Health & Fitness: Eating Healthy is Far from Rocket Science

By Ashley Aragona on September 02, 2012 from Health & Fitness via Connect-Bridgeport.com

The last time I checked, I wasn’t a rocket scientist.
 
I am a daughter, a wife, a fitness professional, a blogger, a business owner, and a fitness instructor, but “rocket scientist” is not listed on my credentials, nor will it be, anytime in the future. Where I am getting at with this? If I can understand what you need to become a healthier version of yourself, then anybody can.  I meet people every day that say:
 
 “I’d love to come to the gym, but I don’t know what to do,”
 
Or, one of my personal favorites:
 
 “What do you eat?” 
 
While I’d like to think that they really are that interested in what I cook, I realize that the truth is, they’re not. Eating healthy can seem hard; rocket science even, if you will, but here’s where I want to pull the curtain open.
 
 It’s not.
 
Believe me, I know our bodies are amazing wonders, and the processes that go on through them daily are nothing short of spectacular but for the purpose of leading a healthier, active lifestyle, everything we really you need to know can be broken down into three categories and stated into very simple terms from there. So, that is my goal with this series of blog articles I am going to do. In my post today and the following weeks, I am going to touch on the following:
 
Nutrition- The Main Players
  • Carbohydrates- The good and the bad
  • Proteins-Who they are and what they do
  • Fats-The many forms….
Exercise- The components of fitness
  • Cardiovascular Health- Why it’s so important and exercises that aid in making yours better
  • Muscular Strength and Endurance – What these are and how we achieve them
  • Flexibility-Some facts you didn’t know and how you can S T R E T C H yourself in this area
  • Body Composition-What it is, and how you can benefit by knowing yours.
 
So, week one, let’s just jump in… to some carbs! Class is in session!
 
Carbohydrate- Acts as the main source of energy for the body and creates an energy reserve with its storage form, glycogen.
 
Now, you’ve probably heard simple or complex added to the word. So what’s up with that? Well, carbohydrates are divided into two types, simple and complex and this classification is based on their chemical structure and how quickly sugar is digested and absorbed into your body.
 
Stay with me, we’re going to look into it a bit further….
 
Simple carbohydratesare also called simple sugars and are chemically made of one or two sugars. A simple sugar can be just what the name implies, the sugar in your sugar bowl. Things like candy, syrups, and soda are also straightforward examples of simple carbs. Here’s the key thing to take home here:
 
They are absorbed quickly — just think how fast sugar-based candy melts in your mouth.
 
Simple carbs also include foods such as fruit and milk. These are better sources of simple carbs because they contain vitamins and fiber, and also important nutrients that your body needs, like calcium.
 
Complex carbohydratesare also known as starches and are made up of three or more linked sugars. Grains such as bread, pasta, oatmeal and rice are complex carbs, as well as some vegetables like broccoli, corn, legumes such as kidney beans and chick peas. Write this down for the test…
 
They take the longest to digest.
 
So now that you know the basics of what a carb is and the difference between the two classifications, let’s get to the good, the bad and the ugly.
 
While simple carbs provide you with the glucose your body needs, it will be short lived with a spike in sugar and basically become an empty calorie providing you with less nutritional value than many complex carbs. While and apple is better than a piece of candy, broccoli trumps both. Be warned though, not all complex carbs are the same.  Whole grains are not only more nutritious; they are digested slower and are less likely to cause a rush of glucose. White flour and white rice are also complex carbs but they have had all the fibrous goodies stripped out.
 
This will be on the test….
 
If you take anything away from this, please don’t let it be the ability to recite verbatim what a carbohydrate is, although there is no harm in that. I’d rather you be able to understand what a carb does, and the types of carbs that will benefit you in your daily life and help you make a more informed decision for your health.
 
So here's some advice on carbohydrates
  • If you can, skip refined and processed foods altogether
  • Read the label to see if there is added sugar (watch for the "oses")
  • Choose whole grains (oats, whole wheat and brown rice), beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid the lure of low-fat foods, which can contain a sizable amount of calories from sugar
  • Avoid the lure of low-carb foods, which sometimes have more calories from fat
Next week, be prepared to have a “Heart to Heart” because we’ll be discussing your cardiovascular health.
 
Until then,
Yours in health and Fitness
Ashley
 


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