Is good nutrition Important? Absolutely and we are all aware to some level of the need to assure proper diet for ourselves and our families.
Some of the current nutritional issues have been in play for many years, but we are just very slowly becoming aware of the importance of them.
While most of us are aware of nutrition in the sense that we need to eat certain foods in a specific amount to provide for the vitamins and minerals that we need to remain healthy, we aren’t specifically eating for a certain goal, such as keeping our hearts healthy or lowering our risk for certain types of cancers.
The awareness of the subject just isn’t there, and in all honesty, too often given the pressures of day to day life and the harried pace of today’s working families we simply don’t have the time to eat as well as we should.
Taking that time, however is imperative to give our children a good start in nutritional awareness and to prevent the obesity which is so rampant in our society today.
Weight Control and Obesity
Eating for weight loss, and weight control takes a bit more planning, and some research into the right foods to eat at the right times during the course of the day.
It is imperative that we teach our children as they grow, basic good eating habits in order to prevent the continuation of the obese parents obese children cycle.
Fast foods do have a place and can be used as they are necessary but that necessity should be once in a while, not every day.
Taking the time to research which fast foods will be less fatty, and more healthful is needed, since most places that offer fast foods now also offer low fat, low calorie answers for the health conscious consumer.
Taking into consideration the necessary foods to include in our diets to remain healthy and to keep our weight within acceptable limits while planning meals is something that we all need to do, yet find difficult due to time constraints.
Using specific foods to assure our continuing health is an idea whose time has come.
Certain aspects of foods such as antioxidants, are known to help in the fight against cancer, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.
Many of these such as heart disease are largely preventable given the right type foods. We can assess our risk for these health issues taking into account factors such as age, body type and heredity, and plan for their prevention using less fatty foods, leaner meats and more fiber and vegetables to prevent the development of such health issues as arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis.
Maintaining a healthy weight isn’t enough since other factors enter into play along with that weight such as a family history of heart related or diabetic illnesses.
For the child onset diabetic is is imperative to follow a careful regiment of diet and exercise to prevent the onset of diabetes related issues such as retinopathy.
Varying Nutritional Needs in the Population
-Specific dietary needs will enter into play dependent upon factors such as age, health and nutritional status and special cases such as pregnancy or lactation.
The diabetic will of course require some considerations in his or her diet due to the lack of insulin production in the body.
Preparing foods for this type disease process requires research and planning to keep fat intake as low as possible, while providing for the overall nutritional health, particularly in a diabetic child.
Due to their diverse activity level keeping their glucose elevated will be challenging at best on some days, while less effort will be required on days when they are more sedentary, such as when weather prohibits outside activity.
The woman who is pregnant or lactating will require additional intake of proteins and iron as well as minerals to assure not only our own health but that of the child we are providing nutrients for.
Given the issues that we see in food preparation and safety in recent months and in light of some very wide reaching recalls, providing for the safety of our foods is more than just assuring that things are properly stored and put away in a timely manner after meals., although those things too are important aspects of providing for the good nutrition of our families.
Today’s food safety means being aware of those things which have been recalled, or are considered unsafe to consume, using such means as the Internet, television or specific web sites which are geared toward dissembling information that the health conscious consumer will need.
Bearing in mind that those things we wish were safe sometimes are not, stay current on food and beverage recalls on a weekly basis.
A balanced diet should include both protein and carbohydrates from sources such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, grains and breads.
Protein provides essential amino acids needed by the body for growth and repair of tissues. It also helps maintain muscle mass and strength. Protein is found in animal flesh, milk, cheese, yogurt, egg yolks, soybeans, legumes, peanut butter, etc.
Carbohydrates supply energy to your cells through metabolism. They come mainly from starches, sugars, fruit juices, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, sweeteners, starchy vegetables, and whole grain breads. Carbohydrate gives you quick energy so it’s great if you’re active. But don’t overdo it! Too much carbohydrate may cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly, causing an increase in hunger. This leads to overeating.
