Two-thirds of the body is water, it is essential to life. Drink more water 6 to 8 glasses each day, most people are dehydrated. Your urine should not smell strongly and should be light in colour.
Carbohydrates are divided into two groups. The simple carbohydrates are sugar based and give us a quick energy boost. They mainly include; fructose from fruit sugar, sucrose from processed sugar and lactose from milk sugar. The body gets sufficient sugar from the fruit and lactose sugars. We are eating too much processed sugars i.e. anything containing added sugar; a good example is sugar syrup which is loaded with calories.
Complex Carbohydrates also consist of sugars but they include fibre and starches these help release the energy more slowly. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include vegetables, whole grains, peas and beans. They are important for good digestion because they are rich in fibre. Always choose whole grain pasta, bread and brown rice. Approximately 45% to 65% of your diet should consist of carbohydrates.
We need protein every day it helps sustain energy levels and other vital functions in the body. There are two different groups of protein, firstly complete proteins which contain ample amount of all the essential amino acids. These proteins are found in meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs and milk. Incomplete proteins contain only some of the essential amino acids and are found in whole grains, legumes, and leafy green vegetables. It is important to consume the full range of amino acids but this can be achieved by vegetarians by combining say beans and brown rice. A healthy diet contains between 10% to 35% protein, approximately 46g for women and 56g for men. For reference an 8oz steak contains about 50g of protein so we can easily over consume this essential nutrient.
The body needs fat, not long ago we were encouraged to reduce fat in our diet, but this thinking has changed. Fats contain the building blocks called fatty acids. There are three major types – saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Children need fat for normal brain development and good fats are essential because fat provides energy and supports growth. Fat also makes food taste good. However, diets that are high in saturated fat can shorten life by predisposing us to heart disease, vascular disease, cancer and other serious illnesses. Approximately 30% of our calories should come from fat.
Look out for my next Blog on the Micronutrients.