source of energy and are rapidly digested causing quick spikes in blood sugars. A quick spike in blood sugar is followed by the release of insulin which then results in a quick drop in blood sugar which then stimulates hunger!
Complex carbohydrates include fruits and vegatable, nuts, beans and whole grains. These are high in fiber and digested more slowly resulting in a slower more steady rise in blood sugars.
– Protein 46 gm/day for woman, 56 gm/day for men
Starting your day with a meal high in protein is a great way to get your metabolism going and start burning fat.
-Total Fat 65 gm/day with no more than 20 gm or less of saturated (the bad fat)
Sodium 2300 mg/day , which decreases to 1500 mg/ day for those over age 51
There are 13 vitamins essential to your bodies health. Vitamins are nutrients your body needs to function and fight off disease. While they do not directly serve as a source of energy the are “helpers” of the enzymes needed to generate energy from nutrients such as carbohydrates and fats.
The best way to get our vitamins is to eat a balance diet with a variety of food. Generally, you can get the RDA requirements if you are eating a well balanced diet, however, if you follow a modified or restricted diet, supplementation may be needed
There are 2 types of vitamins, fat soluble Vit A,D, E & K, and water soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in fat, cosequently requiring fat to be absorbed. Water soluble vitamins are not stored and readily excreted in the urine, therefore, there is less risk for toxicity but a greater risk for deficiency.
Fat soluble vitamins are important for your teeth, bones, skin reproductive and immune system.
-Vit A (RDA 900 ug) comes from orange colored fruits and vegetable, dark leafy greens , like kale and spinach
-Vit D (RDA 10 ug) found in fortified milk and dairy, fish eggs, liver, and mushrooms.
-Vitamin D is a key requirement in the absorbtion of Calcium. Your body requires sunshine to produce Vit D . Although we have been much better protecting our skin with sunscreen to prevent harmful damage from the sun, this has led to many people having low levels of Vit D . Failure to maintain normal Vit D levels can contribute to decreased calcium uptake that can contribute to bone loss. Therefore, it is essential to make sure you are gettting your daily requirements for Vit D, particularly if you are at risk for osteoporosis.
-Vitamin E (RDA 15 mg /day) Found in fortified cereals, leafy green vegatables , seeds and nuts
A strong antioxident helps in prevention of cell damage
-Vitamin K (RDA 120 ug) Found in dark green leafy vegatables, turnip and beet greens, egg yolks, liver
Essential for blood clotting
Water soluble Vitamins – These are required for healthy nerve and brain function , intestinal and cardiovascular health. Also essential for making red blood cells and cell repair
-Vitamin B1 / Thiamine (RDA 1.2 mg) – Comes from whole & enriched grains, liver, nuts & seeds, pork, oatmeal, brown rice, potatoes and eggs
-Vitamin B2 / Riboflavin – Comes from whole & enriched grains, dairy products, bananas, popcorn, green beans and asparagus
-Vitamin B3 / Niacin (RDA 16 mg) Found in meat, fish & poultry, whole grains, eggs, mushrooms and tree nuts
-Vitamin B5 / Pantothenic Acid (RDA 5 mg) Found in meat, poultry, whole grains, broccoli & avocados
-Vitamin B6 / Pyridoxine (RDA 1.3-1.7 mg) – Found in fortified cereals and soy products, tree nuts, bananas and meat
-Vitamin B7 / Biotin (RDA 30 ug) – Found in fruits & leafy green vegetables, meat, liver, raw egg yolk, and peanuts
-Vitamin B9/ Folic acid (RDA 400 ug) – Found in leafy vegetables, pasta, whole grain bread, cereals and liver
– Vitamin B12 (RDA 2.4 ug – Found in fish and poultry, meat, eggs and mild
– Vitamin C (RDA 90 mg) – Found in citrus fruits, red, yellow and green peppers
Essential for the formation of collagen and wound healing
Micronutrients are vital to your body’s ability to process macronutrients like fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Examples include chromium, zinc and selenium.
Minerals are nutrients found in the earth and water and absorbed by plants and animals for proper nutrition. Minerals are the main component of teeth and bones and help build cells and support nerve tissue. Examples include Calcium and magnesium
Phytonutrients are compounds found in fruits and vegatables and other plants that can be health protecting. Phytonutrients include beta carotene , lycopine and reservatrol.
I hope you find this information helpful in maintaining your goals for good health. A healthy diet along with a regular exercise program 3-4 times per week are some of the best ways to be a better, healthy you. For more information for prevention and maintaining good health, visit me in my office.