We all want to look good and feel good - but often resort to taking short-cuts in our diets due to our fast-paced urban lifestyles, neglecting the foundations of balanced nutrition. How can we achieve this balance in our diets or are we more focused on other concerns like weight-loss and energy flows?
Some people view nutrition as a means to consume and expand the same amount of calories to maintain a consistent weight instead of to optimize their body functions. While body weight is important, it is only one factor. You can also reap the benefits of balanced nutrition with healthier skin, joints and brain, maintain your ideal body weight, and have good digestion.
According to the World Health Organization, “A healthy diet can protect the human body against certain types of diseases, in particular noncommunicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and skeletal conditions.” In short: it helps you to look good, and feel good!
Sounds simple, right? On the contrary, a recent Herbalife Asia Pacific Balanced Nutrition Survey reaffirmed that it was easier said than done. Over a third of respondents felt that adopting a balanced nutrition approach was not easy with urban lifestyles, as consumers tend to choose ready-meals instead of making proper nutrition choices.
As you may know, a healthy balanced diet should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts, without too much sugar or salt to provide a good combination of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fat, along with vitamins and fiber. As a guiding principle, Herbalife Nutrition stands by a "4-3-3" philosophy of balanced nutrition – with an ideal diet comprising 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fats, along with vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber and water. The survey showed that while the average respondents’ diet was close to this ratio, it was deeply lacking in fruits, vegetables, dietary fiber and proper hydration.
What’s causing this? Not surprisingly, respondents indicated that the top two obstacles preventing them from adopting balanced nutrition are lack of time and motivation.
Contrary to popular belief, while it does take effort to kick-start a positive nutrition habit, it is not difficult to integrate it into your life with planning and support.
Here are some practical tips that you can incorporate in your journey to achieving balanced nutrition:
1. Map out your nutrition journey: Understand your own body’s nutrition needs and goals – whether it is to gain, lose, or maintain weight is as important as your age, height, gender, lifestyle, and overall general health. If you’re unsure where to start, get support from health experts and groups. The survey findings showed that over a third of respondents agreed that if they had expert advice for a personalized nutrition plan, they were more motivated to adopt a balanced nutrition approach.
2. Place healthier choices within reach: Review the circumstances behind your food choices. Did you succumb to quick-foods as it is the most convenient? Over half (56%) of survey respondents revealed that easier access to healthier food choices would make it easier to have a balanced nutrition. On your next shopping trip, stock up on healthy fruits, vegetables and snacks and keep them within reach. Then, choose the healthiest way of preparing your meals, such as steaming or broiling instead of deep-frying. Also make a mental note of healthier food options when eating out.
Be mindful to avoid highly refined foods such as white rice, bread and products made with white flour such as cakes and cookies. Meat is one protein source, though high levels of saturated fat may raise cholesterol. Instead, try fish, especially oily fish, legumes and beans. If you are time-pressed, a protein shake can serve as a good meal replacement.
3. Find strength in numbers: Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can help you to reach your exercise and nutrition goals. The survey findings affirm this with 35% of respondents agreeing that being with like-minded people helps them to stay on track. The British Journal of Sports Medicine also found that people who regularly walk in groups have lower blood pressure, resting heart rate and total cholesterol. As a start, join or organize a walking group with friends, neighbors or colleagues and build your own support system.
With the health benefits of exercise in mind, some Herbalife independent members have opened nutrition clubs where they provide a supportive environment for people interested in leading healthy, active lifestyles. At these clubs, people gather to share exercise tips and consume science-based wellness products developed by Herbalife Nutrition under the guidance of more than 300 scientists, 36 of them Ph.D.s.
As you embark on your own nutrition journey, don’t forget to review your needs from time to time. After all, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Soon, you'll feel better with improved energy and vitality, and friends and family may notice that you're looking better!
Dr. Rocio Medina is a former professor of nutrition and obesity and, with other professors, designed a program of study in these areas at the University of Monterrey in Mexico, to help prepare professionals in this field. She is also Herbalife Vice President, Worldwide Nutrition Training, and a member of Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board, responsible for setting the strategic direction of educating and training Independent Herbalife Members and members of the public on the principles of nutrition, physical activity and healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Medina was recently in the Philippines as guest NAB speaker for Herbalife Nutrition’s 2017 Asia Pacific (APAC) Wellness Tour. The country was the last stop of her five-city APAC tour which include Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Cambodia
Herbalife Asia Pacific Balanced Nutrition Survey was conducted in February 2017 with 6,000 respondents aged 18 years of age and above across 12 markets in Asia Pacific: Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, India, Japan, Taiwan, and Malaysia.
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