Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The new food rules of the new century- Part 1

As a nutritionist, I am often inundated by information about the latest disease, the newest cure, the healthiest diet or the best exercise. It’s a lot of information to digest but from my experience, all we really need is a bit of common sense moderation on food consumption and motivation to get our foot moving. Here’s one tip I swear by: avoid food products that contain more than 5 ingredients. I cringe when I see a long list of additives, enhancers and preservatives on food packaging. We were never meant to eat emulsifiers, stabilizers or thickeners, and I don’t even want to think about what it does to our body in the long run. Healthy, wholesome food usually only have few ingredients other than additives.

Hereby I have simplified the mountain of nutritional geek speak into some basic principles. You can heed these ‘personal policies’ of mine that should make everyday decisions easier and your eating healthier.

Rule 1: Eat Food

This is easier said than done, especially when so many new products show up in the supermarket each year, all vying for our food dollar. But most of these items don’t deserve to be called food – nutrition experts call them edible food-like substances. They’re highly processed concoctions, consisting mostly of ingredients that no normal person would keep in the pantry. Today, much of the challenge of eating well comes down to choosing real food and avoiding industrial novelties.

Rule 2: Eat food with variety of colours

A healthy plate of food with the feature of several different colours is a good example that turns out to be good science as well. The colours of many vegetables and fruits reflect the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain – anthocyanins, polyphenols, flavonoids and carotenoids. Many of these chemicals help protect against chronic disease, but each in a slightly different way, so the best protection comes from a diet that contains as many different phytochemicals as possible.

Rule 3: Eat mostly plants, especially leaves

This one is in accordance with the newest dietary recommendations by many well known nutrition board such as the United States Food and Nutrition Board as well as World Health Organization (WHO). They contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber with fewer calories. Plant foods with the exception of seeds, including grains and nuts – are usually less energy dense than other things we eat.

Rule 4: Eat food that will eventually rot

What does it mean for food to ‘go bad’? It usually means that the fungi , bacteria and creatures with which we compete for nutrients and calories have got to it before we did. Food processing and biotechnology began as a way to extend the shelf life of food by protecting it from these competitors. This is often accomplished by removing nutrients that attract the competitors, or by removing other nutrients likely to turn rancid. The more processed a food is, the longer the shelf life, and the less nutritious it typically is.

Real food is alive and therefore it should eventually die. There are a few exceptions: honey has a longer shelf life naturally. Also note that most immortal food-like substances are found in the middle aisles of the supermarket found in United States, European countries and other developed nations. I am still not sure about our country yet.

Rule 5: The whither the bread, the sooner you’d be dead

This suggests that the health risks of white flour have been popularly recognized for many years. As far as we concerned, white flour is not much different sugar. It offers none of the good things (fiber, B vitamins, healthy fats) in whole grains. So, we should eat whole grains and minimize our consumption of white flour.

It is just 5 rules I shared here. I will continue sharing another 5 rules in future. Thanks a million for the read. I hope you will enjoy learning from my own experiences.I welcome any comments from all readers if you have any to share to to correct my points.

1 comment:

  1. Eating to gain health is always seen as complicated theoretically, scietifically & contraversial issue. Many Nutrition experts had used different methods of assessment to so-called scientifically proven that certain practice is the best and by that practices, you can prevent from some diseases and gain the optimal health. We see a lot, and that'w why we get comfused. Your review on so many articles and research findings sure will make you better understand the core principle of health and found out the similarity among them. I hope that with your efforts, one day you will become one of the expert who can tell the truth to the people. Eating to gain health in fact is as simple as being human being; the more simple you'are the better person you're!