Whether your already at your ideal weight or striving to reach it is it simply a matter of burning more calories than you take in right? Wrong, unfortunately it’s not that simple. Nutritional intake plays a huge role in your overall health and failure to monitor that intake, as you struggle to lose or gain weight could be doing more damage that good to your body. In addition to gaining or losing weight, correct nutrition can help to reduce the risk of a myriad of health-related problems, including heart disease, cancer and hormone imbalances. Proper nutrition, entails eating many different foods, limiting consumption of some, and eliminating others. Calories, I find are a small part of the equation.
To function properly, your body pulls from a variety of nutrients.
Carbohydrates: They are the primary source of ammunition in your diet. The body uses carbohydrates to build glucose which can be used immediately 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 and should be limited. Starches and fibers, such as those found in fruits and vegetables are complex carbohydrates and can be enjoyed more freely. A general rule is to consume two- and one-half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit each day. When making your selections for each day, be sure to choose a good variety, eat as many different colors as possible, eating seasonal produce can also help to add diversity. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to visit your local farmers market, it’s a great opportunity to find fresh, in-season and local produce.
Proteins: 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 types of proteins.
Fat: Strange as it may seem; fat is another nutrient your body requires. It comes in both saturated and unsaturated forms. Saturated fats are commonly found in things like butter, beef and pounds. Unsaturated fat found in things like olive oil and avocados are shown to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Vitamins: 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 you need your body to perform.
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 production of red blood cells. Vitamin D assists with the absorption of calcium.
Minerals and trace elements: These other nutrients your body requires. Both are used in many different body processes. Some can be readily found in the foods we consume, while others may require supplementation.
While things like activities, gender and age influence your personal needs there is no need to make it complicated, add variety and balance to your day and remember to keep it simple. Shifting your focus to quality vs quantity as you plan your meals and workouts will pay off in the long run.
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This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.