Do you feel like your New Year’s resolutions just slip away year after year? Well don’t throw in the towel just yet; you can still get back on track by simply focusing on nutrition. You may not know this, but Nutrition has lasting benefits that go beyond the scale and plays a vital role in one’s commitment to health.(1)
Here, Abbott experts give you five effective ways to get back on the path to success by putting your nutrition plan first.(1)
Although weight loss is best achieved with a balanced combination of Nutrition and Exercise, it is important think of Nutrition first if you find Exercise to be too big a hill to climb.
According to a study, when comparing diet to exercise alone, they found that a healthy diet leads to significantly more weight loss than exercise, as well as more loss of fat mass over muscle mass. A great first step to creating a healthier you is to find ways to maintain a healthy, balanced diet with the right nutrients, says nutrition experts.
Since an increase in exercise increases your body’s nutrient needs, “A balanced diet can energize your day and fuel your workouts,” say experts. This makes nutrition a top priority that helps you power through whatever your day may bring.(1)
If done properly, “stress eating” might not actually be a bad thing. Certain nutrients, namely omega-3, vitamin E and polyphenols, that are found in blueberries and — you guessed it, dark chocolate, canreduce the negative effects of stress on your body.(1,2)
“Nutrients from healthy foods can help improve blood flow, which in turn combats the effects of stress,” says one of Abbott’s scientists. “A healthy diet has a ‘cascading effect’ on the brain because the improved blood flow helps deliver key nutrients to the brain.”
In addition, you can build a solid foundation for your body with a healthy diet containing nutrients such as anti-oxidants that may help in reducing oxidation and inflammation(1)
The human body is roughly 60 percent water and keeping it well hydrated helps it function properly. But did you know that simply drinking water before a meal can trim your waistline? According to a study, water “preloading” before meals led to moderate weight loss.
In addition to its potential weight-loss benefits, the most obvious benefit of proper intake of water is that it wards off dehydration. According to a chief science officer at Abbott, dehydration can lead to fatigue and hinder concentration. Water also helps your body maintain fluid levels and flushes out wastes. On average, women need 11.4 glasses, or 2.7 litres of water each day, and men need 15.6 glasses, or 3.7 litres. However, that water can come from multiple sources, including fruits, juices, vegetables, buttermilk and even coffee.(3)
Hydration becomes even more crucial during exercise.Dehydration can lead to a drop in blood volume, which can cause muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue and heat illnesses, say experts. So if you’ve set yourself on the path to fitness with both diet and exercise, ensure you keep yourself well hydrated during your workouts.(1,2)
Tastes change as we age and so do our nutrition needs, so the nutrients that fuelled your 20- and 30-year old body may no longer be used or absorbed in the same way.
As we age, we need to tailor our food choices. This means eating more nutrient-dense foods, says a registered dietician for Abbott. These include colourful fruits and vegetables, fat-free milk and cheese, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds, according to NINguidelines.
Keeping an eye on food choices, calorie counts and the different nutrients necessary for a healthy diet can help ward off malnutrition, which can hinder your ability to recover from an illness.(1,3)
Healthy choices made at mealtimes can make an impact on your health in more ways than one as your diet also contributes to your reproductive health.
In fact, proper nutrition impacts a woman’s reproductive health beginning as early as puberty, according to new research from the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO). That’s because by the time a girl is born, she has all the eggs she’ll have in her entire lifetime, says a pediatric nutrition scientist at Abbott. “It’s possible for nutrition to impact egg quality at any point, from a woman’s own conception and birth to the time she conceives her own children,” says the expert.(1,4)
According to guidelines from FIGO, common nutrient deficiencies in adolescent girls and young women include iron, iodine, folic acid, Vitamin B12, calcium and Vitamin D. Women should make an effort to include foods rich in these nutrients in their diets, such as dark leafy greens, milk and milk products, fortified cereals, fish and tofu.
It’s never too late to start focusing on your diet by incorporating healthy foods with the proper nutrients even if good nutrition hasn’t been a priority in the past.
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