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The Ideal Balanced Diet The Reality of Healthy Eating
The Ideal Balanced Diet The Reality of Healthy Eating
Dieting sounds like it should be so simple. Eat lesslose weight, right? Well, that's part of it, but it doesn't give you the whole picture regarding how to lose weight. On top of that, there is a right way to eat to be healthy. You can have the most perfectly slim body imaginable, but if you eat the wrong things, your body is still going to suffer. In this article, we're going to talk more about what it really means to eat healthy.
With all of the nutritional guidelines and recommendations out there, it can be really difficult to suss out the reality of eating healthy, because so many are influenced by old, debunked information, and others are trying to sell you on some new diet plan or weight loss regimen. It really is rather difficult to stay current and follow a scientifically proven diet plan.
Defining a Balanced Diet
Before we go further, we should define our terms. What exactly is a balanced diet anyways? A balanced diet is a diet which includes foods from all of the important food groups which is varied enough to provide you with all of the essential minerals and vitamins (micronutrients) that you you need, along with a healthy proportion of the three primary forms of energy: fat, carbohydrates, and protein (macronutrients).
Carbohydrates Your Body's Immediate Source of Fuel
Carbohydrates get a bit of a bad wrap. This is largely because most Americans get their calories from processed carbohydrates and sugars, which are very bad for us in excess. On the other hand, carbohydrates, when sourced and prepared properly, are vital to maintaining a healthy body. In general, you should be getting around 40-45% of your calories each day from Carbohydrates. The problem is that, since Carbs are so inexpensive to process and load into your foods, and because sugars add so much cheap and easy flavor, too many of us eat way too much of the worst carbs.
In order to live healthier, you should minimize your exposure to foods containing wheat flour and white rice, along with biscuits and bread. There are lots of quality carb sources, such as oats, millets, and brown rice, which fill you up with fewer calories and provide more nutrients and more fiber. There are also lots of quality carbohydrate sources in fruits and vegetables. Beans are a great combination of Carbs and Protein, but you have to be careful with them, because they are calorie-dense.
Eat whole vegetables and fruits. Juices are too easy to break down and spike your blood sugar. Besides corn and potatoes, most other vegetables and fruits are safe for your blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates are your body's main source of Now Fuel, so it's important not to forgo Carbohydrates during your diet, because this will likely leave you tired and exhausted.
Proteins Your Body's Primary Building Blocks
With regard to quantity, you should be getting between thirty and thirty-five percent of your calories from protein. Most people eat too many carbs and not enough protein, which has a negative impact on wellness. Among the many quality sources of protein are beans, veggie sprouts, white meat, eggs, leafy greens, and milk. The body uses protein to build and maintain the body in a myriad of ways, and protein is the primary building block of all human cells. Proteins are also great because they take more energy to break down than carbs, which means that your body burns more calories. Because males have more muscle mass than females, men have a slightly higher need for protein than their counterparts.
There are many people that don't get enough protein. In the United States, 20% of adults 20-70 don't get enough protein. It's suggested that every time you eat, you should be getting at least a small amount of protein from your meal or snack. It's also suggested that, if you crave a late-night snack, that you should opt for something rich in protein and low in carbs, so that your body and brain can use the protein calories to rebuild and restore.
Fats The Body's Energy and Nutrient Storage System
Fats have had it rough over the last fifty years. This is largely due to a mixture of how poorly we understood the science of nutrition in the 70s and 80s, and manipulation by the sugar lobby and other groups that wanted to protect the interests of Big Sugar. The human body thrives when around 20% of its calories are derived from fat.
There are three forms of fat that the body needs: Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Monosaturated Fat, and Polyunsaturated Fat. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are highly beneficial to the heart and cardiovascular system, and a whole lot of people don't get enough of it. Good sources of these fatty acids are sunflowers, walnuts, flaxseed, trout, tuna, and salmon.
Trans-Fats should be entirely avoided if at all possible, and have been linked to a host of negative health effects. Saturated fat (obtained mostly from full-fat dairy, poultry, and red meat) does serve a necessary purpose but should be eaten rather sparingly.
There is still some debate regarding vegetable oils vs. animal fats, but as of today, the general consensus is that vegetable fats are healthier for you than animal fats. Beyond that, cold-pressed vegetable oils are preferable over hot-pressed oils. Cold-pressed oils have a higher nutrient content, and are generally better for you.
How to Get Your Vitamins and Minerals
Micronutrients are incredibly important, and we are best served by eating a wide variety of foods to meet our nutritional needs. Minerals don't break down easily, and can be absorbed easily through the consumption of animal products, as well as fully-cooked vegetables and fruits. Vitamins are a bit more finicky, however.
