Les grands principes de l'équilibre alimentaire - Epycure

NUTRITION The main principles of balanced nutrition

5min reading time

Eating is as essential a need as breathing. This familiar subject is nevertheless a source of daily concern.

If you look closely, it is true that there is reason to question the way we eat today. No need to do a long study, all you have to do is observe the contents of the trolleys at the supermarket checkouts: “ready-made” meals, excess sugar – even in savory dishes –, fat and the omnipresence of foods ultra-processed, preserved using chemicals, harmful to our health and of no benefit to our body . This impacts us in many ways: chronic fatigue, digestive problems, hormonal imbalances, etc.

The solution ? Return to a healthy and natural diet .

To do this, let's ask ourselves the question: why do we eat?

As we no longer have to hunt to find our food, we have somewhat lost the idea that what we eat essentially has the role of keeping us alive and in good health , of providing all the nutrients ( vitamins , oligo -elements) necessary for the tissues of our body to build and function.

Keep in mind the Hippocratic principle: “let your food be your medicine”, it is the fundamental pillar of your health . Here are some basics to help you in your approach.

# What is a balanced diet?

Its goal is simple; contribute to ensuring good health for individuals and populations on a larger scale.

A balanced diet plays an important role in public health, contributing to the prevention of certain diseases. It is obtained by varying the diet to provide the body with the energy and nutrients necessary for its functioning. Foods are classified according to their nutrient composition (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, water, minerals, vitamins, fibers, etc.). Nutrition specialists consider that nutritional balance is likely to be achieved when the total energy intake is provided at a rate of 15% by proteins, 30-35% by lipids and 50-55% by carbohydrates. . These percentages are useful for calculating a “balanced ration” but not for developing daily menus.

First of all, here are some simple tips disclosed by the Ministry of Health:

5 fruits and vegetables per day

It is recommended to consume 80 to 100 grams per serving , the equivalent of two full tablespoons. Why have we heard this phrase forever? Because fruits and vegetables are very rich in vitamins, fiber and minerals. They can be eaten in all their forms: frozen, fresh (we favor seasonal fruits and vegetables ), canned, cooked, raw or also pressed in the form of juices/smoothies.

3 dairy products per day

But then which dairy products? Most milk-based products: yogurts, cottage cheeses, but also cheeses and milk itself! We consider that a dairy product or a portion of dairy product corresponds to: 1 yogurt, 1 cottage cheese, 30 g of cheese, 1 glass of milk for example. Dairy products are recommended because they provide us with calcium and often vitamin D: two essential for the construction of bone tissue and its maintenance.

Starchy foods with every meal

As for them, they provide us with what we call "complex carbohydrates" which, unlike simple carbohydrates (sugar, sugary drinks, etc.), are assimilated more slowly by the body, therefore providing us with energy during longer, approximately several hours. Ideally, it is recommended to consume them during the meal and in moderate quantities, as an accompaniment to vegetables for example. Starchy foods exert their beneficial effect even more when they are based on whole grains. They are much richer in health-promoting nutrients.

Here are some of our tips to follow to have a healthy and balanced diet:

# Food must be natural

In short, eat fresh, unprocessed products. Look at the ingredient label, the longer it is, the more suspicious it is! Turn to raw foods for better nutrient assimilation. Otherwise you will clog the machine.

To boost your vitality , there's nothing like eating organic and seasonal. Nature is well done: in winter vegetables are warming – squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes – and in summer they are full of water to provide the hydration necessary for our cells, so no tomatoes in winter! Opt for a colorful, fresh, lively and pesticide-free plate.

Tip: always start the meal with a little raw vegetables to stimulate your digestion .

For cooking, use gentle steam to preserve all the vitamins and trace elements that will make you feel good.

# Food must be digestible and balanced: learn to compose your plate well!

2 golden rules to know for good digestion .

The duration of digestion : it generally lasts 4 to 6 hours and requires considerable energy from your body . Avoid snacking between meals so as not to restart the machine too quickly and save the steak and fries combo for a lazy day otherwise you'll have a hard time sitting in front of your computer.

Food compatibility to properly compose your plate : Not all foods are compatible during the same meal. Depending on the mixture, you build your healthvitality , good immunity – or on the contrary you promote a cascade of inconveniences: bloating, gas, fatigue, allergies, excess weight…

Foods have different assimilation times. Some require little, like fruit, and others, like a piece of meat, for a longer period of time. For example, if you eat a raw fruit at the end of a meal, you "trap" it in the food bolus while your stomach takes care of its friend, the steak. While waiting for the fruit to be patient, it ferments producing alcohol and you are bloated! Tip: enjoy the benefits of fruit away from other meals during the 11 a.m. or 5 p.m. break!

# Power must be measured…

Take the time to be hungry! This notion is more difficult to put into practice than it seems in a society that offers us everything before we even want it. Let's take the example of the eating habits of the inhabitants of Okinawa in Japan or the Cretans with their Mediterranean diet. Their secret: a simple diet, few mixtures and frugality in food portions.

Tip: Chew enough, eat mindfully and leave the table still feeling a little hungry.

# Diet must be individualized

And for this different criteria come into play: our age, our sex, our origins, our heredity, our family and professional situation. Don't eat like a hard worker in Alaska if you work at a computer all day in a warm office!

Finally, food is not only physical, it also has a great emotional impact. You will digest a good raclette with friends better than a bowl of sprouts alone after a big argument and your stomach is in knots.

It's all about balance!