What Nutrition Is We all know that we have to take in nutrients to survive. Without it, our body goes into starvation mode, our metabolism starts to slow down, our brain gets scattered, our energy levels drop, and so on. But what exactly is nutriton? Why is it so essential to every waking moment of our lives? The USDA has been suggesting what we eat and how much of it we should be intaking since the early 1900s. Most of us are familiar with the Food Pyramid, which has now been transformed into MyPlate. Based on an intake of 2,400 calories a day, we are supposed to eat fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. However, the caloric amount and how much of each food group varies based on your own body composition and health goals. Nutrition involves eating “healthy” foods to meet our body’s need for nutrients while supporting our overall health. Proper nutrition consists of eating a variety of foods that supply our body with micronutrients, macronutrients, and phytonutrients to promote good health and fight against diseases and other ailments. Macronutrients are the foods that provide your body energy. The three main macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Carbohydrates If you don’t get enough carbs, your blood sugar starts to drop and your energy drastically decreases. In extreme cases, your body will be forced to create energy from muscle tissue! If your body is getting too much, your body will store those carbs as fat. Fats We need healthy fats to survive! Our cells’ membrane contains fat. Our brain has fatty acids. We need fat so minerals and vitamins can be carried throughout our bloodstream. Protein We must intake protein because it provides the amino acids our body can not make on its own. They are essential because it builds and repairs various parts of our body, as well as support our immune and nervous systems. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain bodily functions. Vitamins are organic compounds, while minerals are inorganic. They both are ingested in small amounts because our body cannot produce them and does not require a high level at one time. Phytonutrients are nutrients found in plant-based foods and have been associated with risk decreases in a number of chronic diseases due to their antioxidants. What Nutrition Isn’t Taking a daily multivitamin, while still eating foods with no nutritional value is not healthy. Sadly, many think that this is the only way they can survive throughout the day. We tend to grab products that say “Low Carb”, “Reduced Sodium”, “No Sugar”, and think that they are all created with love and honesty. FALSE! That “No Sugar” product may have a sweetener named Sugar Alcohol (doesn’t that sound scary?). Even when we are trying to be “healthy”, we may still be causing damage. The amount of sugar the average American consumes is disturbing. According to a JAMA Internal Medicine study, 10% of the overall calorie intake amount for an American adult is from added sugars. The study also suggests that the high amount of added sugar puts you more at risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease. What We Should Do You must learn to redefine the definition of “food”. It should not merely be something you digest so your stomach stops growling. It must be a nutritional source that aids our body’s ability to function at its best. It should supply us with natural energy, so we can be alert at all times. It should be our preventative medicine and our maintenance supply so we can truly honor the only body we will have forever!
"Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food."Hippocrates