Eating well is essential for staying healthy and aging well. In this sheet, you will discover the main principles of diet, basic nutritional needs, how our body assimilates food, the benefits of a good diet, how to eat well in practice, how a consultation with a nutritionist takes place and finally, how to exercise in this area.
How to eat well?
The vast majority of food specialists, whether or not they are from the official world, agree on a certain number of principles that can serve as guides, here they are:
A balanced diet: it is advisable to choose foods from the different food groups: vegetables and fruits (half of the plate), grain products (a quarter of the plate), meats and substitutes (l ‘other quarter), to which we will add a supply of calcium, by consuming dairy products, for example. Thus, your meal will contain: a good dose of carbohydrates, enough protein and little fat.
A varied diet: To achieve the necessary range of nutrients and avoid deficiencies, not only do you need foods from each food group every day, but several foods from each group.
Fresh and good quality food: a fresh and local diet is recommended. Refined products and hydrogenated fats should be avoided.
Eat in reasonable quantities: excess weight promotes the onset of many diseases, and considerably reduces life expectancy. A diet that is slightly under-calorie (but without nutrient deficiency) maintained over the long term may help prevent certain cancers and increase longevity. In addition, this makes it possible to limit oxidation and prevent clogging. An example of an adjustment: Systematically reduce portions of high-calorie foods (pasta and rice, for example) by a quarter or a third and replace them with a nutritious, low-calorie food, such as a vegetable.
Tasty food: first and foremost, it is flavor that determines our food choices. If so many people give up dieting, it is because it does not give them pleasure. However, the high salt, sugar and fat content of processed foods seems to be more and more appreciated and is even, among young people, becoming the norm. To counterbalance the attraction of these “over- favored ” dishes , you have to treat yourself to healthy foods that you particularly appreciate and prepare them in a tasty way – using, in particular, herbs, many of which are good. source of nutrients …
Mindful eating: by taking your time and savoring each bite , mindful eating is an effective technique for learning to rediscover the flavors of foods, while reducing the proportions of foods absorbed during a meal.
Adopt chrono-nutrition: chrono-nutrition consists in eating in a certain way according to the different times of the day. For example, it is advisable to eat fatty in the morning, dense at noon and light in the evening. In the long term, this technique allows you to regain your healthy weight and improve your state of health.
Managing your meals: for optimal nutritional intake and to avoid weight gain, it is essential to get organized. In fact, unbalanced meals are often due to improvisation, which is why it is recommended to plan the content of breakfast the night before and each morning what the meals of the day will consist of.
Be careful with cooking: to preserve all the benefits of food, it is preferable to cook at low temperature below 100 ° C because the high temperature distorts the properties of the food. It is advisable to limit grilling, which contains a lot of free radicals. The microwave should also be avoided because it denatures the chemical form of food.
Eat well: basic nutritional needs
The basic nutritional needs to know can be divided into two categories that we will develop below: macronutrients (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates) which provide energy, and micronutrients (vitamins, trace elements, etc.), which are essential for the assimilation, processing and proper use of macronutrients.
Proteins are essential for a balanced diet. They help the proper functioning of organs thanks to the amino acids of which they are made: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine. Our cells need these eight essential amino acids, and the absence of just one of these amino acids blocks protein synthesis, which is essential for rebuilding our DNA.
Lipids are the basis of the manufacture of all our cells, our hormonal system, and all of our cell membranes. They provide the energy necessary for the functioning of the body and regulate multiple physiological functions. The omegas 3 in foods are essential to good nutrition. You have to know how to choose your oils with quality fatty acids rich in monounsaturated (olive oil) and polyunsaturated (rapeseed oil) fatty acids .
Carbohydrates are just as essential to provide energy to our body. Foods that are sources of carbohydrate are starches (cereals, legumes, potatoes, rich in starch), green vegetables, sweet products and fresh and dried fruits. The three types of carbohydrates are: simple sugars, complex sugars, and fiber. It is best to avoid white sugar and brown sugar which are refined and addictive . These are present in sweets, confectionery and sugary drinks.
