Many people tell me they eat healthfully all the time, but what does eating healthy really mean? Healthy eating entails knowing how much protein, fat, carbohydrates, sugar, water, and sodium intake is needed on a daily basis based on one’s Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR); especially if you exercise daily, expend calories and trying to lose weight. Everyone should know their BMR to understand how many calories needed for body maintenance, support, and optimal health. Check out this free BMR calculator to see what your rate is. Now that you know your rate, what does it really mean for you and your diet?
The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is how many calories are burned while your body is at rest during the average day. This metabolic rate is determined by how many cells are producing oxidative energy. A low basal metabolic rate means any calories you consume above your unique basal metabolic rate are unnecessary to supporting your everyday activities and will be converted into storage, otherwise known as fat. The BMR is the amount of energy your body requires every day to perform its most basic functions including: breathing, digesting, heart beating, muscle activity, transportation of fluids and tissue, and circulation of blood. One should always intake their BMR amount of calories so the body does not begin to cannibalize muscle. Since the heart, liver lungs, and other body parts are composed of muscle, consuming a daily diet below one’s BMR is detrimental to one’s health.
We need carbohydrates in our diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of total daily calories. So, if you consume 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should come from carbohydrates. That calculates between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Carbohydrates are broken into two categories: simple and complex. The majority of carbohydrates we consume should come from complex carbohydrates. They take longer to digest and are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. These are found in vegetables, whole grain breads and pasta, oatmeal, legumes, brown rice and wheat pasta. Simple carbohydrates are composed of simple-to-digest, basic sugars with little real value for your body. They are higher in sugar and lower in fiber. Some fruits and vegetables are simple carbohydrates — still composed of basic sugars, although they are drastically different from other foods in this category like cookies, cakes, sodas, candy, and white rice and bread. The fiber in fruits and vegetables changes the way the body processes their sugars and slows down their digestion, making them a bit more like complex carbohydrates.
Healthy fat consumption is also a must – reduce saturated fat and consume more unsaturated fat. Fat provides 9 calories per gram. For example, you would need 36 to 62 grams of fat when consuming a 1,600-calorie diet per day; 44 to 78 grams if eating a 2000-calorie diet per day, and 58 to 101 grams of fat when consuming 2,600 calories per day.
Protein is an important part of a well-balanced diet too. The Dietary Reference Intake, or DRI,0 is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound (1). This amounts to 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man and 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman. You would add more protein if you exercise because the more you exercise, the more protein the body needs to help build muscle.
For sodium, the recommended serving is 1500 mg which amounts to 0.75 teaspoons or 3.75 grams of salt per day, while 2300 mg amounts to one teaspoon or 6 grams of salt per day. Most people today are eating much more. The average intake of sodium is about 3400 mg, most of it coming from processed foods. For a healthy switch try Himalayan Sea Salt to negate bad effects of regular table salt.
This Himalayan Crystal Salt is far superior to traditional iodized salt. It is millions of years old and pure, untouched by many toxins and pollutants that pervade other ocean salts. Himalayan Crystal Salt contains the same 84 minerals and elements found in the human body. Its salt’s unique cellular structure allows it to store vibrational energy and its minerals exist in a colloidal form, meaning they are tiny enough for our cells to easily absorb. Himalayan Sea and Crystal Salts will also help lower high blood pressure. You can find it in most health food stores.
Sugar is the culprit of all deal breakers when it comes to eating healthy. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), to remain healthy, the maximum amount of added sugars one should consume daily is: 150 calories per day (36 grams or nine teaspoons) for men and 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons) for women. I like the American Heart Association’s recommendation for sugar intake because it has stricter guidelines.
Last but not least, water intake should be constant and throughout the day, try drinking half your body weight in water ounces. If you exercise, drink alcohol, or it is hot outside, drink more water to stay hydrated. The body needs protein and water to build muscle. Muscle is more than 80 percent protein on a dry weight basis. In a living, moving body, skeletal muscle is more than 70 percent water. Body hydration is imperative to optimal health.
So you think you practice healthy eating. Hopefully this information will steer you in the right direction as you plan your meals and exercise regimens to reach that optimal level of healthy living. Remember, health is 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent exercise.