31 Oct Week 1: Your guide to nutrition.
SiSU Health Challenge: Week 1, Nutrition.
Welcome to week one of the SiSU Health Challenge, this week we will discuss nutrition, starting with an introduction to macronutrients. Over the next 4 weeks we will share tailored content and resources to support you in achieving your health goals. Today we start the challenge by exploring nutrition and discussing ways you can nourish yourself to support your health goals and to assist you in seeing the results you would like to see at the end of the month.
Your guide to nutrition, starting with macronutrients.
A crucial component to staying healthy is the food that you consume, and macronutrients are the nutrients that provide energy in our diets. These are protein, fats or carbohydrates. All food that we consume fall into these categories, some foods are higher in fats, protein or carbohydrates. At the end of the day, we look at the different ‘macro’ ratios to determine the kind of fuel your body is running on. For example, diets such as Ketogenic Diets have a higher percentage of fats and are low in carbohydrates, and others focus on having a somewhat balanced approach to these three macronutrients.
There is a myriad of information suggesting different diets that meet certain requirements based on Macronutrients. An important consideration when thinking about these is that every person metabolises carbohydrates, protein or fats differently.
Improving hormone balance with healthy fats.
Fats can help maintain balanced hormone levels that are involved in supporting a healthy appetite, metabolism and concentration levels. Although fats are often seen to be unhealthy, there are actually different kinds of fats that can either positively or negatively affect your health. Fats are incredibly high in energy, helping us to feel vitalised and alert.
According to Rathod, Kale and Joshi (2016), 60% of the human brain is made of fat, with approximately 30% of this being omega-3. Omega-3 fats are the building blocks for trillion of cells that make up our bodies, including all major organs such as the heart, skin, eyes, lungs and kidneys. In addition to supporting mental clarity and healthy brain function, having healthy fats such as omega-3, commonly found in fatty fish such as wild salmon, helps to support a healthy immune and central nervous system (Wysoczanski et al., 2016).
By consuming healthy fats, you will also feel satiated for longer, helping to prevent over-eating and cravings. However, how do you know you are consuming the right kind of fat? Healthy fats are found naturally in fatty fish and plant-based products and are referred to as unsaturated fats. Studies suggest that replacing other forms of fats with natural fats such as those found in avocados, the body is able to better regulate the cells responsible for the body’s response to insulin, helping to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes or insulin resistance (Imamura, et al. 2016). There are two kinds of unsaturated fat; Monounsaturated fats found in foods such as avocados, nuts and vegetable oils (eg olive oil) and Polyunsaturated fats found in foods such as seafood (salmon).
Healthy fats help to fuel your body with a nourishing energy source. Remember to be mindful of substituting unhealthy fats with healthy fats and your body will thank you for it later.
Foods high in healthy fats:
- Wild salmon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Whole Eggs
- Chia Seeds
Get your SiSU Nourish E-Book – Your guide to nourishing your body and mind.
Check out our Nourish E-Book to make the adjustment to conscious eating easier. Plan your weekly meals by selecting healthy recipes and planning ahead. Track your water intake and ensure you’re providing your body with the correct nutritional and hydration to perform your best.
For in-depth eating plans, log in to the SiSU Portal and view our plans and programs.
Please note: Remember to be eligible for the Challenge Prize you must complete a weekly SiSU Health Check. Simply find your nearest SiSU Health Station for your free 4-minute Health Check. View the SiSU Health Challenge Terms and Conditions here.
Imamura F, et al., 2016, Effects of saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and carbohydrate on glucose-insulin homeostasis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled feeding trials. PLoS Medicine.
Wysoczański T, et al, 2016, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and their Role in Central Nervous System – A Review. Current Medicinal Chemistry, 23(8):816-31.
Rathod, R., Kale, A., and Sadhana J., 2016, Novel insights into the effect of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids on brain function, Journal of Biomedical Sciences, 23:17.