Since plenty of us spend most of our time in our homes, I was inspired and decided to inform you about these numbers that will help you make your everyday life better, especially if you’re in lockdown. What numbers am I talking about? But, of course, for those that have to do with diet and exercise and that will help us follow a more balanced lifestyle - something which is most needed during the winter season (and actually during every season)...
Are you ready to see what I mean?
It is the number of calories that is good for an average healthy female adult to consume and 2500 calories is the number of calories that an average healthy male adult should consume. Of course, this can vary depending on each one’s individual needs. But why is it good for you to know about the 2000 calories? Because it is the number that is listed on each product under the nutrition label and most likely you have seen it under the nutritional analysis of my recipes! So, 2000 are the calories that an average adult should consume and this is based on the percentages of the Reference Intakes (RI) of the nutrients that you will see in the nutrition facts label. What do I mean by that? RI shows us the percentage of one nutrient per serving that contributes to a total diet - that of 2000 calories - and in this way, we can understand whether the portion of food is high or low in that particular nutrient.
For example, if the fat in a portion of food corresponds to 50% of the RI, then it means that the person who should consume 2000 calories per day, by eating this portion, will have already consumed half of what he needs in fat daily. As you can see, if the calories change - due to the different needs of each person - the grams of nutrients and the percentages of the RI change as well. In other words, the nutrition facts label can give a lot of useful information that, with the help of an expert, we can use to our advantage…of course, always based on the needs of our body.
It's the grams of fiber that a healthy adult should consume daily. As we have said many times - and you can see more details here - fiber is essential for boosting the digestion process and normal bowel function. They help us feel full for longer and we should add them to our daily diet as they help us maintain a balanced weight. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals, nuts, and seeds are high in fiber.
Minutes… It is the time of exercise or any form of physical activity of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes of high intensity, or the combination of both that a healthy adult (18-64 years old) should do during the week, according to the guidelines of the World Health Organization. This corresponds to 30 minutes a day 5 times a week, or you can adjust that according to your schedule and capabilities. So, do you see? It does not take that many hours of your weekly schedule to see substantial differences in your health. Of course, you should have the guidance of an expert and do everything in moderation - as we’ve said plenty of times. Our health must always be a priority.
These are the portions of vegetables and fruits that a healthy adult should consume daily. This number shows us that a person should not only consume 5 vegetables and fruits a day, but that there should be variety in his diet and not consume only 1 type of fruit or vegetable per day. In fact, there is a 5 a day campaign running - a campaign based on the advice of the World Health Organization, that we should consume 400 g of fruits and vegetables daily. The 5 a day campaign essentially encourages people to consume this amount of vegetables and fruits daily, to see the positive effects on the body.
8-20% και 21-33%
8-20% are the healthy body fat percentages for a male adult up to 39 years old and 21-33% for a female adult up to 39 years old. As we’ve already said plenty of times, the number on the scale does not tell us the whole truth when we do not know the percentages of our body fat. If the percentage of fat is within normal limits, then we understand that body weight should not affect our mood. For example, a very fit male adult, due to increased muscle mass, may have several extra pounds that appear on the scale but his fat percentage is within normal limits. This does not mean that he should lose weight since the rest of his body composition is normal. Of course, everything depends on several factors and each person is different. What you should do is find out your body fat percentage to have a clearer picture of your body composition!
In case it is so difficult for us to maintain a balanced diet on a permanent basis, we can follow the percentage of 80 to 20%. What does this mean? 80% balanced and 20% not so balanced! That is, 80% of the calories we consume daily should come from complex carbs, lean protein, and good fats, and 20% of the calories should come from the slightly more "junk" foods that we may want to consume. It is for sure another way to help us follow a balanced diet - maybe a little more relaxed - and without creating too much stress. Of course, you should consult a specialist who will be able to give you more specific guidelines and advise you if this technique is the best way you can follow for yourselves!
Now that you have learned enough about the numbers you can add to your daily routine to improve your lifestyle, what do you think? With which one do you intend to start? I’ll be waiting for your comments!
This article was written in collaboration with the Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.
* The website akispetretzikis.com offers as a service a variety of blogs and articles, based on scientific sources. All the articles are provided as general information and no text should be used as a substitute for advice from a physician or another health scientist, regardless of the date it has been published.