The Healthy Trinity: Food, exercise and rest.

In this post, I am going to explain how to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle. There are many of us who every year consider improving our way of life and for this it is necessary to adopt new daily routines. It is important that these changes are progressive for a better adaptation. To do this, three key factors must be taken into account, diet, exercise and rest.

To follow this method, you must follow these three instructions:

1. A balanced diet is one that keeps you in an optimal state. So that it provides you with the necessary amount of energy for the body to function properly and to follow a daily routine without problems. But there is no single balanced diet for everyone, each person has a different energy expenditure depending on the lifestyle they have. Each person must follow individual guidelines adjusted to their requirements. But today I am going to define some basic aspects for you to take into account when designing your diet.

  • Start the day with a balanced breakfast.
  • Variety of foods since you will get the necessary nutrients from all kinds of foods. You must add all the groups: cereals, fruits, vegetables, oils, dairy products, meats … since no food contains all the necessary nutrients by itself.
  • Eat 4-5 meals a day.
  • Drink at least 1.5-2L of water every day.
  • Limit lactose products to 1-2 servings a day.
  • Consume legumes, poultry and fish 3-5 times a week.
  • Reduce your intake of red or high-fat meat.
  • Control the consumption of fried, precooked or battered foods.
  • Avoid drinking sweet drinks with sugar, glucose, sucrose, fructose, aspartame … Less than 10% of the total caloric intake of free sugars, which is equivalent to 50 grams.
  • The intake of alcohol is not recommended.
  • Eat small but varied dishes.
  • Eat sitting down, slowly and chewing your food well.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables at least 400g a day, 3 or 5 servings, of fruits and vegetables, in addition to legumes such as lentils or beans. Also nuts and whole grains such as corn, millet, oats, wheat or brown rice. As tips to easily introduce these foods into your diet, you can include vegetables at all meals, eat raw fruits and vegetables as snacks, and eat fresh fruits and vegetables in season.
  • Carbohydrates, a total of 55-65% per day. Complexes are the most efficient source of energy for the body and should be the most abundant nutrient in a balanced diet. These complex carbohydrates come mainly from cereals and legumes. To a lesser degree from vegetables, greens, seeds and nuts.
  • Control fat consumption to 30% of daily caloric intake. It is recommended to consume unsaturated fats found in fish, nuts, avocado, or sunflower and olive oil. Saturated fats are found in foods like fatty meat, butter, cream, or cheese. In addition, we must take into account and avoid industrial trans fats present in processed foods such as fast food, fried foods, cookies or margarines.
  • Proteins, consume 10-15% daily. To obtain proteins of high biological value, it is necessary either to consume meat or fish, or to combine cereal (75%) + legume (25%) + seeds and nuts.
  • Limit salt intake to a maximum of 5 grams per day, which would be a small spoonful of coffee. The salt should be iodized. Some tips to reduce salt intake may be not adding salt or adding soy sauce. Do not put salt on the table, reduce the consumption of salty snacks and choose products with less sodium content.
  • Vitamins and minerals: the main sources of vitamins and minerals are in the fruit and raw and fresh vegetable elements.

According to the WHO, eating a healthy and balanced diet throughout your life helps you prevent malnutrition, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular accidents, cancer and different conditions.

2. The exercise:

Physical activity consists of recreational or leisure activities, commuting (for example, walking or cycling), occupational activities (i.e. work), housework, games, sports, or scheduled exercises in the context of daily activities, family and community.

In order to improve cardiorespiratory and muscular functions, bone health, reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases and depression. It is recommended that adults 18-64 years old according to the WHO should dedicate at least 150 minutes per week to moderate intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity each week, or an equivalent combination of activities moderate and vigorous.

3. The rest:

The third key to completing this healthy trinity is a good rest. Getting enough sleep and good quality sleep is important. For them I am going to give you some tips to follow and little by little get the rest you deserve.

  • Establish a bedtime schedule. Thus the body prepares for sleep and increases the relaxing effect of it. An adult needs between 7 and 9 hours to rest properly.
  • Exercising as we have seen before helps to have a good night’s rest.
  • Avoid eating and drinking before going to bed to easily fall asleep.
  • Try to have a dark environment at bedtime as it helps the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). Avoid lights, clocks or screens. If it is not possible you can use an eye mask.
  • A warm bath is a good way to relax before going to bed. It also helps to massage your partner and go to the bathroom before bed to avoid waking up during the night.

Good rest is very important since lack of sleep triggers problems such as lack of concentration and may even be a risk factor in chronic and heart diseases.

by: Amelia Serrano.

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