a balanced diet is essential to having good health.
In normal, healthy individuals there is a desire for food and for
great tasting food, sometimes in larger quantities than should be
consumed. Food provides
nutrition, and it takes very wise decisions daily for balanced meals.
Our bodies need food materials to keep our body processes regular.
There are fatty acids in certain minerals, vitamins, water, and
proteins that perform certain regulatory functions for our bodies.
These functions include making fluids move in our body, controlling
the acid and base, the coagulation of blood, activation of enzymes, and
maintaining body temperature. Our
cells and tissue need body-building nutrition: proteins, water, and
minerals. We need foods that
supply our energy (energy nutrients), and these include proteins, fats,
and carbohydrates. Our main source of energy is the carbohydrate.
Carbohydrates are our chief source of nutriment as they all contain
carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Most
carbohydrate foods are also inexpensive and readily available. If you eat too few carbohydrates, then you may have fatigue,
depression, and a breakdown of body protein for energy.
The proportion of carbohydrates in a food depends on the water
content of the sample. Milk,
fresh vegetables, and fresh fruits have a high water content and therefore
have less than l00 grams per sample.
When you eat dried fruits, the sugar is more concentrated and
therefore greater on a weight-for-weight basis than in fresh fruits.
The main dietary carbohydrates that we obtain from cereals and potatoes,
for example, are starches, whereas the main dietary carbohydrates in dried
fruits and sweeteners are sugars. Baked
goods and beer, with both grain and sugar components, are intermediate.
As your body metabolizes carbohydrates, it forms glucose.
Glucose is measured in the body as blood sugar and is
"burned" as fuel by the tissues in your body.
Some is converted to glycogen and stored for later use.
There are two primary types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.
Simple carbohydrate include cane and beet sugar, dextrose, and the
sugars in fruits and milk. The
complex carbohydrates, so called because of their elaborate chemical
structures, are potatoes, rice, grains, breakfast cereals, pasta, bread,
and beans. Complex
carbohydrates are often found in foods that provide significant amounts of
fiber. These contain a lower concentration of sugars and fat; thus,
they do not provide more calories than you need.
It is recommended that you get about 55 to 60 percent calories from
complex carbohydrates. This
will mean that at least half of every meal and snack should be complex
To get the most out of your carbohydrates, choose whole grain breads
instead of white and enriched grain products.
Either eliminate or reduce the use of high-fat condiments with your
carbohydrates, including margarine, sour cream, butter, cream sauces, most
salad dressings, and gravy. Remember
that carbohydrates themselves are low in calories; it is what you put on
them that adds to your waistline. Eat
less and reduce your intake of alcohol, simple sugars, and processed foods
with high sugar content because they will add no nutrients to your body,
Take a careful look at fatty foods such as hamburgers, French fries, and
ice cream. Fat contributes
more to weight than sugar. An
ounce of fat has 255 calories; an ounce of protein has only 113.
Fat has twice as many calories as lean meat. Fat appears in different forms.
One is triglyceride--the chemical name for fat—, which appears in
two forms, saturated, and unsaturated fats.
Most food fats are a combination of different triglycerides.
Saturated fat includes any fat that can become solid at room
temperature, such as fat on meat, palm and coconut oils, hydrogenated
vegetable oils, and all animal fats. Unsaturated fats are those that contain one, two, or more
double bonds between carbon actions.
They are monounsaturated fatty acids, which are found in olive,
cottonseed, avocado, peanut oils, or polyunsaturated fatty acids found in
soybean, safflower, sunflower, corn, or flaxseeds oils.
Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil means that the product
contains more saturated fat than if it were made with just plain vegetable
oil. Fat modified products are not necessarily low fat or
low-calorie. It is believed
that an individual should have less than l0 percent of the fat allowance
from saturated fats, less the 10 percent should come from polyunsaturated
fats, and the remaining should come from monounsaturated fats.
Cholesterol is essential to your body and is a fat-like substance and
blood lipid that your liver synthesizes in amounts that will meet the
body’s needs. It is a
component of hormones and cell membranes that helps control permeability. It is recommended that an individual eat less fat, especially
saturated fats. If the intake
of saturated fats is reduced, your cholesterol level will also decrease,
only if you reduce the intake of animal products in your diet.
