Food and nutrition play a fundamental role in keeping us at our ideal weight. Reaching the perfect weight is not an aesthetic issue but an essential factor to maintain good health.
Medically, the ideal weight for each person is measured by the Body Mass Index. This index is obtained by dividing our weight by our height squared. Our weight will be ideal if our Body Mass Index is at a figure that ranges between 20 and 24.9.
An index above that level is considered overweight, and if it exceeds an index of 30, we would be talking about obesity.
Food and nutrition are not the same.
Food and nutrition are terms that go together, but they are not the same. While food refers to the intake of liquid or solid substances, nutrition is how our body transforms these substances into components that make our body work, that is, into nutrients.
To improve our body’s health and nutritional status, our eating habits must be adequate. In this sense, the Mediterranean diet offers many beneficial properties for health. On the one hand, this eating pattern promotes the consumption of olive oil, fish, and nuts. On the other hand, its recipes offer a balanced proportion of the primary nutrients (cereals and vegetables as the base of the dishes and meats or similar as a “side dish”). It also highlights the richness in micronutrients it contains, resulting from the use of seasonal vegetables, aromatic herbs, and condiments.
How does food affect our health?
Overweight and obesity, caused by incorrect eating habits, put our health at risk and are among the causes of numerous pathologies:
- Respiratory problems
- osteoarthritis, osteoporosis
- Issues in the musculoskeletal system ( back, legs, hips)
- Heart and brain pathologies
- gynecological problems
Food and nutrition: false myths
Despite having within our reach products for a healthy diet that guarantees adequate nutrition, our diet contains an excess of fat, sugar, and salt, which only makes us increase our weight and run the risk of worsening our health.
We often consume products or adopt habits in our diet, thinking that they are beneficial for our health, but in reality, they are nothing more than false myths. To take care of our health and develop healthy eating and nutrition guidelines, we have to start by unseating some false claims:
“You have to eat everything but in small quantities.”
A healthy diet does not consist of eating everything. Precisely, adequate food and nutrition should be based on eating many things (fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes) and significantly reducing others (sugar, saturated fats) that do not give us as much value.
“Carbohydrates make you fat,” “fruit makes you fat because it has a lot of sugar.”
We must dislodge the idea that it is better to eliminate these food groups for healthy eating and nutrition. The fruit contains a beneficial sugar that is in no way similar, neither in quantity nor in components, to refined sugar. The caloric intake of carbohydrates will depend on what we accompany it with. A salad with sauces, fatty cheese, and other dressings is much caloric (and less nutritious) than a plate of pasta with vegetables.
“Drink two liters of water a day, lose weight.”
Water is necessary for our health and is the basis of a healthy diet and nutrition, but it does not have slimming powers. Half of the water needed for the proper functioning of our body we already obtain from food, and the other half will depend on our daily needs and our degree of activity.
“If I eat light foods, I can eat more.”
Knowing what we are eating is also part of proper food and nutrition. Always take a moment to read product labels since light refers to a product with its sugar or fat-reduced (replaced by sweeteners and other ingredients), but it doesn’t have to mean low in calories or fat. In any case, processed foods, whether light or not, are not recommended in a healthy diet.
Towards a healthy life
To avoid obesity and combat the risk of disease, we have to follow three basic principles, forgetting all the false myths about food and nutrition:
- Eliminate the intake of foods with added sugars and saturated fats and avoid processed foods and reduce salt intake.
- Increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables, cereals (if they are whole grains, better), and legumes.
- Perform physical activity for at least thirty minutes a day. In addition to correct food and nutrition guidelines, physical exercise prevents being overweight and benefits our health.
At IMQ, we have specialized care in Endocrinology and Nutrition in all our health insurances. Consult our offer of specialties and put yourself in the hands of the best experts in food and nutrition.