The goal of living a healthy lifestyle is what many strive for; knowing what are the “good” choices and what are the “bad” choices. Start to make small swaps in your diet: choose water instead of a fountain drink at a restaurant, or choose whole grain rather than enriched grains. To complete the full circle of health, you need to know what the terms healthy, nutrition, nutrients truly mean. How do your choices affect your body and why it makes a choice healthy or unhealthy? What is in the food you are eating that makes the food nutritious? Educating yourself is key to becoming healthier.
What does to term Nutrition actually mean? Is it food, or is it the health of your body? What does “Nutrition” mean to you? According to the Council on Food and Nutrition of the American Medical Association, nutrition is the science of food, the nutrients and the substances therein, their action, interaction and the process by which the organism ingests, absorbs, transport, utilizes, and excretes food substances. If nutrition is how the body ingests, absorbs, transport, utilizes and excretes food substances; then, what is a nutrient? What a nutrients role in these processes? A nutrient is a substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life. Nutrients nourish our trillions of cells, and without these nutrients our bodies will not work properly.
Nutrition 101: There are two groups of nutrients, macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, lipids (fats), and proteins. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and water.
- Carbohydrates are the major source of energy for our bodies.
- Lipids (fats) are in two categories, saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated is found in plant bases and is the healthier fat. Fats add flavor, texture and create satiety. Essential fatty acids are required to maintain health.
- Proteins regulate and maintain body functions.
- Vitamin: two types.
1.) Water-soluble Vitamins are b-complex Vitamins and Vitamin C.
2.) Fat soluble Vitamins are A, E, D,K.
- Minerals are important for various functions in the body. Some minerals include Calcium, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, Magnesium, Iron, and Iodine.
- is used to regulate body temperature, helps dissolve substances during digestion, and is lubrication. For example joints, saliva and mucus.
When you eat a wide variety of foods that are whole and plant based, you will get all the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals to make your body rejoice! Remember though, consuming too much in the form of supplements may be toxic to your body. Do not consume supplements because “they say its good for you” or because you have seen it on a TV talk show. Ask a Registered Dietitian if you are uncertain about a particular products effect on your health. Dietitians practice evidence based science, and make their decisions off facts and research.
To have complete health you must be aware of what you’re lacking to make better choices. If you have questions, like mentioned before, be sure to ask Registered Dietitian he or she will always lead you in the right direction. ARegistered Dietitian is the ultimate reliable nutrition related source. Continue your education, grow into your healthy lifestyle, consume more plant-based foods, stay away from boxed and bottled foods/drinks, make small swaps in your diet from unhealthy to healthier items (this will eventually lead to a more balanced diet), exercise 5 times a week, get enough sleep, eat at least 5 fruits and veggies a day, and become one with nutrition.
Witten By: Melanie Romano, Kent State University Dietetic Student