Food today is increasingly poor in micronutrients, because the cultivation methods (use of pesticides, fungicides etc. ), the methods of food extraction (refining, high temperatures), the cooking methods ( microwave, frying) and preservation methods destroy these micronutrients. These cannot be produced by the body and must therefore be provided by a varied, balanced and good quality diet.
Indispensable to the body, their deficiencies create imbalances which are responsible for a large number of symptoms (inflammation, sleep disorders, memory disorders, mood disorders, digestive disorders). In addition, they protect us from free radicals.
The major antioxidant vitamins are vitamins AE, C, which are contained in fruits, vegetables, green tea, etc.
- Vitamin A tones the eye area.
- Vitamin C helps the body make collagen, which provides cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of connective tissue. It also has an action on the immune system and is present in the liver, brain and endocrine glands.
- Vitamin E contained in vegetable oils plays an important role on the membrane of the intestines, therefore in the digestive process. Powerful antioxidant, it works in synergy with vitamin C.
As for other vitamins, group B vitamins are useful for the nervous system, vitamin D enters into hundreds of functions in the body, vitamin K is essential for normal blood clotting and plays a role. role in bone consolidation.
Care should be taken not to consume too many cereals and legumes, which in large quantities cause maldigestion and block the assimilation of nutrients due to the anti-nutrients they contain ( lectins , phytates , saponins, etc. ).
Digestion begins in the mouth and is not even completed 2 days later. During this process, countless chemical transformations take place in which various enzymes and several organs collaborate. In addition, many personal characteristics influence the way our body assimilates nutrients: age, state of health, food allergies or intolerances, the amount of fatty tissue, the nutrient reserves in the body, the type work, physical activity, quality of sleep, tobacco use, emotional and nervous state, time of meal, posture during meals, etc.
The assimilation process is so complex that, for a long time, all kinds of approaches have been advocated that are supposed to better suit our digestive system: vegetarianism, the choice of foods according to one’s blood type, acid-base balance, food combinations, raw food, various diets (Montignac method, Pritikin , Kousmine …), not to mention Chinese dietetics, Ayurvedic diet, etc. In addition, public health organizations in most countries publish official food guides that are constantly evolving. But, even today, specialists do not agree among themselves and new dietary hypotheses appear regularly.
The benefits of a good diet
The list of benefits of a good diet is long, depending on the environment, the emotions, the source of the food, the method of cooking, the physiology of the individual and his ability to assimilate nutrients, among them :
Ensure the acid base balance
As we age, tissues tend to acidify, which has the effect of demineralizing them. The liver is the most important deacidifying organ. According to most specialists, the white sugars contained in pastries, sweets, meats, sausages, preserves, industrial drinks and many other foods are acidifying if overused. This is why it is essential to balance your diet with the help of alkalizing foods (such as minerals), and to oxygenate the tissues by practicing physical activity.
Some tips can help digestion, such as taking the time to sit down during a meal (avoiding eating in front of the computer or television). Mindful chewing allows the brain to transmit the feeling of satiety, and the digestive system to perform its salivary secretion functions in order to make crushed food more assimilable.
Protect the intestinal ecosystem (or microbiota )
The intestinal ecosystem requires a nutritional and emotional balance in order to be optimal. It is made up of our intestinal flora, but also “friendly” bacteria, which ensure good digestion, contribute to the immune system and act on multiple functions in the body (appetite, assimilation of nutrients, etc. ). In order to multiply, they need fiber, polyphenols , omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
Avoid fatigue and food compulsions
Avoiding snacking helps ensure the proper functioning of our biological rhythm (circadian). This helps regulate blood sugar and the entire metabolism to avoid fatigue and sudden cravings for food.
Preserve our liver with a light and easy-to-digest diet
This therefore consists of limiting foods that are too fatty, overcooked, too sweet, alcohol. Favor a diet devoid of toxics and pollutants which can slow down the metabolism and make it sick.
Fight against certain cancers
Certain foods such as turmeric, green tea and pepper lower the risk of developing certain cancers. In contrast, excessive meat consumption promotes the onset of colorectal cancer.