Vitamins are organic compounds, which means that they are much more sensitive to temperature and processing. Vegetables, fruits, and nuts are excellent sources of Vitamins, and you should include raw or lightly-cooked vegetables into your diet regimen in order to get the highest nutrient-volume. There are many foods which will provide greater nutritional variety when fully cooked, such as onions and tomatoes. There's no exact science here, just mix fresh and cooked fruits and vegetables to provide yourself with the largest bouquet of nutrients. It's generally recommended to eat four servings of fruit daily, and 3-4 servings of vegetables daily.
One Last Note, Drink Lots of Water!
The human body thrives when it has access to adequate amounts of water. Our bodies are comprised of mostly water, and bad things happen when the body has to hoard the water that it has, rather than use it for filtration, circulation, and other necessary functions. If you don't drink enough water, this contributes (perhaps ironically) to fluid retention, along with increased acidity. Six to eight full glasses of water per day is still a great rule of thumb, though you can expect to absorb some water through your diet. Drink more water if you drink alcohol or sodas, because both of these beverages reduce your hydration.
Controlling Your Blood Pressure Naturally
Controlling Your Blood Pressure Naturally
In order to preserve your health and prevent calamities associated with high blood pressure such as stroke and heart attack, it is important to get your hypertension under control. For some, medications are absolutely necessary to keep blood pressure in check, but there are a lot of things that you can do to lessen your need for blood pressure medication or improve your blood pressure without medication. The following are ten steps that you can take to improve your cardiovascular health through simple lifestyle changes.
Lose Weight to Control Blood Pressure
Body fat percentage has a strong correlation with elevated blood pressure. For one thing, adipose fat deposits, which tend to build up around the stomach, hips, and thighs, affect hormone balance in way that increases blood pressure. Furthermore, men and women that are overweight are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea and poor sleep, which further exacerbates normal cardiovascular patterns.
If you are overweight, simply dropping ten pounds can have a significantly positive effect on your blood pressure. Are you at risk for elevated blood pressure due to weight? The rule of thumb is that women with a waist larger than thirty-five inches are at risk, and for men, over forty inches. Risk increases with increased size.
Exercise More to Lower Blood Pressure
Ideally, a combination of eating better and increasing physical activity are a 1-2 punch to both lose weight and improve blood pressure. Consistent physical activity is key to controlling blood pressure. We recommend at least a half an hour of activity that boosts your heart rate per day. Some great options for improving cardiovascular health are dancing, swimming, biking, jogging, walking, or lifting weights. Do what ever makes you happy and works for you! Exercise works both for people that have hypertension and those that want to help get their hypertension under control.
Eat Better to Improve Cardiovascular Health
The modern diet does no favors for the heart. If you want to get your blood pressure under control, we recommend significantly reducing your intake of cholesterol and saturated fat while increasing your consumption of low-fat dairy, veggies, fruits, and whole grains. If you're interested in a more specifica diet plan, the DASH Diet is considered the best diet plan available for controlling hypertension and modulating blood pressure.
Eat Less Salt for Hypertension
Salt has a nasty way of making your blood pressure issues worse. Though there is some contention whether salt intake is a root cause of hypertension, it certainly exacerbates existing problems, potentially to a dangerous degree. Dropping your salt intake just a little can have big benefits for your health.
One of the best ways to reduce your sodium consumption is to start eating more natural foods or simply to start cooking more for yourself. Packaged foods are often loaded with salt to mask reduced food quality and flavor, so you can avoid a lot of salt that way. Also, consider other options to add taste to your food, such as pepper and other spices and herbs.
Finally, understand that the modern palate has grown accustomed to abnormally high levels of salt and other cheap flavorings. If you're having trouble ditching the salt quickly, slowly reduce the amount of salt in the foods that you eat, and in no time you'll find that your palate has become more refined and your need for salt will have diminished significantly.
Drink Less for Better Blood Pressure
Alcohol is a double-edged sword when it comes to hypertension. Very moderate drinking can be beneficial, but anything more than two drinks per day (one drink per day for people over sixty-five), and the effect is reversed. If you're having issues with your blood pressure and you are a heavy drinker, finding a way to drink less or stop drinking altogether may be a literal life-saver. It's also important to realize that drinking while taking certain medications for Hypertension can limit the benefits of these drugs.
