[vc_row enable_grid_lines=””][vc_column][vc_column_text] In a time with an abundance of labels and new trends it can be hard to know what “good nutrition” means. Despite what you may have heard from an Instagram influencer or Tiktok video, there is no single type of diet that is best for everyone. Everyone has different needs based on factors such as age, weight, activity level and health status. There are, however, basic nutritional requirements for a healthy diet.
Carbohydrates are needed to supply energy to cells in the brain, nervous system, and blood. Muscles also get most of their energy from carbohydrates during high-intensity exercise.
- whole grains, fruits and vegetables
- ~ 45-65% of total daily calories
Proteins are needed to form muscle and bones as well as parts of the blood, enzymes and some hormones. Protein can also be a source of energy.
- meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, legumes and nuts.
- daily intake ~ 0.8 g/kg of bodyweight
Fats help insulate the body and support the organs. Fats also help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. During rest and light physical activity fat is the main fuel source for the body.
- animal products, fish, nuts, seeds
- ~ 20-35% of total daily calories * mostly unsaturated fats
Vitamins are critical for regulating processes within the body’s cells including utilizing energy from macronutrients.
- Ex., vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin A
Minerals are important for regulating functions of the body, growth and maintenance of tissues, and also help utilize energy.
- Ex., calcium, iron, magnesium
Health Canada’s Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are recommended intake levels for each micronutrient that vary by gender and age group.
The body is composed of 50-60% water. Water is often overlooked as a part of healthy nutrition. However it has many functions including digestion and absorption of food, regulating body temperature, and making up blood and other fluids in the body. Recommendations are set by age group and also vary with activity level.
- Men ~ 3.7 L a day with 3.0 L from beverages
- Women ~ 2.7 L a day with 2.2 L coming from beverages
Good nutrition does not have to be complicated, and it does not mean only one type of diet. Following the set recommendations and choosing whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and animal or plant proteins will lead to a balanced diet including all essential nutrients. If you have more specific goals such as losing body fat or gaining muscle you can modify your diet accordingly. We will address how to modify your nutrition to meet these goals in our next article.
Kait Clarke is a graduate of Algonquin College’s Fitness and Health Promotion Program and she is a CSEP Certified Personal Trainer. She also has a graduate certificate in Nutrition for Sport and Performance at Niagara College. Her goal as a personal trainer is to create a compassionate and comfortable environment for her clients to thrive. You can find Kait training clients out of our Glebe location.