By Elliot Fisher MS, CSCS, PES, NSCA-CPT
Our health and longevity is important. Both exercise and proper diet are essential for our health.
One of the most important factors for our health is being at a healthy body weight and body fat percentage. Shooting for a normal BMI (18.5-24.9) is optimal but can be unrealistic for many people. Having an overweight BMI (25-29.9) can be healthy as long as you're active and have good body composition.
To keep yourself at a healthy weight you need to make sure you’re eating an appropriate amount of calories to stay in a healthy range. Probably around 1500-3000 calories for most people.
You also need to make sure you’re eating enough protein to maintain or build muscle. Around 1 gram per pound of bodyweight is usually a good target. If you’re obese that formula can be too much. You can also opt to eat 1 gram of protein per cm of height which usually works better for heavier individuals.
Omega 3 fatty acids are critical for our health. Either taking a fish oil supplement or eating fatty fish is a good way of hitting your omega 3 intake daily. Shoot for about 1 gram of EPA/DHA mix per day. Or you can eat a fatty fish like salmon twice a week.
Fiber is really important for our health as well. It is important for gut health and staying regular. Fiber can also decrease LDL cholesterol and helps manage blood sugar. High fiber diets are also associated with lower cancer risk. Shooting for either 30 grams/day or 10 grams/1000 calories eaten per day is a good target. More is often better. Too much can be a problem with digestion though. Try not to go over 60-70 grams/day as a rough estimate.
Next, fruits and vegetables are good for getting enough vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and polyphenols in our diet. Try to get 3 servings of both fruits and 3 servings of vegetables per day. I personally track a servings of fruit or vegetables as 100 grams or one unit. So think 100 grams of blueberries, strawberries, or grapes versus 1 apple, 1 orange, or 1 kiwi.
Lastly, monounsaturated fats are really health promoting as well. This includes foods like olive oil, avocado, macadamia nuts, etc. These fats have positive effects on cholesterol as well as are nutrient dense. Fats are high calorie so make sure not to overeat these foods. Try to get one serving or more per day depending on your calories.
For more information on nutrition check out my one on one coaching.