Understanding Food Nutrition
is a key to Eating Healthier and
A Healthy Balance
Nourishing Your Body. Tuning Your Life Force.
Food Nutrition.Regarding this, we find that people split into two camps. Those willing to take proactive steps to take care of themselves to achieve A Healthy Balance and those who couldn’t be bothered.
We can’t help the second group....yet (until they get a serious wake-up call with chronic illness). But for the rest of you, we find that knowledge of food nutrition basics goes a long way toward helping you make sound choices for a healthy diet and maintaining A Healthy Balance.
It’s easy to understand that French fries are not nutritious and apples or spinach are, but where does it go from there? The following attempts to be an easy to understand explanation of the various nutrient groups and how each contributes something essential to a healthy diet.
The keys to healthy eating are variety and balance. A Healthy Balance.
The big picture in food nutrition: macronutrients
- Carbohydrates: whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables that provide the body with fuel it needs. The digestive system slowly breaks carbs down into glucose which is used by all the cells of you body as energy. Some overly processed forms of these foods have been stripped of their bran, fiber and nutrients. It’s always better to choose whole grains or unrefined rice and sugars—the closer to nature the better.
- Proteins: meat, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, milk, eggs and cheese provide the body with amino acids that build and repair our cells, tissues and organs. They are the building blocks of cells. Most Americans consume more protein than is necessary.
- Fats: fats are essential to well-being. They nourish your brain, heart, nerves, hormones, and promote healthy hair, nails and skin. However, it’s the type and quantity of fat that you consume that promotes health or illness. Monounsaturated fats such as canola, peanut or olive oil as well as fats from almonds, pecans and sesame seeds are healthy. So are polyunsaturated fats from fish oils, sunflower, corn or soybean oil. The fish oils also contain essential Omega-3 and Omega 6 fatty acids that your body cannot make. Saturated fats found in animal products such as red meat and dairy products or from coconut or palm oils should be used in moderation. And trans fat from fried foods, margarine, cookies and other baked goods as well as many processed foods made with hydrogenated oil have been proven to raise LDL cholesterol and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Proper food nutrition requires that you consume the proper quantity of these macronutrients in proportion to the energy requirements of your lifestyle, and in a healthy balance.
The small picture in food nutrition: micronutrients
Micronutrients are organic compounds such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and trace chemical elements that are essential for life. However, they are required in very minute amounts for your body to function normally. They are “magic wands” that enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development. While most Americans do not suffer deficiencies, vitamin A, iron and iodine are not present in all diets. Micronutrients from food help maintain the proper oxygen balance in your brain and function as antioxidants to maintain health.
What are antioxidants and how do they contribute to well-being?
To comprehend antioxidants, we need to start with oxidation. When your cells use oxygen in chemical reactions that supply energy, they naturally produce by-products called free radicals. Free radicals can cause damage to you cells if they are not abated. Antioxidants are nutrients in our foods or enzymes produced by your body that can slow the oxidative damage and actually help repair cell damage.
If you vigorously exercise, your flexing muscles create significant oxidation in your body that leads initially to muscle fatigue but over time can also damage tissues if sufficient antioxidants are not present.
Many health problems such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and macular degeneration are all issues that are exacerbated by oxidative free radicals. There is emerging evidence that the brain is very susceptible to oxidative damage as well, infrequently resulting in Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases.
From a positive perspective, it is believed that sufficient presence of antioxidants enhance immune system defense and thereby lower the risk of infection and cancers.
Several types of healthy foods that are great sources of antioxidants:
- Vitamin C: from green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits , green peppers, tomatoes and strawberries
- Vitamin A: from brightly colored fruits and vegetables including broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, apricots, peaches, cantaloupe, collard greens and squash
- Vitamin E: from whole grains, nuts and seeds, vegetable oil and leafy vegetables
- Selenium: from meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, chicken and garlic
- Carotenoids: from fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, carrots, spinach, kale
Brightly colored foods are typically great sources of antioxidants, such as orange cantaloupe, squash or mango; blue berries, grapes, or eggplant, and red tomatoes or watermelon. Enjoy a colorful plate of fruits and vegetables and feel good that you are maintaining cellular health and consuming nutrient dense foods - good food nutrition for a healthy balance.
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Classical Homeopathy. Nutrition.
Nourishing Your Body. Tuning Your Life Force.