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All You Need to Know about Healthy Nutrients
- For effective nutrition, you need to make sure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients from your diet
- Vitamin C is an excellent source of antioxidants
- Vitamin B12 helps promote healthy brain and nervous system function
Our bodies work like organic machines. To run at all, we need energy and to run well, we need the right type of energy. That right type of energy is derived from the food we eat and in particular, the nutrients in the food. It is unfortunate that most people may not have a clear understanding of what our bodies need to function at optimum efficiency. Information is easy to obtain and it is very important to be educated, especially about what and how much of these nutrients our bodies should have on a daily basis.
The Six Nutrients
To work well, our bodies are going to need six main nutrients every day. Those nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. When any of those ingredients are missing, we will feel the results. A deficiency in vitamins can cause weak systems allowing disease to invade. For example, in past history when sailors were on voyages for long periods of time without any citrus fruit available, they contracted scurvy because their bodies did not have enough Vitamin C.
The best way to be healthy is to be sure to have sufficient amounts of all six of these nutrients in your diet everyday. To achieve that goal, however, you need to learn a little more about each of them
Vitamins & Minerals -The intake of vitamins and minerals alone aren’t going to give your body energy. Instead, their job is to help your body convert what you eat into the energy you need. Without daily vitamins and minerals, your body will not work as efficiently. There are a large number of vitamins and minerals we need in our diets. You can look on almost any food label and see most of them: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, B12, riboflavin, and iron are just a few. Despite what you may hear or read about one vitamin or mineral being more important to your health than others, the truth is you need all of them because they all serve very important tasks within your body and they work synergisticly. If you do not know the appropriate levels to take of these nutrients, and do not have the time to educate yourself, then the best way to incorporate them into your regimen is to eat a balanced diet similar to what is suggested in the USDA food pyramid.
Protein, Fats, and Carbohydrates – One of the most dangerous misconceptions people have about protein, fats and carbohydrates, is that some of them can be completely and safely eliminated from the diet. Although you do not need to eat large amounts of protein, you do need some daily because the cells in your body need protein to keep functioning properly. Protein is most commonly found in meat, poultry, fish, and legumes. Without enough protein, your body does not build good, lean muscles or fight off infection.
Fats also needs to be consumed , however, in moderation. You might even need some fat diets for your body to function at its best. The structure of our cells and some of our organs is supported by these fats. Over consumption of unhealthy, saturated fats can raise cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are found in most animal-derived products. Avoid the saturated fats and look instead for fats from nuts and fruits because these are unsaturated and better for your body.
Carbohydrates are important nutrients. Diets that recommend no carbohydrate intake and diets that overly reduce your fat intake can have a dramatic, negative impact on your energy levels and on your overall health. Carbohydrates are absorbed in the form of glucose, galactose, or fructose. These sugars are available for direct utilization in energy production or they may be stored after conversion to glycogen for reserved energy. Excess sugars not needed for immediate energy or stored for reserve are then stored as fat. These compounds are our body’s chief source of energy so we need them. However, because they can turn into sugars and help us gain weight, we do not want more of them then our bodies need for energy. Avoid simple carbohydrates, such as candy bars, which may give you a quick jolt of energy. This quick energy will not last and can cause your body to feel worse after the initial energy has been used. Instead, eat complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, vegetables, rice, and bread. The energy from these carbs will give your body a longer period of energy burn that it needs to adequately and more efficiently work.
Water – Everyone knows that we cannot exist or live long without water. Although we can go for a long time without the proper nutrients, our bodies absolutely need water to function. Water flushes out unwanted toxins from our bodies, helps regulate our body temperature, and keeps our organs hydrated so they can keep working correctly. Drinking liquids that are water based but not sugar filled are fine. However, it is important to avoid liquids containing sugar or caffeine because these can interfere with the proper hydration of our bodies. For example, coffee and tea are water based but they have diuretic properties that help eliminate urine and hydration is reduced. Carbonated water is acceptable but some people think that the carbonation can have negative effects on the body, such as, reduced lung capacity in athletes.
If you want to stay healthy, educating yourself on what is best for your body’s nutritional balance is vital. Helping yourself by doing all you can do for your body, can be as simple as ensuring that you are consuming all of these nutrients as part of a balanced diet daily. Read your food product labels and know what you are or are not getting in the nutritional content of the food you buy and eat everyday.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Nutritious Food30 Sep 2008|