So why is it that the foods that we eat and the nutrition in that food is so important?
The short and sweet answer: it powers our body to function healthily and efficiently.
In fact, what is nutrition?
Nutrition is the “good” you and I get from all the food we eat that helps our body works.
The foods we eat have different types of nutrients that make them nutritious.
These different types of nutrients are:
- Vitamins & Minerals
The easiest way to understand why nutrition is important?
Just practice by eating enough of each of these nutrients in proper balance – you’ll then set the stage for good health and well-being.
The next question is: why do you and I eat?
Surely we don’t eat just because we want to enjoy food; we’re hungry or bored or depressed or stressed or sad or happy…; our tummies grumbling or just for fun (though that’s true, by the way!)?
There’s got to be some “higher” purposes than these?
The Higher Reasons
We eat food because:
- It provides fuel to our body so we’ve enough energy to move around, to do our daily things
- The nutrients in the food repair our damaged tissue and facilitate growth of new ones
- It stimulates metabolic functions that enable us to operate in more efficient and effective manner
- It boosts our immune system
- It promotes better health in us
- It promotes growth in us
- It enhances our mental power (concentration) so we perform better
And the most “Burning” Question?
Ha! The obvious – how to eat a well-balanced meal that contains enough of the nutrients in the right proportions?
That’s tough, huh?
Not really, if you know the ropes of it.
Let’s get down to it.
Basically I recommend to follow the eating guidelines set by USDA (US Department of Agriculture) in its food pyramid, like this:
- Amount to eat: 6 oz grains; 3 oz should be whole grains
- Whole grains
- E.g. whole wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain barley, millet.
- Eat at most meals.
- Refined grains
- E.g. white rice and bread, potatoes and pasta.
- Amount to eat: sparingly or avoid
- Amount to eat: 2.5 cups.
- Eat in abundance.
- Amount to eat: 2 cups
- 2-3 times a day.
- Fish, poultry, eggs
- 0- 2 times a day
- Milk & other dairy products
- 3 cups of low or fat-free milk or equivalent in yogurt or low-fat cheese
- Dairy or calcium supplement, 1-2 times a day
- Red meats and butter
- 5.5 oz – no distinction between type
- Eat sparingly or avoid
- Dry beans and peas, nuts and seeds
- 1-3 times a day
- E.g. canola, soy, corn, sunflower, peanut, and other vegetable oils
- Aim for 6 tsp of oils.
- Should be polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats.
- Avoid saturated and trans fats.
Eat a Well-Balanced, Nutritious Diet
From the above guideline, I’m sure you now have an even better idea why nutrition is important and why you need to eat a variety of food, to get the required amount of nutrition.
There’s no single food that contains all the essential nutrients your body needs, to be healthy and function efficiently.
And the nutritional value of your meal depends on the overall mixture or balance of foods you eat over a period of time, as well as on your individual needs.
You should try to have a balance in eating carbohydrate, protein, fat and other nutrients.
Too little protein can interfere with growth and other body functions.
Too much fat can lead to obesity and heart disease.
Too much carbohydrate can lead to weight gain.
You get the picture.
Inseparable Duo, Food and Nutrition
You know, I always think food and nutrition are inseparable.
You eat food, you get nutrition.
The problem is – we tend to eat out of balance; we tend to eat too much of every thing…That’s the real spoiler.
Next time, before you tuck into that extra piece of meat, bread, cookie… know that with the right amount of food you can control:
- How healthy you’ll be
- How thin or fat you’ll be
- How long you’ll live
- How you look
- How you feel
- How well you perform
- How smart you get things done
Then you’ll get smart balancing food intake and eating healthy portions that get you to accomplish the “higher” purposes of eating food.