Carbohydrates, fats and protein
There is so much information out there about what to eat and what not to eat, when too eat it and what to eat it with... no wonder most of us are left with a big ol question mark with a tum/bum to match!
So I thought I would break it down for those of us who like things in basic simple English. Please note I am not a trained dietician, this is just information I have obtained over the years from reading and educating myself about nutrition. Having said that I dare say nothing I say will be argued by the pro's
There are three food groups or "macronutrients": fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Let's start with carbohydrates because they seem to be getting the most amount of attention at the moment...
Carbohydrates: Commonly called "carbs", carbohydrates are the most common source of energy in living organisms. There are 2 kinds of carbs, simple and complex carbohydrates. Examples of simple carbs include: fruit, sweets and soft drinks. Simple carbohydrates are often not rich in nutrients and have a high proportion of sugar (don't get me started). Complex carbs are easier on the body. Bread, pasta, beans, rice and grains are all examples of complex carbs. When deciding on what carbs to eat go for those that are natural, high in fibre, have a low GI and are vitamin rich, good examples include: apples, bananas, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, oranges, broccoli and spinach
Proteins: Proteins make up close to 16% of our body weight and they have a large part in ensuring we keep strong and healthy. Protein foods are usually animal based including fish, meat, chicken, dairy and eggs. Proteins are also responsible for amino acids - which is a fancy word for the building blocks of your body. Proteins together with fats are necessary components for body tissue and cell rejuvenation. They are also a strong source of energy.
Fats: Too much of a good thing can be bad! That pretty much sums fat up. It's the stuff that makes our food taste that much yummier but too much of it and it affects our health and our weight. But like carbohydrates there are good fats and there are bad fats. From bad to better... Trans(saturated) fats are BAD m'kay. These fats were created by the food industry (i.e. they are NOT natural), are not healthy and can cause heart disease. Saturated fats are also bad for you. They are known to raise cholesterol and also affect your heart. Better for you are unsaturated fats (mono and poly). These fats are healthy for the brain and other bodily functions. Things like Omega 3 and 6 (fish oils), avocado, nuts and olive oil are examples of good fats. Think of them as lubricants, you only need a little bit to keep the engine running :)
There is so much information out there at the moment - low carbs diets, high GI diets, low fat diets. It's just too confusing. However if you want the simple answer to keeping healthy do what humans were doing thousands of years ago: Eat simple and unprocessed food. You heard me NO TAKE OUT :)
No-one likes to hear this because we are all waiting for some new craze that help us shed those kilo's, a new recipe book that if we buy this one book, or take that one pill it will be THE answer we have been searching for. Sadly for the most of us (says me who can eat a box of Mint Slice's without batting an eyelid) is that it's all about moderation. Food is our bodies fuel and if you are getting too much or too little of certain nutrients just like a car things will stop working. Too much sugar and things grind (specifically your digestion) to a halt, too much fat and your heart takes strain.
With the lives we lead we have so little control of things. Putting things into your mouth is perhaps one of the lasts truly controllable things so be kind to your body, go buy some fresh fruit veggies and fish and gives your body what's its craving! Ahhhhh
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