A health survival guide for Westminster life
The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy advises MPs on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, for themselves and the UK.
Life in Westminster can be tough; late nights, limited time and constant stress can often result in taking the easy options in terms of diet and lifestyle.
Every food choice you make impacts positively or negatively because, as we now know, it not only supplies calories for energy and vital nutrients but affects our immune system (through reacting with our gut bacteria) and modulates stress and inflammation through switching certain genes on or off, i.e. what we are now calling the 'Food Reactome'. Most chronic disease has roots in long-term dietary choices which influence low-level systemic inflammation.
Registered Nutritional Therapists are uniquely trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease, and apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to slow, reverse and prevent these illnesses in their clients.
From this perspective the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) outlines how MPs can deal with the daily health challenges they face.
So key tips to short- and long-term health are:
Watch your weight by watching what you eat and when you eat it. If you are already overweight, lose it and be disciplined: 3 meals a day, no snacking, avoid alcohol, don't eat after 9pm and get regular sleep.
Keep moving: walk whenever you can and take the stairs.
Eat real food, unprocessed as much as possible and mostly plants. Your mains sources of protein should be fish, poultry and eggs with lean meat, bacon and other processed meats only occasionally. Fats/oils are important particularly those from oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil.
Eat 7 a day (9 for men): 2 portions of fruit and 5 portions of veggies from a variety of colours will provide fibre and the all important plant chemicals which we now know can influence short and long-term genome stability, i.e. are anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory.
AVOID SUGAR: it makes you fat and puts you on the road to diabetes.
If you get in a rut, fluctuating energy/mood levels, bloated and suffer indigestion or constipation, don't leave it but get professional advice. See a Registered Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who will give you individualised up-to-date advice and help you understand your own Food Reactome.
Tackling the obesity crisis
BANT is the professional body for Registered Nutritional Therapists who have consistently interpreted nutrition science correctly over the last 20 years and recognised that one-size-fits all was nonsensical and the low-fat health paradigm was wrong.
Now that society is facing an obesity crisis and all its costs, what can you as MPs do?
Diet and nutrition advice should never have been a function of government in the first place. BANT believes that, like BSE before it, the government experts got it wrong and then dug in.
This is why we are calling to take nutrition out of government.
Leave it to the nutrition professional associations to recommend healthy eating strategies, and to adapt them quickly as science and evidence emerge.