The main is aim as a London nutritionist is to get people achieving their best health through optimum nutrition. This means making sure people get the best possible intake of nutrients through their diet to allow them to be as healthy as possible. We want to optimise our nutrition intake through our diet to help promote our mental performance, improve our physical performance, increase our lifespan and reduce the chances of getting ill. Everyone is unique and different and will have their own nutrition requirements to be healthy. People will also follow different diets and some will be vegetarian or vegan, others may be gluten free, some will follow a keto diet so there is never a one size fits all approach to health and nutrition, however, there are some general guidelines we can all follow.
A Balanced Diet
The first thing anyone needs to do is follow a balanced diet. Most people think they already do this, however, the majority of these people are failing to get the necessary levels of vitamins, minerals, essential fats and complex carbohydrates from their diet to be as healthy as possible. To get the best nutrition from our food we should aim to get no more than 65% of our daily calories from carbohydrates. When it comes to carbohydrates though there are many different varieties and sadly the majority of people have too many simple carbohydrates which break down to sugar in our blood streams really quickly causing blood sugar spikes and reactions that underpin so many issues including diabetes and heart disease. The carbohydrates we should be eating more of our complex ones, which means the break down slowly and therefore don’t give us the blood sugar spikes. Good food sources of complex carbohydrates include wholegrain breads, pasta, rice, beans, lentils and not forgetting fruits and vegetables.
Another key element of our diet is fat and we should be getting 20% of our daily calories from fat. However, it is not the fat that most of us consume each day. Fop optimum nutrition and health we want to be consuming healthy fats known as unsaturated. Good sources of unsaturated fats are oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovy, sardines and herring, avocados, nuts and seeds and extra virgin olive oil.
Drink More Water
Finally there is protein, and for optimum health and nutrition 15% of our daily calories from our diet should be protein. Protein is essential and is the building block of almost everything in the body and we need it to grow and repair our muscles, skin, hair and nails. Most people know of protein coming from meat and fish but it is also available from vegetarian sources such as tofu, beans, lentils and quinoa. Obviously, it can also be increased in the diet through protein powders which can be added to our diets through smoothies and shakes.
Some of the other factors to consider for better nutrition and health is to increase variety of fruits and vegetables. The different colours and flavours of our fruits and vegetables are all caused by different nutrients and vitamins and minerals. The greater variety of fruits and vegetables and different colours we can eat each week the more nutrients, vitamins and minerals we’ll be getting. Fibre is also an element of the diet we just don’t get enough of. Fibre is key for keeping a healthy digestive system which is at the core of all other body functions. The brain can’t function properly without a healthy gut. We should all be having 30g of fibre a day but the average intake is only 18g. To increase the amount of fibre in the diet eat more wholegrain foods, vegetables, lentils and pulses.
Finally, along with the nutrition we get from our food we need to ensure we get enough water too. 70% of the body is made up of water and there is not a single bodily function that can work properly without water. So to achieve optimum health you not only need all the benefits of good nutrition but also good hydration. Everyone should be drinking 1.5 to 2 litres of water every day.
These are the foundations of the diet and lifestyle approaches that as a nutritionist, Helen takes with all of her clients to help them achieve their best health through optimum nutrition.
Helen is a qualified nutritionist based in London and working across UK and is the owner of Helen Jane nutrition. Helen helps clients every day overcome a variety of health issues such as diabetes, IBS, menopause, arthritis, high blood pressure and cholesterol as well as supporting people to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way. Diet and nutrition are the main ways in which Helen helps, however there are also many other lifestyle factors involved including supporting people to get better sleep, exercise in a way that suits them and how to deal with stress.