Your Guide to Nutrition
Whether you are at your ideal weight or striving to reach your weight goal, is it simply a matter of burning more calories than you take in? The answer is, NOT quite!
Good nutrition can help to reduce the risk of a myriad of health-related problems such as heart disease and cancer. Proper nutrition, however, entails eating a variety of food and monitoring your consumption. Think mindful eating!! A good diet provides balanced nutrition that regulates cholesterol, blood pressure, and helps with weight management.
To function optimally, we look into the macro-nutrients for the body:
Carbohydrates. They are the primary source of ammunition in your diet. The body uses carbohydrates to convert into glucose which can be used immediately or stored in your body for later. Too much glucose, however, is stored as fat. There are two types of carbohydrates - simple and complex. Sugars are simple carbohydrates; Starches and fibers are complex carbohydrates. The difference between the two, is that simple carbohydrates are converted to energy much faster, causing a spike and crash in the blood sugar, whereas complex carbohydrates burn like coal to provide more sustained energy for the body.
Proteins. Proteins help your body build, repair and maintain muscles and other tissues. They also function in the creation of hormones. Like carbohydrates, excess protein is stored as fat.
Animal and vegetable are the two major types of proteins. Too much animal protein however, can cause high cholesterol, due to the high saturated fat content.
Fat. Fat is another nutrient your body requires. It comes in both saturated and unsaturated forms. Too much saturated fat can cause cholesterol to build up in your arteries (blood vessels) and puts you at risk of health problems. Unsaturated fat help lower cholesterol and improve heart health, but if it goes through any type of refinement process, it can become saturated fat.
Vitamins. Different vitamins perform different tasks within the body. They can work with your metabolism to help with energy levels for any task you can think of that you need your body to perform. It has also been noted that certain vitamins can prevent diseases.
For example, vitamins A, C, and E, also called antioxidants, can assist with the prevention of coronary artery disease by keeping build up from occurring on artery walls. Vitamin B-1 is needed for digestion and proper nervous system function. Vitamin B-2 is needed for normal cell growth. Vitamin B-3 helps to detoxify your body. Folic acid assists with production of red blood cells. Vitamin D assists with the absorption of calcium. Vitamin K helps your blood clot.
Minerals and trace elements. These are another group of nutrients your body requires. Both are used in many different body processes. Minerals like chlorine help make your digestive juices. Phosphorus helps build strong bones. Both can be found in the food we consume, but with a trace element, your body just needs a tiny amount. Salt is one final nutrient your body requires.
Start creating your own well balanced, nutritional diet. First, try to consume two and one half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit each day. When making your selections for each day, be sure to choose a good variety. Eat the colours of the rainbow! This will help you select from all five vegetable subgroups at least four times per week.
Fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be a regular part of your diet as should potassium rich foods. Calorie-loaded alcoholic beverages should only be consumed in moderation.
P.S. alcohol contains 12kcal per ml, whereas protein and carbohydrates are at 4kcal per gram while fats are at 9kcal per gram.
You may want to think before you chug your next drink!