The Importance of Nourishing Your Body and Becoming the Best Version of YOU!
We all want to be the best versions of ourselves, right? Whether it’s to be the best parent/carer to our children, the best partner to our girlfriend/boyfriend or to be that friend that’s always there to listen and offer comfort in times of need, we want to show up and be the best version of ourselves that we can be.
In order for us to do this, a great place to start is by nourishing our bodies, from the inside out. We only get one body, so it is important to understand how we can treat it with the best love and care possible, providing it with all the right vitamins and nutrients that will enable us to live our best lives. Whether it’s to feel better about yourself, to have more energy or to simply be healthier, we’ve got you covered!
It is essential to eat a balanced diet to give your body everything it needs to function optimally. This post has been written with the aim to help educate, advise and inspire you to understand some of the important aspects that make up a healthy lifestyle, including the following:
- Benefits of Eating a Balance and Varied Diet
- Fruit and Vegetable Importance
- What Happens if We Aren't Eating Enough?
- Hydration and Health
Eating a Balanced Diet and Varied Diet
Eating a balanced diet helps to provide your body with the nourishment it needs to function at its best. A balanced diet has many benefits including helping you to feel more energized, improve cognitive functioning and helps to strengthen your immune system. A balanced diet consists of having a range of different macro and micronutrients in your diet.
Macro-nutrients are the nutrients we use in large amounts. These include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Some good sources of carbohydrates include vegetables, fruit, wholegrain breads, pastas and rice, potato’s and noodles. This macronutrient is where we get the majority of our fibre from, another essential nutrient in our diet. Carbohydrates also provide us with energy throughout the day and is broken down into glucose in our bodies, which is the main energy source our brain uses to function! Carbohydrates are excellent to eat before and after any exercise you do, giving you energy to perform the activity and to replenish our glycogen (which is essentially broken down carbohydrate) stores in the muscle, ready for the next time we exercise!
Some examples of foods high in protein include,
Protein helps to keep us feeling fuller for a longer period of time, which is why increasing your protein is often advised when wanting to lose weight. Protein helps to repair your muscles after exercise and physical activity, as well as ensuring adequate nitrogen balance in the body. Maintaining a positive nitrogen balance helps to maintain the bodies muscles, allowing for recovery.
Some examples of healthy fats include avocado, nuts, oily fish and olive oil. Fats are important in the body as they help to insulate your bodies organs, allows your body to absorb essential nutrients and vitamins from the foods you eat, supports cell growth and acts as a protective layer on nerve endings. Without enough fat in your diet, you may start to feel like you have loss of concentration, as electrical signals from your nerves are unable to send these to different parts of your body (particularly your brain) efficiently. This can cause brain fog, confusion and inability to think clearly and react fast.
Micronutrients are what our body requires in smaller amounts and are more commonly known as vitamins and minerals. Some of the essential micronutrients required in our diets are: Vitamins A, C, D, Folate (vitamin B9), Zinc, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium.
Fibre is another essential nutrient needed within our diet. Fibre is found in fruits and vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrates and seeds and nuts. Eating more fibre has been found to reduce the development of disease and helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the body. Other benefits of fibre include keeping you fuller for longer, relieving constipation and helps to encouraging a healthy gut bacteria, particularly in your colon.
What Happens if We Aren't Eating Enough?
When we aren’t eating enough or are not quite getting the right amount of nutrients our body needs, we can start to feel lethargic, fatigued and just not quite ourselves. Having little energy and feeling generally unwell, can really impact our day to day mood and what we choose to do throughout the day. For example, if we don't feel we have any energy, we may choose to drive to the shop as opposed to walk, which isn't as good for our health and well being.
Deficiencies are what can occur when we don’t get enough of a particular food or food group. Deficiency can come with a range of different side effects such as feeling fatigued, feeling like you have no energy to do basic tasks, inability to sleep and hair thinning. Cutting out food groups or foods (unless a food intolerance or allergy is present, in which case this does not apply) can cause deficiencies, which is why a balanced diet is recommended by the government.
If you feel the above applies to you and wish for further advice on food deficiencies, speak to your doctor who will be able to provide you more information on this.
Fruit and Vegetable Importance
Fruits and vegetables are important because they contain vital nutrients that your body needs in order to function properly. For example, fruits and vegetables contain a range of different vitamins such as A, C, D, calcium, iron, potassium and zinc. These contain a range of different benefits for our bodies, some of which are listed below:
Vitamin A - Helps to protect our eyes from declining with age and helps proper functioning of our immune system.
Vitamin C - Helps with growth and repair in the body such as boosting antioxidant properties
Vitamin D - Helps to regulate calcium and phosphate in the body and is important to keep teeth, bones and muscles healthy.
Calcium - Calcium is important to keep bones and teeth strong, reducing the risk of osteoporosis in old age. The body needs vitamin D in order to absorb calcium.
Iron - Important in making red blood cells and is needed for the bodies growth and development.
Potassium - This is important for muscle contraction including allowing for a regulator heartbeat, regulates fluid balance and helps to support kidney functioning.
Zinc - This allows for a strong immune system, helping to fight out pathogenic viruses and bacteria that could cause harm in the body. It is also needed for protein and DNA synthesis.
Fruits and vegetables also contain huge amounts of fibre helping you to feel fuller for longer, whilst also being generally low in calories. The vitamins and minerals that fruit and vegetables contain, helps to strengthen your immune system, which will help protect you from illnesses that may arise with a weakened immune system. To keep your fruits fresh, it is a good idea to cover and wrap your food appropriately in order to avoid them going off, which could cause loss of essential nutrients within the food.
Hydration and Your Health
The importance of drinking water must also be discussed, as our bodies are made up of 60% of the stuff! It is recommended for us to drink between 6 and 8 glasses of water per day (2-2.5 litres for the average adult) as hydration helps our bodies in many different ways. These include:
- Lubrication of our joints and eyes
- Aids cognitive functioning (our brains are made up of 75% water!) helping us to think and focus on set tasks
- Allows for saliva production which is a huge contributor to our digestion of the food we eat
- Prevents constipation, allowing for healthy bowel movements
- Allows our major organs to function correctly such as allowing our liver and kidneys and eliminate waste products efficiently
- Allows easy transportation of vitamins and nutrients to travel around the body in the blood.
Staying hydrated can also help with headaches and feelings of fatigue and helps to contribute to better skin, nail and hair appearance.
I hope you have found this post on nutrition and health interesting and insightful! There is no quick fix to health, but trying to keep your diet varied and enjoyable are two of the most important things I hope you take away from this blog post :) Thank you for engagement.