Nutrition Guideline for Online Nutrition Coaching
What is a healthy diet, what defines it? Well, in a healthy diet, optimal would be to get as most nutrient-dense food as possible, which means adding more nutrients to fewer calories. You can think the food is more nutrient-dense when the level of nutrients is high in relationship to the number of calories the food contains. Got it? Great! Eating nutrient-dense food is probably one of the healthiest ways to eat.
What are the Nutrients?
We are sure that you have heard someone talking about micros and macros or if not, let us shortly explain to you. We are talking about nutrients called protein, carbohydrates, lipids, water, vitamins, and minerals. First three provides energy and are called energy-yielding nutrients. These are macronutrients because we need protein, carbs, and lipids in large amounts in the body. Water is also macronutrient, as we need water a lot, but unlike other macronutrients, water doesn't provide energy. Vitamins and minerals do not either provide energy, and the body only needs them small amounts, that's why they are called micronutrients. Together they provide energy.
Also, micronutrients are building blocks for growth and maintenance of a healthy body. The body can produce some of the nutrients on its own and some of the nutrients we must get from our diet. Depending on many different variables like sex, size, health, illness, pregnancy, breastfeeding medication, your daily need of essential nutrients can variate.
What is a healthy diet? The mission of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates, one of the macronutrients, provides fuel for the central nervous system and energy for working muscles. Carbs also regulate blood glucose and prevent the protein from being used as a power source and enable fat metabolism. Carbs are also important for brain function.
Simple and Complex Carbs
The difference between simple and complex carbs is their chemical structure. And how fast sugar is absorbed and digested. So as an example, when we eat candy, which is a simple carb and simple sugar, it is absorbed more quickly than complex carbs (example: whole-grain bread). The problem often with simple carbs is that they are processed. Plus do not have any nutrition value, meaning there is no vitamins, minerals, or fiber in it. But for example, fruits contain simple sugar but has nutrition value, but because of fibers, blood sugar levels are not spiking too high too quickly. And also digestion will slow down. Complex carbs are often referred to as starchy foods and provide more sustained energy.
We should focus on getting primarily complex carbs in our diet, including vegetable and whole grains. Unrefined whole grains contain vitamins and minerals and are rich in fibers, which helps our digestive system work properly, and it slows the release of insulin in the blood.
A common recommendation for carbohydrates is mainly 45-60%. For athletes and people who are very active the carb ratio increases because the body needs the fuel to replace glycogen stores quickly. But if your activity level is low it is more important to concentrate on what type of carbs you are eating. Avoiding ketosis carbohydrate intake should be over 100g per day, and a good rating is above 30 to 40% of your daily calories also depending on your physical activity.
Proteins are an essential part of our nutrition, and our bodies can't function without them. Also, proteins play many important roles in the human body. Protein is providing structure and strength to cells and tissues. Our metabolism is regulated by proteins, as are hormones and the various activities they control.
Did you know that proteins are part of our every cell, tissue and organ? Protein also helps us grow, helps our immune defense system and make up collagen, the connective tissue that gives our body its shape.
What are amino acids then? Proteins are amino acids, tangled chain of amino acids with peptide bond forming between. These shapes of proteins are varying, which enable them to perform different duties in the body.
Nowadays it's "trendy" to eat lots of protein. If you go to a shop and it almost seems that no matter what product you pick, there is little text saying "extra protein added" on the side. But it's good to remember to have a balance here as well; a good ratio is key! If you are physically active, then keep your protein intake at 30% of your daily calories and 20-25% if your activity level is rather low. If you are confused about different kind of protein powders, you can read our blog about proteins, which will help you to survive in the jungle out there.
Often these days you hear the word fat, and you associate it right away to something negative. I'm, sure many of you tried reading about different kind of diets where it is recommended to limit fat intake to a minimum. The actual truth is that fats or lipids are an important constituent of our diet. Fat is one of the three macronutrients along with carbs and protein. Fats also known as triglycerides, comprise 95% of food and our bodies. Lipids are a group of compounds that includes fats and oils. They categorize as fatty acids sterols like cholesterol and phospholipids such lecithin.
Are you aware that fat plays a major role in our health and body function, every cell in our body needs fat. Fat is not only an important source of energy but also your brain and hormones are dependent on proper fat function. Also, fat is essential to our immune system. And it helps to maintain healthy hair and skin. Plus fat also helps the body to absorb nutrients, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and Calcium.
How Much Fat is Enough?
Most of the foods contain a combination of different fats. And primarily fat is found in meats, and dairy foods, at least these are the most visible sources.
Saturated fat comes from both animals ( red meat, cheese, milk, and butter ). And plant sources ( example like coconut and palm oil ). Nuts, seeds, avocados are good vegetable sources of needed fatty acids. Fat weighs in at nine calories per gram, which is more than twice the calories of carbs or protein. Also, it is essential to know that too much fat can lead to health problems, so we should check to keep fat intake in moderation and useful form. Fat intake should be around 25-35% of your daily calories.
How Much Water is Enough?
Water intake is very individual. For example, Teija is a very active person. But on the other hand a small and light person, so she drinks around 1,5-3 liters water per day. Depending on how much sport she does. During summertime, she also drinks more water when the temperature is getting higher.
Your exact water intake depends on your weight and activity level. And also about the temperature. Everyday minimum should be around 1,5-2L, and for males, even more - the big machine needs more liquid. Also, check that you drink pure water. Coffee, Cola, beer, and energy drinks are liquids but not water!
As a tip, always have a water bottle in your bag, also carry a small water bottle in your purse. And always check that water is fresh. Plus prefer glass bottles or bottles which are free from BPA.
What is a healthy diet? Finally vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients for our body and are considered micronutrients. Vitamins are organic compounds and needed by the body to sustain life. They are crucial for our body to function, and they have hundreds of roles in our body.
The task of the micros is the example: growth, reproduction, bone support, healing wounds. And they are also bolstering our immune system. They also convert food into energy and repair our cellular damage. If there is a lack of vitamins in the diet, they will cause deficiencies.
Vitamins categorize as either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K. Minerals are inorganic compounds, but like some of the vitamins can be made in our bodies, other minerals our bodies are not producing. Minerals are classified based on how much your body requires; they classify for major and trace minerals.