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How to integrate your diet at home and at work

Elena Casiraghi, Ph.D. - Equipe Enervit, Adjunct professor University of Pavia
How to feed ourselves at home and at work? How to plan a packed lunch or what meal substitutes to choose? Which supplements to choose?

Our lives have changed in recent months, as well as our daily habits, from work to nutrition. Some people have accumulated fat mass, while others have lost weight thanks to indoor training. There are also those who have returned to work or are about to return to work.  All the options for a balanced metabolism with the right nutrition and the best supplements.  Let's discover them together in this article.

All the options for a balanced metabolism with the right nutrition and the best supplements.  Let's discover them together in this article. 

Lunch brought from home

The first, the good old lunch brought from home, prepared the night before and stored in the fridge. It is important, however, to include beneficial foods, also called positive foods, in an adequate quantity and in an ideal ratio between the nutrients they contain. The usual cold pasta, easy to prepare without a doubt, is not the best choice. Especially if our desire is to optimize our mental efficiency.

It is necessary, even for a quick lunch, to include all three nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and good fats. Our mind works in images, so imagine filling a plate divided into three equal parts.

  • A third of the dish will be composted of lean proteins to be found in foods like fish, chicken, egg white, tofu.
  • A third of the dish or more should contain vegetables, better if seasonal, raw or cooked according to your preference and to be seasoned with 1 tablespoon of raw extra virgin olive oil.
  • Finally, finish by adding wholegrains and avoiding flours. It is better to prefer wholemeal and Basmati rice or red rice, rich in polyphenols, or Venus rice. Also, consider spelt or barley or quinoa. This could be a kind of one-course meal, a cold salad if you mix it all together.
You can feed yourself with positive foods, get in shape if you have accumulated fat mass (remember physical activity) or just maintain your fitness. The balance of these nutrients will allow you to enjoy a certain satiety both during your meal and in the following hours. The inclusion of the correct intake of protein from lean sources, balanced with other nutrients will increase the energy expenditure that your body needs to digest these substances. It will increase your basal metabolic rate. Basically, your body will burn more calories even while sitting at your desk.

 Meal substitutes

For those who do not have time to prepare or consume such a meal then the advice is to take a meal replacement for lunch, also called easy lunch because, thanks to a simple gesture, allows you to replace the above mentioned foods, while maintaining the optimal ratio of nutrients. You can choose the bar version or convenient powders to dissolve in water or milk in a shaker. The important thing is that they are balanced in the three macronutrients. It will be appropriate to eat fresh food by composing the dish according to the strategy of the dish in the evening meal.

Basically, you can start your dinner with seasonal vegetables or a bowl of soup (without cereals and possibly also potatoes), continue adding in one third of your plate the lean food that provides protein and in two thirds of the plate vegetables seasoned with olive oil. Evening it's the perfect time to enjoy a treat. At the end of your dish so balanced you can add a small piece of dark chocolate with a percentage of cocoa over 70%.

4 substances to integrate in our diet

The recent past has turned the spotlight on certain aspects of health, primarily on how to optimize the efficiency of our immune system. The number of articles on the web about the importance of supplementing some vitamins shows this. Let's try to shed some light on this.

  • Vitamin C.It's true! Vitamin C promotes natural immune defences. In humans it cannot be accumulated in the body, which is why it is good to assume it from food with constancy. Alternatively, in cases of increased need or low diet intake, you can take it from food supplements with a maximum intake, in the latter case, up to 1000 mg per day.
  • Glutamine. This is an amino acid. In adulthood, it is defined as "non-essential" as the body can
    produce it itself. Yet it happens that our body requires it so much that it needs it in very large
    quantities. The immune system is hungry for glutamine and the daily diet rarely satisfies this hunger.
    It is, in fact, a powerful regulator of white blood cells called T lymphocytes.
  • Polyphenols. Polyphenols "speak" to T lymphocytes, informing them of what is happening outside the cell and, therefore, on how to regulate themselves to maintain homeostasis. Polyphenols, in fact, speak to the cells of the immune system. They also modulate cell processes like small trainers, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress and enhancing the anti-inflammatory response. They are found in the foods of the vegetable world, but often their contribution in our diet is scarce. It is therefore essential to consider supplements, preferring water-soluble ones, such as the delphinidins of blueberry maqui berries. A daily intake of 500 mg should be achieved.
  • Omega 3. These are essential fatty acids to be taken every day with our diet or from purified and concentrated food supplements since our bodies are not able to produce them by itself. They promote well-being and play an important role in the regulation of the immune system. Like polyphenols and glutamine, they also communicate with the immune cells. They are essential to initiate the healing processes. This is also observed at the lung level. Attention to certifications: a pure supplement must be IFOS certified, even if it has ORIVO and Friends of the Sea certification. Guarantee the capsule without taste: on the one hand, it reduces the risk of taste returns and, more importantly, it promotes optimal absorption of fish oil.

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