The foundation of healthy eating according to the recent Canadian’s Dietary Guidelines

28 Aug 2020 no comments admin_seletpoivre

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is right, medicine is of no need.

We all know how important our diet is to our overall health and how the dietary choices we make on a regular basis form our patterns of eating. Since our childhood we’ve been told to eat our vegetables, that drinking milk helps build strong bones, that there’s only four categories of food (meat and substitutes, dairy and substitutes, fruits and vegetables and cereals), etc. Nowadays, this information seems outdated or oversimplified and clearly doesn’t reflect the eating habits of the population according to the 2019 Canadian Dietary Guidelines. Indeed, the rules of healthy eating have changed, and our understanding of nutrition has drastically improved since the last Canadian Dietary Guidelines. Here are the main points that you need to know :

  • Nutritious foods are the foundation for healthy eating and should be consumed regularly. This includes food such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein foods

Nutritious foods are foods that contain a high amount of essential nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc. Regularly eating these types of food have been shown to have a protective effect in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, including risk factors such as high blood pressure and elevated blood lipids (LDL-cholesterol).

  • Nutritious food can be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried

Frozen, canned, or dried foods (such as legumes) are always convenient options, especially when fresh food is out of season, costly, unavailable, or takes too long to prepare.

  • Among protein foods, plant-based food should be consumed more often than animal-based food. This includes food such as legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, etc.

While many animal-based foods are nutritious, the Canadian’s Dietary Guidelines emphasizes more on plant-based foods. That is because patterns of eating that emphasize plant-based foods typically result in higher intakes of dietary fibers and vegetables and fruits which are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease as well as higher intakes of nuts and soy protein which are associated with decreased LDL-cholesterol.

  • Foods that contain mostly saturated fat should be replaced by foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat. This includes food such as fish, plant-based oils, nuts, etc.

The type of fat consumed over time is more important for health than the total amount of fat consumed. There is convincing evidence that lowering the intake of saturated fat by replacing it with unsaturated fat decreases total and LDL-cholesterol. Elevated LDL-cholesterol is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease.  

  • Water should be the beverage of choice.

Article written by Yasmine Jemaa.

The one eating principle you need to apply to your every meal, every day. Variety.

28 Aug 2020 no comments admin_seletpoivre

“Choose a variety of healthy foods.” is something we hear too often from our health professionals, but this may sound too vague of a concept for most people to grasp the importance of. Yet, in our world, where dietary advices are countless but sadly not always accurate, this recommendation is above all the one we should be paying more attention to. Why is it vital to eat from a variety of foods? For many reasons :

  • Avoid Nutrient Imbalances

Unfortunately, not one single food contains all the essential nutrients our body needs and even within a specific food group, like vegetables and fruits, different ones offers different nutrients. For example, most citrus fruits are high in vitamin C while most cruciferous vegetables are high in vitamin K and folate.

  • Avoid Excess of Toxins

Just like every food has its unique nutrients, each also has its unique toxicities, most of which are naturally present and others that are added (through pesticides for example). The human body is made to deal with a certain degree of toxins and overtime, it will naturally get rid of those toxins. The risk when eating too much of a specific food is that you might end up overwhelming your body with whatever toxins are in that food which can then cause a buildup and result in health problems.

  • Promote Healthy Gut Bacteria

The human gut houses one of the most complex and abundant ecosystems and is often referred to as the microbiome. It is composed of about 100 trillion bacteria and other organisms that play an extremely important role in many of our bodily function such as our immune system, hormone system and of course, our digestion. The thing is that different species of bacteria eat different things and a variety of bacteria living in our gut is required to fully enjoy the health benefits. Therefore, eating a variety of foods ensures a more balanced microbiome.

  • Enjoy the Food You Eat Everyday

Eating a variety of food is the key to avoid being bored with our diet. Food is meant to be enjoyed and savored. Most people eat three meals a day, so clearly our diet occupies a huge place in our lives, and we ought to make the best of it.

To sum up, variety in our food shouldn’t be complicated, it is about balance and enjoying what we eat overtime.

Article written by Yasmine Jemaa.

What makes a good snack? + Snack ideas

28 Aug 2020 no comments admin_seletpoivre

Snacks are the little pleasures we give ourselves in between long hours of work and a good snack can really make all the difference in how you make it through the day. So, what’s makes a good snack? It is one that’s high in nutritional value but relatively low in calories as well as low in total fat (especially saturated fat and trans-fat) and low in added sugars and sodium. The nutritional value of a food refers to its content in nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, minerals, fibers and more. For example, nuts are high in fat (most of which are unsaturated) and therefore, they are high in calories but they are also loaded with essential nutrients which makes them a healthy snack option as long as you eat with moderation.

While fresh vegetables and fruits are incredibly healthy snacks packed with vitamins and minerals and are usually low in calories and fat, those foods aren’t always convenient (or the tastiest) to carry around all day. You’ll find bellow a list of healthy alternatives you can try that are easy to prepare and delicious :

  • Mixed nuts

While they are high in fats, most of the fat grams in mixed nut products are from beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are also a good source of proteins and contain plenty of healthful phytochemicals, such as phytosterols and lignans. Moderation is in order when eating nuts due to their high calorific value which makes them a great option for a little snack.

  • Granola bar

Granola bars are probably the most popular on-the-go snack due to their unbeatable convenience and their good taste. Although a lot of the snack bars found in stores can be high in sugars (more than 12 grams/portion), a few other options offer a product that emphasize more on the goodness of whole grains and nuts rather than the sweetness aspect.

  • Energy balls

These are the new hype and once you try them, you’ll understand why. Energy balls, no-bake balls, protein balls…whatever people call them, they are simply delicious and are a good source of healthy carbs and fats, proteins and are usually high in fibers. Depending on the ingredients, each ball offers you around 100-250 calories. Easily portable, these treats truly are the ideal healthy on-the-go snack for your days at work, school or before/after the gym.

  • Homemade muffins

While homemade muffins require more efforts and time to prepare, they are totally worth the trouble. When you prepare your snacks at home, you can control better what goes into them and that usually translate to a more nutritious food with less sodium, sugars, and fats.

Article written by Yasmine Jemaa.