Stop Smoking to Relieve Hypertension
Smoking has numerous awful effects on your health and wellness, beyond yellow teeth, coughing, and pulmonary issues. Smoking has a direct impact on blood pressure. Blood pressure elevates immediately after you finish a cigarette and continues for quite awhile afterward. When you give up smoking altogether, you'll have healthier and more stable blood pressure, which reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other potentially fatal health issues which reduce your life expectancy.
Reduce Caffeine Intake to Regulate Blood Pressure
There are still a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to the connection between blood pressure and caffeine. It appears that caffeine has its strongest notable effect on blood pressure when people that don't consume a lot of caffeine suddenly do. If you, like so many Americans, have a strong dependency on caffeine, consumption has a minimal impact on blood pressure.
It may be best to use a blood pressure device for yourself to see how caffeine impacts your blood flow. If, in the half hour after taking in caffeine, you see an increase in blood pressure, you should scale back your caffeine consumption. It appears that some people have a caffeine sensitivity, while others don't. It's best to talk to your physician about caffeine and your personal health.
Mitigate Stress to Improve Blood Flow
Everyone has stress. It's part of being humanalive even. It's important to react the right way to stress, however. Many grab a cigarette or a beer when they're anxious. Others seek comfort in unhealthy food. Unfortunately, all of these things are bad for your blood pressure. Use stress as an opportunity to engage in good habits. Exercise and journal-keeping both have a positive impact on stress levels and mental state, for example. Take time to meditate, start practicing yoga, or simply set aside a time in your day to engage in quiet, peaceful, mindful thinking.
Track Your Blood Pressure to Know Your Triggers and Help Your Doctor Keep You Healthy
There are lots of things that you can do to help keep your blood pressure in the healthy range, as we've mentioned above, but taking the time to periodically monitor your own blood pressure can be the best thing that you can do to get a handle on your heart. That way, you can see the benefits of your healthy lifestyle changes and also recognize certain factors that relate to hypertension. Armed with this information, you are a more informed patient, which will help you get the best possible care from your doctor during your checkups.
Get a Little Help From Your Friends to Improve Cardiovascular Health
Going along can make it very difficult for some people to manage their blood pressure and other health issues in their lives. Reaching out to friends and family and letting them know about your goals can help. Having someone that's concerned for you, or willing to exercise with you or have a healthy dinner with you, can help a ton!
There are also support groups available across the country to help people just like you improve your health and wellness. You can join a support group which specifically revolves around hypertension, or any number of groups that can help you uplift your lifestyle!
The Role of Magnesium for Good Health
The Role of Magnesium for Good Health
Magnesium is one of the many essential nutrients that the body needs to function. Magnesium Deficiency has a major impact on wellness, and is one of the most common forms of mineral deficiency among men and women. It is estimated that four out of every five people don't get enough Magnesium in their diet. For this reason, unless you have a diet rich in sources of magnesium, you may see major benefits from eating more foods that contain magnesium or purchasing a reliable magnesium supplement.
Researchers have been studying the benefits of Magnesium and the risks associated with Magnesium Deficiency for generations, and all of this information is available to you. Significant Magnesium Deficiency is associated with a myriad of symptoms, including poor sleep, anxiety, impaired digestion, muscle spasms, and muscle aches. If you've been experiencing these symptoms, it would benefit you to consider supplemental magnesium for your health.
The body doesn't need a large quantity of Magnesium, as compared to other minerals and vitamins, but, because it can sometimes be difficult to get enough Magnesium in the diet, it is a common form of Mineral Deficiency. Scientists have associated Magnesium with over three hundred biochemical processes. For example, Magnesium plays a role in both neurotransmitter function and the normal sinus rhythm of the heart. Magnesium also helps control Nitric Oxide synthesis, metabolism, and the normal function of many enzymes.
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
As we mentioned, Magnesium is associated with a host of functions necessary for maintaining normal human function. The following are just a few issues that can occur as a result of abnormally low Magnesium Levels:
Muscle Cramps and Weakness
Increased Incidence and Risk of Cavities
Suppressed Immune System and Increased Incidence and Severity of Fungal and Bacterial Infections
Loss of Bone Mineral Density
Sleeping Issues, including Insomnia
Mood Instability and Behavioral Complications
Exacerbation of PMS
Restless Leg Syndrome
Reduced Uptake of Other Vital Vitamins and Minerals, such as Potassium, Calcium, Vitamin B1, and Vitamin K
Peroxynitrite Buildup, which can contribute to Alzheimer's, Glaucoma, Multiple Sclerosis, and Migraines
Liver and Kidney Damage
Cardiovascular Disease and High Blood Pressure
Why Do So Many People Experience Magnesium Deficiency?