Fats give structure to cell membranes and insulate organs like the brain and liver. Fats are made up of triglycerides, saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, omega 3 fatty acids, and trans fats. The main source of fat in the American Diet is processed vegetable oils. These contain high amounts of Omega 6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation.
There’s two types of meat, red meat and white meat Red meat contains higher concentrations of cholesterol and saturated fat. White meat has lower amounts of these substances. White meat includes chicken breast, and turkey breast. Lean cuts of meat can help reduce bad cholesterol and improve heart health.
Examples of red meat: beef steak, pork chops, hamburgers, hot dogs, bacon, sausages, ribs, brisket, flank steak, tri-tip roast, ground chuck, round steak, top sirloin, bottom round.
Fish is another excellent choice because it’s low in calories and rich in lean protein. Fish is one of the few foods with no cholesterol. Salmon, tuna, cod, halibut, mackerel, sardines, herring, trout, and lake trout are among the choices.
Vegetables & Fruit
These are packed with fiber, vitamin C, potassium, folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, zinc, selenium, iodine, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, B6, beta carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, lycopene, phytosterols, flavonoids, phenolics, anthocyanins, catechins, resveratrol, curcumin, ellagic acid, epigallocatechin gallate, chlorophyll, glucosinolates, indoles, sulforaphane, and others.
Vitamins A, C, E, K, B-complex, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, selenium, vitamin D, folic acid, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, pyridoxine, biotin, choline, lysine, methionine, cystine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, tyrosine, histidine, arginine, proline, glycine, glutamic acid, alanine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, serine, threonine, aspartic acid, lysine, ornithine, citrulline, homocysteine, taurine, carnosine, creatine, betaine, folate, pantethine, nicotinamide ad
Nuts & Seeds
Dietary fiber has recently become popular because it can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Dietary fibers are part of plant matter that cannot easily pass into the small intestine where digestion takes place. Instead, dietary fibers move along with water through the digestive tract without breaking down. Fiber adds bulk to stool and slows its passage out of the colon. Some people think that adding extra fiber to one’s daily diet might make constipation worse. However, studies show that increasing fiber consumption does not lead to increased bowel movements. In fact, there seems to be no relationship between how often someone goes to the bathroom and his or her total fiber intake.
Blood Pressure is an important indicator of cardiovascular health. High blood pressure increases your chances of having a stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and other serious conditions. It also puts you at greater risk for diabetes, obesity, cancer, and dementia. If you don’t know if you’re experiencing hypertension, ask your doctor about getting tested. Your physician may recommend taking BP readings several times throughout the day so he or she can monitor changes over time. You should check your BP regularly while following any weight loss program.
High levels of LDL cholesterol increase your chance of developing coronary artery disease. Lowered HDL cholesterol reduces this risk. Cholesterol is found naturally in animal products including eggs, milk, cheese, butter, meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, and organ meats. Vegetable sources include avocados, nuts, seeds, soybeans, tofu, whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and olive oil. Foods containing added sugar, refined flour, hydrogenated fats, and salt contribute additional cholesterol.
The average person needs only 2,300 mg sodium per day. Too much sodium raises blood pressure and contributes to fluid retention. Sodium is present in table salt, pickled food, cured meats, breaded dishes, canned soups, instant noodles, frozen dinners, snack chips, fast foods, restaurant meals, and prepared sauces.
Regular physical activity helps maintain good overall health by improving muscle strength, endurance, balance, coordination, flexibility, bone density, and body composition. Exercise improves mental well being, too. Regular exercise lowers stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which makes you feel better physically and mentally. Physical fitness decreases the likelihood of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type II diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety disorders, asthma, sleep apnea, and even some forms of cancer.
Regular cardio activity also helps manage asthma symptoms. Aerobic exercises improve lung function and strengthen muscles used during breathing. They also burn calories and boost metabolism. Strength training builds lean muscle mass, boosts energy, strengthens bones, and tones up the entire body. Weight lifting requires more effort than aerobic activities, but it burns fat faster and provides more benefits.
If you’re serious about improving your physical condition and nutrition then I thoroughly recommend reading “The Art of Expressing The Human Body” by Bruce Lee