Your dietary intake and eating habits offers one of the most influential means of determining how you feel and perform on a daily basis. By following some basic dietary principles, not only can you feel and function better, but you can also significantly increase your ability to fight and resist disease.
Diets come and go. Some are good and some are downright terrible. My best advice is that if you can sustain the diet on a long-term basis and it incorporates sensible principles (like the ones below) – it is most likely OK.
Here are general guidelines we can all follow:
- FRESH IS BEST! Always attempt to eat your food as close to its natural state as possible for maximum nutritional content
- Throughout each day, drink 1.5 litres of water – avoid energy, fizzy and sport drinks – they are full of sugar!
- Eat a wide variety of nutritious foods
- Breads and cereals (particularly wholegrain), vegetables, legumes (such as chickpeas) and fruit
- Drink coffee and tea in moderation – no more than 2-3 cups per day
- Alternatively, switch to decaf or caffeine free drinks such as herbal tea that have positive effects on health
- Drink alcohol in moderation – for adults only
- Limit wherever possible the intake of refined sugars (carbohydrates)
- Refined sugars are found in junk-food, soft drinks, etc.
- Australians have low intake of omega fatty acids
- Aim to eat fish twice per week
- Limit saturated fat intake (processed foods, fried foods, animal fat)
- Consume low salt foods and avoid adding salt to your food
- A good balance between exercise and food intake is important; this helps to maintain a healthy body weight.
- Exercising such as walking, swimming, riding etc. for 20 minutes per day, 3 days per week will make a huge difference to your energy levels and immune function. MAKE THE START – it will become a habit before you know it !
The volume you eat at a meal is essential too. Eat smaller meals, regularly spaced throughout the day when you are hungry. Overeating can slow you down, make you feel drowsy and force your body to stack on unnecessary weight.