Keeping your cholesterol through a healthy nutritional diet daily
to 300 mg; eating low fat dairy products; and cutting down on fried foods,
pastries, egg yolk, certain shellfish, and organ meats will make you
healthier. You will reduce
your chances of obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, and heart
disease by 20% by just limiting your fats to 30 percent of your daily
calorie intake and by keeping saturated fats to less than 10 percent
Protein is necessary for good health because it provides growth and
repairs body tissues, including muscles, blood, skin, hormones, enzymes,
and internal organs. When
your diet is not sufficient in fats or carbohydrates, protein consumed
will become a source of energy. A
healthy body needs 22 amino acids. Foods
that contain the needed amino acids are meat and dairy products and are
known as complete proteins. Vegetables
and grains are considered incomplete proteins.
To ensure your daily need for zinc, iron, and other minerals
packaged in protein foods, it is recommended that you have two or more
servings, 2 to 3 ounces each, of protein foods every day.
The recommended daily allowance is 0. 8 grams per kg of ideal body
weight for adults. Too much
protein can cause stress on your kidneys and liver.
It is wise to eat meatless (and cheese less) meals a few times each
week. Many vegetables, rice,
beans, pasta, and bread have plenty of proteins.
Try eating portions of animal protein about the size of the palm of
your hand or the size of a playing card as only two servings a day and eat
it less often than usual. Don't
think you can cut down on protein to lose weight or even to save money
because you could become protein deficient and this could affect all of
your body processes. It can
also lead to problems of coping with stress, the inability to fight
infection, and impair your ability to function.
Your body needs vitamins, which are very important to convert your food
into energy so you will grow, maintain your body, and keep it functional.
If you eat a well-balanced diet including whole-grain breads, fresh
fruits, and fresh vegetables, you're probably getting most of the
necessary vitamins and minerals.
Minerals are inorganic substances that are essential for the metabolic
processes in the body. They
act as catalysts for the major body processes, and their actions are
interrelated. The major
minerals include, molybdenum, zinc, cobalt, calcium, and manganese.
If you don't get enough minerals in your body, you can create a
deficiency and become ill. To
get the proper amount of vitamins and minerals necessary daily in your
diet, eat at least one citrus fruit or one serving of potato, tomato,
broccoli, cauliflower, or strawberries and also one fresh yellow vegetable
or fruit and one green one; the darker in color the better.
Water is the primary component of your body because your body contains
between 40 and 50 quarts of water; even your brain is 74 percent water.
It is just essential for nutrient digestion, distribution, body
cooling, joint and membrane lubrication, waste disposal, and fighting
disease. If you want your
body to perform effectively, you need to be well hydrated. It is wise to drink six to eight glasses of water daily.
Fiber is essential for proper diet and nutrition. If you eat plenty of whole grains, seeds, fresh raw
vegetables, or beans, you not only will lose weight or maintain your
weight, but your heart and gastrointestinal tract will be healthy.
Studies have shown that having enough fiber in your diet reduces
the risk of degenerative diseases and certain cancer. It is wise to eat foods like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower,
and brussels sprouts. Most
high-fiber foods will have a low calorie density so you can eat lots of
them, yet you won’t be consuming many calories.
Fiber slows down the rate of food digestion so your blood sugar
doesn't rise. Eat all of the
mentioned foods with your meals or even as snacks, and you will keep your
fiber intake at a healthy level.
Read those nutritional labels on the side panels of packaged foods, no
matter what foods you are buying. The
nutritional content shows the amount of protein, carbohydrates, calories,
fat, and even sodium for a serving size.
To evaluate the nutritional content, look at the serving size and
follow that size.
Limit your salt intake because too much sodium can increase the risk of
high blood pressure, strokes, brain damage, heart attacks, fluid
retention, kidney problems, and also premenstrual syndrome.
It can also damage your stomach lining and cause severe gastritis.
A low sodium diet can improve any of these conditions.
To limit your salt intake, always taste your food before adding
salt; when cooking, add little or no salt, and try not to use as much.
Sugar lacks the vitamins and minerals you need to metabolize it.
Too much sugar leaves you with a vitamin deficiency that reduces
your ability to maintain a healthy nervous system or even to fight stress.
You should keep your sugar at only 10 percent to consider your diet
healthy. Be aware of the
sugar content of foods such as sodas, condiments, ice cream, most yogurts,
packaged foods, etc. Reduce
the amount of sugar you add to foods.
Above all, when it is possible, choose simple, unprocessed food such as
making your own popcorn and eating fresh meats instead of packaged cold
cuts or meats. Read those
labels before you purchase foods.
Caffeine needs to be limited daily. Excessive
caffeine will actually rob your body of nutrients, add stress, and will
disturb your sleep cycle. You
will also secrete more water-soluble nutrients that your body needs and
could even have irritating excess enzymes and gastric acid.
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