What is Nutritional Guidance?
Going far beyond the ability to keep the body alive, food plays an essential role in everyone’s health. It is through eating the correct foods that the body receives the nutrients, vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain optimal functioning, including preventing diseases such as anemia, obesity, type 2 diabetes, stroke and many others.
The area of nutrition had its roots between the periods of world wars, between the First and Second World Wars. In 1926, Pedro Escudero established the National Institute of Nutrition, playing a seminal role in introducing the field of nutritional studies to Latin America. However, it was only in 1939 that the first course focused on this area was opened in Brazil.
Nutritional guidance is a process by which patients are helped to select and implement desirable nutrition and lifestyle behaviors. The method can also be called nutritional education or advice, always carried out by a professional.
What is Nutritional Guidance for?
The main objective of nutritional guidance is to promote the patient’s health and well-being. It fully considers the individual’s uniqueness, incorporating their routine, culinary preferences, level of physical activity and other relevant aspects. A quality diet plays a preventive role against illnesses, amplifies the quality of life and contributes effectively to the individual’s goals. Only through appropriate monitoring will a person be able to develop a safe and efficient plan, culminating in sustainable results.
Dietary re-education does not aim for immediate results, as the brain needs time to adapt. With adaptation, the body responds gradually, providing lasting benefits. This includes improvements in physical and mental performance, weight loss, hormonal balance, reduced anxiety, a sense of well-being and greater longevity, among others.
What is the importance of Nutritional Guidance?
Brazilians’ life expectancy has increased in recent decades and, as a result, eating habits have been shaped, thanks to concerns about quality of life. Today Brazil is ranked 4th in the world when it comes to the consumption of healthy foods. On the other hand, today the greatest search for nutritional guidance is related to weight reduction, since, according to the Ministry of Health, data shows that obesity affects 6.7 million people in Brazil.
Obesity is a chronic condition that has gradually become a global epidemic. Its etiology is multifactorial and treatment is complex, involving diet, physical exercise, drugs and, in more serious cases, surgery. Dietary planning for individuals with obesity must be flexible and individualized and must encourage appropriate and healthy eating practices. To achieve significant therapeutic success, it is essential to combine nutritional intervention with systematic physical exercise.
Nutritional guidance is aimed both at people with health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, cancer, high cholesterol and gastritis, related to inadequate food choices, and for those seeking a healthy lifestyle.
Adopting healthy eating habits from a young age brings beneficial results that surpass the effectiveness of medical treatments needed to deal with chronic diseases in aging. Furthermore, adequate nutrition has positive impacts on physiological well-being from an early age, reinforcing the link between nutrition and health.
How is Nutritional Guidance provided?
A nutritionist is a health specialist who has academic training in nutrition. Their responsibilities include nutritional guidance, providing guidelines on the appropriate balance between nutrients and calories, and recommending supplements when necessary. On the other hand, endocrinologists and nutritionists are doctors specialized in the analysis and treatment of hormonal changes and metabolic imbalances, offering a more comprehensive scope of care for the patient as a whole.
In addition to being up to date with your routine appointments and exams, it is important to adopt habits that go beyond diet. Below are some tips:
Always be on the move:
Practicing physical exercise protects and improves the immune system, strengthens bone and muscle structure, prevents joint issues, increases flexibility and functional fitness;
Stay away from cigarettes:
According to INCA, smoking is linked to around 50 diseases, including various types of cancer, respiratory, cardiovascular and digestive problems, affecting quality of life;
Control your alcohol consumption:
Alcohol consumption is linked to more than 200 diseases and injuries to the body, including mental disorders, addiction, serious illnesses such as cirrhosis and cancer, as well as injuries from violence and traffic accidents;
Take care of your mental health:
Having mental health is essential and indispensable so that you can claim that you are in full and complete health. Therefore, practice self-care, maintain a balance between responsibilities and leisure activities, and set aside time to connect with family and friends. This will do you a lot of good;
How to improve your diet?
One of the crucial elements in achieving a balanced diet involves creating meals that encompass all the essential elements for the healthy functioning of the body, including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
A well-balanced dish should incorporate:
- Carbohydrates: options such as rice (whole grain, multigrain, red, black, white), potatoes (white, sweet), cassava, cassava, corn and pasta (traditional, wholemeal);
- Proteins: sources such as lean meats, chicken, fish and eggs (prepared as an omelet, boiled or scrambled);
- Fats boas: avoid the use of oils, give preference to olive oil, include nuts and avocado in your routine, also in small quantities;
- Vitamins, minerals and fiber: inclusion of both raw and cooked vegetables and fruits;
By understanding which foods belong to each nutritional group, it becomes considerably simpler to make conscious food choices and determine the appropriate proportion of each component in each meal.
In addition to the contents of your plate, we have tips for simple changes to your routine and habits that favor the way we eat:
- Focus on your diet and always chew very slowly, savoring the food;
- Drink 1 to 2 liters of water per day, but do not exceed 200 ml during main meals;
- Eat meals in quiet places, away from the TV and computer;
- Divide your meals (5 to 6 times a day) and always respect the recommended times and quantities;
- It is not necessary to radically exclude any food;
- Follow the order of foods on your menu guided by the professional, as this will help you reduce your hunger.
In general, to have a balanced and healthy nutrition there are five principles that must be followed:
- Adequacy: Food must be adjusted according to individual needs.
- Quality: The dietary plan must be comprehensive, meeting the body’s requirements for proper functioning of the body.
- Amount: Food portions at each meal must be sufficient to meet the body’s energy demands.
- Harmonia: Food selection must ensure a proportional balance between quality and quantity, promoting a balanced diet.
- Variety: Choose a variety of foods, modifying your menu daily and incorporating different nutrients each day.
Adequate nutrition is essential for health, directly impacting life expectancy. Diverse and nutritious eating patterns promote a long and healthy life, while unbalanced models based on processed foods can result in disease.
The post Care for Life.