Food Is Not 'Healthy'

06/07/2017 12:46 BST | Updated 06/07/2017 12:46 BST

Have you ever thought about the language you have adopted when it comes to describing food?

I don't mean its flavours and the latest hot spots to eat, but rather the traits of the food itself. This applies particularly to the use of the word 'healthy' - which I have seen used to describe everything from kale to low-fat processed foods.

It is time we became more accurate in our use of language about food. Not just for ourselves, but because it impacts on the way we teach children, which will impact on the way they relate to food and the choices they make across their lifetimes.

Foods aren't healthy. They are nutritious. Or not. Humans are healthy. Or we are not. Instead of describing foods as "healthy" or "unhealthy", it is more accurate and more beneficial to consider whether they are nutritious or nourishing.

So a good question to ask before you eat anything is "will this nourish me?" as the more nutritious food you choose, typically the healthier you will be.

With the popularity of the low-fat era, and to a certain extent because of dieting language, it has been easy for too many people to consider food as nothing more than the calories (a measure of energy) that it supplies. Yet, obviously food is so much more than that: the food you eat literally becomes a part of you, and it is the vitamins and minerals in nutritious foods that keep us alive.

Really think about that.

The concept of whether or not a food is good for us has become far too confusing as we have more and more, often conflicting but well-meaning, voices in the health and nutrition world.

A great way to strip nutrition or health information back and make sense of it all is to bring it back to the fundamentals of good health, which most health professionals, regardless of their background, agree on. These include: eat more vegetables; decrease or omit refined sugars; avoid or minimise processed meats; stay hydrated; base meals and snacks on real, wholefoods; sleep well; sit less; move more; and maintain (or preferably build) muscle mass.

I think it is also incredibly important to remember that, while there are some core nutrition fundamentals that benefit most people, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to how we nourish our bodies.

Your body is your best barometer - notice how certain foods make you feel and pay attention to any patterns. Food is supposed to energise you; if what you are eating is consistently making you tired, it may not be serving your health.

Remember that the parts of your body that sadden or frustrate you are simply messengers asking you to eat, drink, move, think, breathe, believe or perceive in a new way. See them as the gifts that they are. Your own body knows what is best for it.