There are a number of different reasons why people don't get enough Magnesium in their diet. For one, the amount of Magnesium in the food that we eat depends on the amount in the soil of the crops that we raise. If Magnesium Levels in the soil become depleted, this leads to foods with less Magnesium Content. Many people also take medications that can inhibit the body's ability to absorb magnesium, including heavy use of antibiotics. There are also some digestive conditions which reduce the ability of the body to take in Magnesium efficiently.
How Does the Body Lose Magnesium?
There are many processes associated with Magnesium that use up our built-in stores of the mineral, including Hormone Synthesis and muscle contractions (including the heart). As the body uses Magnesium, it must intake more to maintain optimal function.
Magnesium Levels are controlled mainly by the kidneys. When mineral levels are too high, the body evacuates Magnesium through the kidneys to the urine. When mineral levels are too low, the body holds back urination to maintain appropriate mineral levels. Out of all of the Electrolytes, there is less Magnesium available than any other, and this is normal. Of course, that means that the body is particularly susceptible to Magnesium Deficiency.
How Does Magnesium Help Us Stay Healthy?
Magnesium is associated with so many critical physiological operations. The following are nine ways that Magnesium keeps us healthy:
Magnesium Maintains Energy Levels
Magnesium is integral to the process by which the human body makes energy. Magnesium triggers ATP activation. ATP can best be characterized as the base unit of energy in the human body. If you don't get enough Magnesium, this slows down the process of ATP activation and utilization, which drains energy and causes fatigue.
Magnesium Controls Anxiety
Low Levels of Magnesium are directly correlated with increased feelings of anxiety and restlessness. This is because Magnesium promotes normalized GABA function. GABA encourages the production of Serotonin and other hormones associated with happiness and positivity, by inhibiting neurotransmitters which suppress the release of these hormones, such as Cortisol. If you aren't getting enough magnesium, this means that you'll likely be more on edge than normal.
Magnesium Promotes Healthy Sleep
Because Magnesium Deficiency leads to anxiety, this directly impacts your ability to get restful sleep. People with Low Magnesium Levels are more likely to experience insomnia, along with other forms of sleep disruption.
Magnesium Encourages Digestive Motility
There is a reason that Milk of Magnesia has long been used as a treatment for constipation. Magnesium stimulates the intestines to relax, which helps digestive material flow more easily. This helps you go to the bathroom more easily. Magnesium also reduces stomach acid activity, meaning that it can help reduce the symptoms of heartburn and other issues related to stomach acids. For individuals that suffer from constipation, Magnesium is one of the best options available without a prescription! Be careful, however, because if you take too much Magnesium, you'll likely have to go too soon and too often!
Magnesium Inhibits Muscle Spasms and Pain
As was mentioned earlier, Magnesium plays a vital role in Neurotransmitter function. Just like when you don't get enough Potassium in your diet, Magnesium Deficiency increases the incidence of cramps and spasms. Magnesium helps your muscle tissue flex and relax. Not only will you experience fewer painful muscle contortions, but you will also experience greater fluidity of movement in general.
Magnesium Helps Control Electrolyte Balance
Magnesium helps transport Potassium and Calcium into your cells. Without Magnesium, there is no way for these minerals to enter your cells and perform their necessary duties. Magnesium's function as a gateway modulator affects heart rhythm, muscle contraction, nervous system impulses, and more.
Magnesium Preserves Normal Heart Function
Per volume, there is more Magnesium in the heart than any other part of the body. The highest concentration of Magnesium in the human body in in the left ventrical of the heart. Magnesium and Calcium work in sync in order to maintain healthy blood pressure. Magnesium and Calcium Balance are integral to heart health, and severe magnesium imbalance can even induce a heart attack!
Have Fewer Migraines By Taking Magnesium Supplements
For people that experience migraines, Magnesium can help reduce the incidence and severity of these potentially debilitating headaches. This is because Magnesium both encourages vasodilation and the release of Hormones which reduce pain and increase our resilience to pain. Magnesium has been proven to benefit many people that suffer from migraines.
Magnesium Promotes Bone Health
Along with Calcium, Magnesium is a vital mineral with regard to the body's ability to preserve Bone Mineral Density. Magnesium activates Osteoblasts, which are responsible for building and fortifying bone mass. Magnesium Deficiency directly contributes to Osteoporosis. Magnesium also encourages healthy Bone Mineral Density by helping to maintain proper Vitamin D Levels.
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