A Healthy Guide to Better Nutrition
Body Composition Goals
Whether you are at your ideal body composition (I hate using weight because that’s relative) or striving to reach your goal, is it simply a matter of burning more calories than you take in? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Overall body health improvement, as well as weight gain or loss, must be factored into the equation or you could be heading for health problems. Correct nutrition can help to reduce the risk of a myriad of health-related problems, the most frightening of which are surely heart disease and cancer. Proper nutrition, however, means eating many different foods, monitoring your consumption of certain food and beverage items, and rarely counting calories. Notice that I didn’t say never counting. Good diet offers balanced nutrition that reduces cholesterol, blood pressure, and helps with changing body composition.
To function properly, your body must have the correct combination of nutrients. Here are the most important ones (the macros):
Proteins help your body build 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 sources of protein. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it can be a little more difficult to make sure there is a good protein balance. A balanced daily intake should be 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per lean body mass. 1 gram of protein is 4 calories.
The body uses carbohydrates to build glucose which can be used immediately as energy 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 Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in carbohydrates. 1 gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories.
Strange as it may seem, fat is another nutrient your body requires. Some people operate better with higher fat, some people feel better with lower fat. It comes in both saturated and unsaturated forms. Excessive saturated fat puts you at risk of health problems. Unsaturated fat is healthy, but if it goes through any type of refinement process, it can become saturated fat. If you are following a Keto diet then your fat is your main source of energy. 1 gram of fat is 9 calories.
These are also required nutrients. Different vitamins perform different tasks within the body. They can work with the metabolism to help with energy levels for any task you can think of that your body needs to perform. It has also been noted that certain vitamins can prevent disease.
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 the production of red blood cells. Vitamin D assists with the absorption of calcium. Vitamin K helps your blood clot.
Minerals and trace elements
Minerals and trace elements 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 foods we consume, but with a trace element, your body just needs a tiny amount. Salt is one final nutrient your body requires. You should not consume more than 2400 milligrams per day, though, as it might raise your blood pressure.
You should follow guidelines to create a well-balanced, nutritional diet. First, try to consume 5-6 cups of vegetables and fruit each day at a minimum. When making your selections for each day, be sure to choose a good variety. A good guide is to eat as many different colors as possible, as this will help you to select from all five vegetable subgroups at least four times per week.
Try to eat at least three ounces of whole grain products each day if you know you can tolerate them. At least half of your grain intake should be whole grain based. Most of the fats you consume should be in the form of unsaturated fats, as saturated fats can do much to damage your health.
Fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should be a regular part of your diet as should potassium-rich foods. Alcoholic beverages should only be consumed in moderation on occasion. Alcohol is like the fourth macro. The body considers alcohol as a toxin so it will do everything to process that first to get it out of your system.
Excellent nutrition is the basis of a healthy diet. Having a diet that is varied and full of fresh food will ensure your body has the chance to get a good amount of nutrition.
What are you eating each day to allow for good nutrition? I’d love to know!
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