Defining Your Diet
First, let’s define the basic terms we encounter whenever we talk about healthy eating. We’ve also made the definitions as simple as possible for you to easily understand:
- Diet – everything that a person consumes. A balanced diet consists of scientifically-proven healthful foods with appropriate nutrients that are highly recommended for daily consumption.
- Nutrients – substances such as proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber which are found in food needed for healthy living.
There are two types, macro-nutrients, which the body needs in large amounts, and micro-nutrients, which the body needs in small amounts.
Proteins make the cells, while carbohydrates give energy. Vitamins regulate chemical processes, converting food into energy and tissues.
Minerals help strengthen different body parts, such as the bones and teeth. Fiber ensures a healthy digestive system.
- RDA – the abbreviation for Recommended Daily Allowance ( or Amounts), these are the figures issued by health care and/or nutrition authorities setting the average quantities of essential nutrients people need, usually on a daily basis.
- Calories – the basic units in which the energy value of food as well as the energy needs of the body are measured. Energy needs vary according to age and sex. A male teenager, for instance, would need around 3,000 calories a day.
- Metabolism – the chemical and physical changes within the body that keep it alive and functioning. It consists of the number of calories burned at any given time to either release or store energy. An active person’s metabolism is higher compared to that of an idle person.
- Amino acids – the basic building blocks of proteins. There are eight essential amino acids that cannot be provided by the body but only by diet. They make specific forms of protein required by different cells and tissues.
- Enzymes – proteins that help break down food into energy units for different body parts. A failure in the enzyme process can cause serious disorders.
- Cholesterol – a substance found in the bloodstream and in the body’s cells, used to form cell membranes, some hormones and other functions.
- Fat – chemical compounds containing one or more fatty acids. Along with proteins and carbohydrates, fat is one of the three main components of food, and the principal form in which energy is stored in the body.
THE OBSESSION WITH GOOD HEALTH Vitamins and nutritional supplements are now a $6 billion-a-year business in the US.
Virtually one-third of the American population now take daily vitamin supplements, 70% take nutritional supplements at least occasionally, and one in three people with popular diseases looks to herbal remedies for help.
The Core Nutrients
Vitamins are organic food nutrients found in plants and animals and are essential to normal body functioning. Since the body cannot manufacture or synthesize vitamins, they must be found in your diet.
They help regulate metabolism, convert fat and carbohydrates into energy, and form bone and tissue.
Here are some of the more popular vitamins:
Take Your Vitamins
Vitamin A – contains beta carotene
- Helps maintain healthy body tissues
- Helps maintain smooth, soft, disease-free skin
- Protects the mucous membranes from infections
- Aids in bone and teeth formation
- Helps reduce the risk of lung cancer
Vitamin B-1 – contains thiamine
- Aids in the digestion of carbohydrates
- Regulates the nervous system
- Good for the muscles and the heart
- Stabilizes the appetite
- Increases growth and muscle strength
Vitamin B-2 – contain riboflavin
- Essential for carbohydrate and protein metabolism
- Helps form antibodies and red blood cells
- Maintains good visions, skin, nails and hair
Vitamin C – contain ascorbic acid
- Builds healthy teeth, gums and bones
- Helps decrease cancerous growth
- Helps heal wounds and fractures
- Builds resistance to infection
- Helps fight the common cold virus
- Strengthens blood circulation
- Improves calcium and phosphorus intake
- Strengthens bones and teeth
- Maintains a normal circulatory and nervous system
- Retards cellular aging due to oxidation
- Helps maintain normal blood flow
- Supplies oxygen to the blood
- Strengthens cell network
- Prevents and dissolves blood clots
- Helps prevent sterility, muscular dystrophy, calcium deposits in blood walls and heart conditions
DRINK YOUR WATER! Water accounts for 65% of our body weight. Water keeps the moisture in the body, helps in transporting oxygen to the blood and in carrying nutrients through it.
Typically a person needs to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day, plus one 8-ounce cup for each hour of light activity. Water is one of the body’s best internal cleansers.
It rinses cell wastes, blood poisons and environmental toxins from the body.
Make It A Healthy Diet
Now that you’re familiar with all these terms, it’s time to help create your healthy diet or, to go by the definition, the things you consume that will keep you healthy. Why is it important to have your own healthy, well-balanced diet? Simply because it has a direct effect on your body.
If you want to avoid heart disease, which is now one of the world’s top ten killers, then you should omit fatty foods from your diet. Some of the worst disease known today such as cancer and diabetes can be avoided by choosing the right foods.
To have a healthy, balanced diet you should make sure you’re getting your RDA or Recommended Daily Allowance of nutrients by eating a variety of foods, foremost of which are fruit and vegetables, and cereals.
While natural, organic foods in the market are good sources of a healthy diet, health laws in almost all countries ensure that commercial food products have accompanying information listing the different nutrients contained.
Your diet should also regulate your weight, since having a healthy weight in proportion to your height is important. Being overweight or obese increase your risk of heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, breathing problems, arthritis, gallbladder disease, and cancer.
But it’s not enough to ensure that you’re eating the right kind of foods. You also need to eat the right quantities so you can gain the specific nutrients and calories to maintain maximum health.