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Mix up your diet and optimise your health

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Looking Good Feeling Great

Author: Matt Wagstaff, Posted: Saturday, 24th February 2018, 09:00

Varied Diet

What you eat and drink along with what you avoid consuming is often the main stay of a person’s health and wellbeing. People can often be very passionate and strict about their diet or conversely not give a care in the world where their calories come from. There are a number of different dietary trends and interventions, which often have bold claims, however I believe it’s very individual – certain foods may sit well with one person and poorly with another. Trial and error is fairly key here, apart from if you have a known allergy or intolerance.

Certain elimination diets have become popular lately, specifically wheat free or lactose free diets. These are often followed in order to either reduce high consumption of a certain food group such as carbohydrates, or to explore gastro-intestinal reactions to reducing a potential reactional food group. It is worth exploring these diets with a nutritional expert in order to assess which foods you consume and what maybe related to your personal reaction, whether that’s bloating, weight gain or skin rashes.

It is vital to make sure you consume good levels of micro and macro nutrients during elimination diets. Each nutrient has a role within the body, such as protein for repair, and vegetarian or vegan diets can become relatively low in protein, so it’s a good idea to explore alter-native foods to suit your diet.

Fasting style diets involve halting the consumption of mainly food products and anything but water for a sustained duration, whether that be for 12 hours or 24. These diets are proposed to help restore hormones, allow time for gut healing and restoration, and even help prevent neurological and cardiac diseases.
It’s worth starting slowly with these diets – begin by fasting for for two days then build that up. You can also experiment with the time at which you fast; whether 7am until 3pm works, or if you workout in the morning, 12pm until 8pm may be better. Be careful when exercising fasted, as energy stores could be low, which can lead to dizziness and exhaustion.

Flexible dieting is a type of diet which can take many forms, whether you perform four fasting days and three normal eating days per week, or you alter the amount of calories or perhaps carbohydrates you consume dependant on how much exercise you do or how busy your day is. Athletes can often benefit from this diet to suit their training schedules, consuming less calories from certain foods on non-training days to avoid gaining undue weight which may not be burned off, and to increase muscle repair through increased protein consumption following increased intensity training.

A detox style diet will involve a reduction of a type of food group or solely eating one type of food or drink. One example is a smoothie detox, where only high fruit and nutrient based smoothies are consumed for a week or sometimes longer. These diets have certain benefits, such as helping us focus more on what we are eating, and often reducing common ‘bad’ foods. However, no research has shown big benefits on actually ‘detoxing’ the body – we have systems for that such as the liver, skin and kidneys.

Choosing a variable, fresh and colourful diet is often best, and occasional flexible, elimination or fasting interventions can be beneficial. However, always be sure to keep on top of your nutrients as they all have a role in how the body runs, heals and supports us.

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