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  • Writer's pictureAlyssa

A Healthy Guide to Good Nutrition

Whether you are at your ideal weight or striving to reach your weight goal is it

simply a matter of burning more calories than you take in?

The answer, is no!

Overall body health improvement as well as weight gain or loss must be

factored into the equation or you could be heading for problems.

Correct nutrition can help to reduce the risk of a myriad of health-related problems, the most frightening of which are surely heart disease and cancer. Proper nutrition,

however, entails eating many different foods, monitoring your consumption of

some food and beverage items, and counting calories. Good diets offer balanced

nutrition that reduces cholesterol, blood pressure, and helps with weight control.

To function properly, your body has to have the correct combination 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. Starches

and fibers are complex carbohydrates. Make sense?

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. Too much animal

protein can cause high cholesterol, as it is high in saturated fat.

Fat. Strange as it may seem, is good for you! And is another nutrient your body requires. It comes in both saturated and unsaturated forms. Saturated fat puts you at risk of health problems. Unsaturated fat is healthy, but if it goes through any type of refinement process, it can become saturated fat.

Vitamins. These are also required nutrients. 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. It has also

been noted that certain vitamins can prevent disease.

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. Vitamin K helps your blood clot.

Minerals and trace elements. These are another nutrient your body requires. Both

are used in many different body processes. Minerals like chlorine help make your

digestive juices.

Phosphorus helps build strong bones. Both can be found in the foods we consume, but with a trace element, your body just needs a tiny amount.

Salt is one final nutrient your body requires. You shouldn't consume more than

2400 milligrams per day, though, as it might raise your blood pressure.

There are several guidelines you should follow to create a

well balanced, nutritional diet:

First, try to consume 2 and 1/2 cup of veggies and two cups of fruit

each day. When making your selections for each day, be sure to choose a good variety. A good rough guide is to eat the rainbow; this will help you to select from all five vegetable subgroups at least four times per week.

You should eat at least three ounces of whole grain products each day.

At least half of your grain intake should be whole grain based.

Your total fat intake should only be between ten and thirty percent of your calories.

Most of the fats you consume should be in the form of unsaturated fats, as saturated fats can damage your health.

Stay clear of "fat free" labeling.

Meat, poultry, should all be lean but if you are consuming milk products opt for the full fat rather than the fat free. If manufacturers are taking good healthy fats out of the product than they are usually adding something back to take its place, usually in the form of sugar. Less than ten percent of your calories should come from saturated fats, and you should always try to avoid trans-fatty acid.

Whole grains:

Fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be a regular part of your diet

as should potassium rich foods.

Alcoholic beverages should only be consumed in moderation.

Following some simple guidelines and being mindful of having a balanced diet will do wonders for you gut health and your waistline.

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