The benefits of good nutrition (and where to start)
Chronic health and mental health conditions such as hypertension, high-cholesterol, diabetes, depression and anxiety very often have something in common. It’s not that they are all wide spread issues most of us have had some direct or indirect exposure to (though this is true); it is that people with these problems usually eat very few serves of fruits and vegetables. This begs the question, is the contrary true? The answer is yes. There is a significant relationship between those who consume higher serve of fruits and vegetables having lower incidence of depression, anxiety and chronic health conditions. This alone speaks volumes towards the benefit of good nutrition and maybe even places a little perspective on why getting your 2 and 5 is so important.
Nutrition is an endless topic, with so many avenues of great depth to explore, so it makes sense when making changes to start somewhere both general and highly accessible.
Improving fruit intake
Fruit is the perfect snack; it is transportable, convenient and even a little sweet. I would recommend either adding fruit breakfast, or using it as an in between meal snack. What about frozen fruit? If you are someone who doesn’t like waste or have the time it takes to cut up your fruit, frozen fruit is a great option. Often frozen fruit and vegetables are frozen very close to their site of harvest which means they retain so much of their nutrition.
Improving vegetable intake
Vegetables can seem a little trickier to incorporate so to make it easy, focus on your evening meal first. How does your plate look? One of the simplest and easiest strategies to better your health and improve vegetable intake is to aim for half your plate, visually represented by vegetables or salad. The next step then is to use these ‘visual ratios’ at your lunch time meals as well.
The pictures below highlights well what adults should be aiming for and as you can see there isn’t one food group that is restricted or cut out. For those of you looking to lose weight the benefits are, as you shift to a slightly higher intake of vegetables, and inadvertently change other meal portions you are actually decreasing the overall calorie content of the meal. Simple, but effective.
The bottom line is the benefits we get from our nutrition and diet come from the things we are doing regularly and consistently. Small changes don’t often feel like they are achieving much but the truth is these changes are the easiest build into our habits and as a result have the greatest effect long term.
-Matthew Morby, Accredited Practising Dietitian
If you would like some more detailed assistance with any aspect of your diet, speak with your personal trainer or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment with Matthew or another one of our dietitians.