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LIFEFIT

Guide to healthy

What does being healthy mean?

This is a difficult question to answer, and despite having a scientific background, this may be one area where science can let us down. Mainly because capitalism and consumers love scientific facts, but much of the research undertaken has been completed or funded by the company trying to sell you something. As an example, the research telling us to eat breakfast because it helps us use 7-9% calories per day, was funded by Kelloggs, probably the greatest manufacturure of breakfast products globally.

So we need to look at what our bodies need. Again, this can be different for everyone, because we have genetic differences. But if we speak generally then, most humans globally require;

1. Energy

2. Protein

3. Fats

4. Vitamins

5. Minerals

6. Water

7. Fibre

Energy

Energy comes from everything we eat and drink. We need it to function. Everything we do uses energy. Brain function, digesting food, sleeping, moving, staying still, being awake, all use energy. It is the energy balance which allows us to lose, maintain or increase our fat stores. The body stores excess energy as fat, for a period of time when we will not have food. The down fall of modern living in the western world is that there is copious amounts of food and calorie dense nutrient deficient food products. 

Protein

Protein helps us develop lean tissue, repair and replace damaged tissue. Proteins can be broken down into amino acids, which help with the manufacture of enzymes. Enzymes allow your body to function. Digesting food, making hormones, all come from amino acids. Our bodies can make most of the amino acids we require from the foods we eat, but there are some we can't make and we have to eat them.

Meat eaters get the essential amino acids from beef, pork and chicken etc. Vegetarians and vegans can get complete protein from foods such as quinoa which contain all the amino acids your body needs.

Fats

Fat is an essential part of you, and you need to eat fat. This does not mean go out and eat a Big Mac. The fats we need or the nutrients for your body to make these fats can be found in fish, nuts, leafy green vegetables.

There are fats that work against us and you need to try and avoid these as much as possible. Typically they are found in processed foods and are called saturated fats and trans fats. It is widely regarded these are harmful for your health. 

 

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals are considered essential for the body because when combined they help perform all of the bodies functions. To name a few; Calcium for bones and teeth, Zinc for nails and hair, Potassium for muscles and neuromuscular function. The vitamin and mineral industry is not regulated and you never know what you are getting when you take supplements. Although some nutritionalist's will recommend taking supplements because of modern farming methods and soil degradation preventing plants from getting the required nutrients from the soil. 

Water

Water is essential for healthy living. We recommend 2-3 litres of water a day, as a minimum. You will perish quickly without water but you can sustain life for some time without food. Improved water quality is one of the reasons our life expectancy has increased over recent years. 

Fibre

Fibre is potentially the forgotten ingredient in healthy living. Not only essential for good gut health, but as the body can't break down the calories high fibre foods contain, it is often missed from the products we eat. Most naturally grown foods will contain enough fibre for you to be healthy.

The above is a quick overview of each of the topics. Each area will be covered in more detail as we go through the programme.

It is also important to remember, what we know changes. Science has been and will continue to be exploited by companies to sell products. So whatever you chose to eat you can make informed choices through understanding.