Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A word about nutrition

Why eat ?

Eating puts you directly in control of your own health, and it provides pleasure.
Foods contain the nutrients that are essential to good health.They provide energy & allow your body to grow. These nutrients areproteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.

Each person's daily caloric needs are specific.The calories you need depend on your height and weight, your activity level and wether you want to lose, gain or maintain weight.

What is good nutrition ?

Good nutritient involves eating a variety of foods, because no one food will supply all the nutrients your body needs. The 4 main food groups are : 1. Fruits and vegetables, 2. Whole grains, cereals and breads, 3. Dairy products and 4. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dried beans and peas. Eating from each of the food groups everyday will help prevent any nutrient deficiency.

Experts recommend a daily calorie intake of 50 to 60% carbohydrates, not more than 30% from fats and the remainder from protein. These rules refelect a new emphasis on limiting fat & increasing carbohydrates, especially carbohydrates and fiber rich foods like whole grains, legumes & vegetables.

Are carbohydrates fattening ?

No carbohydrates are no more fattening than any other food.Infact ounce for ounce they provide half the calories of fat. Carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy and provide valuable vitamins, minerals & fiber.You should keep in mind that there are 2 types of carbohydrates--Simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates, or sugars are found naturally in foods, such as fruits.When you eat these carbohydrates in their natural state, you get vitamins aminerals and fiber.

Complex carbohydrates or starches are found in a variety of foods and for that reason are usually the major source of carbohydrates in the diet. Complex carbohydrates and naturally occuring sugars should be stressed in a healthy diet. Examples of complex carbohydrates include starchy vegetables, beans, pasta and whole grain flours, breads and cereals.

Where can I find fiber ?
Fiber is the indigestible part of plants & it is found in legumes, fruits vegetables abd whole grain cereals and breads>It also aids digestion.

Why limit fatWhy limit fat ?
Fat is the most calorie dense nutrient.It contains about twice as many calories as carbohydrates or protein.While some fat is essential in the diet, most experts recommend no more than 30% of your daily calories come from fat.We generally talk about unsaturated and saturated dietary fat.Unsaturated fat is usually liquid at room temprature & is found in plants.Saturated fat is usually solid at room tempr5ature and is found in animals.

How do I know which foods are good for me and which are not ?
The most nutritious foods are high in vitamins and nutrients, but not high in calories.These include complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products.Eaten in moderation, these provide energy and nutrients without a lot of calories.

Avoid the so called empty calories found in refined sugars and in alcohol.

Why watch my weight ?
Carrying around extra weight can lead to a host of problems.It can drain your energy, cause heart and lung problems and it can even cause your self esteem to suffer.The best way to lose weight or avoid gaining excess weight is to pay attention to your balance of food & activity.

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