The Modern Diet and Overall Health - Part 2
In Part 1 of this topic, we covered some aspects of how the maintenance of health and the prevention of disease has been proven to go hand in hand with our modern diet.
While eating food is essential for staying alive, proper nutrition is very important if you are going to live a healthy life. In this article, we will explore how you can adapt the modern diet to keep yourself and your family on the right track.
Overhauling Your Modern Diet
As we discovered in part 1, the modern diet is calorie rich and loaded with animal protein and processed carbohydrates which do not contain the essential nutrients that our bodies need to function well. The conundrum is that while we may appear to be eating a lot of food, to the point of suffering from obesity, our bodies are often left undernourished.
One of the main ways to make a modern diet healthier is to reduce or even eliminate high sugar food items. Sugary foods and refined carbohydrates spike your blood sugar, which is bad for your overall health. Replacing sugary foods with proteins will help to curb your sugar cravings and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Eat things like lean chicken, low-fat yoghurt, eggs, nuts and beans.
Another important step is to cut high-fat foods and replace them with fats that are good for the human body such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Sources of monounsaturated fats are canola, olive, peanut and avocado oils and sources of polyunsaturated fats are safflower, sesame and sunflower seeds, corn and soybeans as well as other nuts and seeds, and their oils.
Eat foods high in unsaturated fats like fatty fish – salmon, mackerel and tuna. Also incorporate foods high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats like avocados, nuts and olive oil into your salads as opposed to mayonnaise-based dressings.
Include whole-grain foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables in your daily regime. Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables tend to contain the most valuable nutrients. Orange fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene which is good for your immune system, bone strength and healthy eyes. Purple fruits and vegetables are good for your heart and memory function.
Portion control also plays a valuable role in our overall health and the modern diet has unfortunately made us lose sight of what a proper portion really is. Use these tips to help you stick to eating healthy sized portions.
Serving a meal on a smaller plate will help to keep portion sizes to a reasonable amount per sitting. The illusion of a full plate, even though smaller than you may be used to, will trick your brain into making you feel more satisfied.
When serving up a meal, mentally divide your plate into three sections like so - one half of the plate should consist of the vegetable portion. The remaining half of the plate should be divided into two equal halves again. One half should contain protein and the other half a whole-grain starch.
Lastly, always wait for 20 minutes after eating before even considering serving up a second plate of food. This is how long it takes your body to register if it is satisfied or still requires more food. Not only does waiting help you to cut down on the amount of food you consume in a single sitting, but it also combats that regrettable “too full” feeling.
Dr Alain Sanua is a qualified doctor with additional qualifications in Naturopathy and is passionate about finding solutions to boost your overall health. Talk to him today about how you can refine the modern diet to provide you with all the essential nutrients your body needs.