Modern research continues to confirm that a 'healthy' diet can help us to maintain or improve our level of health. The chances of getting such diseases of ill health like: obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer can be greatly reduced by a healthy diet. So what is a healthy diet?
In Excellent Health
Health is a state of excellent physical, mental, intellectual, environmental, spiritual and social well-being, or as the great poet Virgil said "The greatest wealth is health."
Healthy Energy Balance
The World Health Organisation makes several very simple and sensible recommendations based on research, to achieve a healthy energy balance and weight, these are:
- Limit energy intake from total fats and shift fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids.
- Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
- Limit the intake of simple sugar. A 2003 report recommends less than 10% simple sugars.
- Limit salt / sodium consumption from all sources and ensure that salt is iodised.
- Healthiest Diets
The DASH diet- is a diet promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the NIH, a United States Government organisation) to control hypertension (high blood pressure). This eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods; includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts and beans; and is limited in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and added fats. In addition to its effect on blood pressure, it is considered a well-balanced approach to eating for the general public.
Mediterranean Diet- is a modern nutritional recommendation inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of coastal regions of southern Italy, as well as Crete and other parts of Greece. A 10-year study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, (JAMA) found that adherence to a Mediterranean diet and healthful lifestyle was associated with more than a 50% lowering of early death rates.
"It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigour." ~Marcus Tullius Cicero
There is a growing body of research confirming that exercise is good for the mood, mind, body and general health. Some people reading this may already engage in sports, aerobic exercise or other regimes, so this section is not for them. The emphasis here is on those who don't have time, don't feel motivated or have other constraints like: money or available space inhibiting them.
Firstly why does exercise improve health and weight loss. The simple answer is, maybe a cellular enzyme called 5' AMP-activated protein kinase, or AMPK, which regulates such things as, the cellular uptake of glucose and the β-oxidation (burning) of fatty acids. During exercise, AMPK activity increases as the muscle cell experiences metabolic stress, brought about by an extreme cellular demand for energy. This increases fat burning and glucose uptake. In fact some Insulin sensitising drugs such as Metformin work at least in part by AMPk activation. AMPK as mentioned increases fat burning by activating PPAR-delta which is a regulator of lipid metabolism.
Exercise While Watching TV!
You want to exercise but don't want to miss your favourite TV programs. The solution is to exercise right there in front of the TV. There are several ways that you could do this:
1. use weights and a resistance band as you watch your favourite show and then during commercial breaks do some sit- ups and push-ups.
2.Locate your walking machine in front of the TV and if you are watching alone use headphones so you don't miss anything.
3. Sit on an exercise ball and move about as you watch your show. These balls are fun and pretty addictive once you start using them.
4. During the commercial breaks use a pedometer and jog around the house.
Boost Incidental Exercise
Boosting the intensity and frequency of incidental exercise is perhaps the easiest way to fit exercise into a busy life. There are a few ways to do this:
1. Walk, instead of driving, taking a cab, or using a lift. Walking up stairs everyday instead of cramming into the lift with everyone else is one of the best things you can do to get a nice looking pair of toned legs and a healthy heart.
2. If you have to walk to the train station in the morning, or anywhere during your day, speed up and put a bit more effort and energy into your walk. Intense, short busts of walking and indeed exercise have more health benefits, then a long slow walk or exercise regime. So go for it!
3. Cleaning the house uses an amazing amount of energy and helps you keep in shape. Think of your arms and legs getting toned as you scrub the bath and vacuum the floor with gusto. One women in Australia actually began exercising by walking around her clothesline See here and lost a lot of weight as well as increasing her well-being.
4. Mow the lawn, take your dog for a walk, wrestle with the kids, or walk to the shop instead of driving.
Flickr by lululemon athletica
These are just a few simple ideas to get you started, soon you will probably come up with more ideas of your own, like: leg exercises as you sit at your computer desk, or lifting weights as you cook dinner! Your ideas are limited only by your imagination.
With Health in Mind
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Simple High Protein Frittata
Kind of like a quiche without pastry.
Prep time 10 min - Total time 20 min
Ingredients for 4 servings
1 medium onion • a few leaves of spinach • a hand full of mushrooms • 5 eggs • parmesan cheese • olive oil • pepper, salt
1. Sauté the onion until golden, in a heavy bottom, medium size frying pan with metal handle. Then add chopped mushrooms and then spinach.
2. Next add eggs, which have been broken into a bowl and mixed with a fork. Add pepper and salt to taste.
3. Allow the bottom of the mixture to cook and then transfer to griller, after sprinkling with parmesan cheese.
4. Cook until golden.
5. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve with salad.
A variety of other vegetables can also be used like: pumpkin, sweet potato, cauliflower, broccoli or asparagus.