Good Nutrition Provides Energy
The foods you eat provide the energy your body needs to function. Just like you need to put fuel in your car or recharge your cell phone battery, your body needs to be fed energy-providing foods every day. The main form of energy for your body is carbohydrates.
Your body has the easiest time digesting carbohydrates like sugar and starch. Carbohydrates are broken down into individual glucose, fructose or galactose units. Glucose is your body’s favorite form of energy. If you don’t get enough carbohydrates, your body can make glucose from protein or fat -- and if you get too many carbohydrates, your body is very good at storing them as fat.
Good Nutrition Provides Raw Materials
Protein in the foods you eat is broken down into individual amino acids. Your body uses the amino acids to build and repair the various parts of your body. Your muscles contain lots of protein, and you need to replenish that protein through your diet. Your body also needs protein for components of your immune system, hormones, nervous system, and organs.
Another raw material your body needs is calcium. Calcium has several functions in your body, but it's best known as the mineral that is stored in your bones and teeth. You need calcium from your diet to keep your bones and teeth strong.
Your body also needs fats to be healthy. Membranes that contain fats surround all the cells of your body. Your brain has fatty acids, and fats are also needed to signal hormones.
The "Little Helpers"
Vitamins and minerals you get from your diet are just as important as carbohydrates, protein and fats; however, you only need them in small amounts. Vitamins and minerals usually function as co-enzymes, which means they help chemical reactions in the body happen a lot faster. For example, many of the B complex vitamins help your body burn carbohydrates for energy. Vitamin A is needed for vision, zinc is involved in many metabolic processes, and vitamin C helps keep connective tissue strong and your immune system functioning.
Your diet needs to provide adequate amounts of all of these "little helpers." A healthy, balanced diet will provide you with lots of vitamin and minerals. An unhealthy diet may make your body deficient in one or more of these helpers.
Above and Beyond the Basics
Good nutrition provides more than energy, structural components, vitamins and minerals. There are other substances in the foods that you eat that have become better known over the last few years.
Phytochemicals are found in the colorful parts of fruits and vegetables. Although they aren't required for body functioning, they may have a very powerful impact on your health. For example, quercetin (found in red apples) functions like an antihistamine and as an anti-inflammatory effect. Resveratrol, found in grape skins and seeds, is a powerful antioxidant.
Antioxidants help protect your body from damage that comes from the sun, pollution, smoke, and poor dietary choices. They are found in the phytochemicals of fruits and vegetables, as well as some vitamins and amino acids.
Good Nutrition Means Good Health
A healthy diet will give your body the right amount of energy, enough raw materials and all of the "little helpers" you need to stay healthy. Good nutrition will also provide phytochemicals and antioxidants that will help keep you feeling young, looking great, and perhaps even disease-free. A bad diet will give you too many or too few calories, not enough vitamins and minerals, and will actually make you need more of the antioxidants that you aren’t getting.
Now that you have a better idea of why your body needs food, the next step is to learn more about nutrition and how to eat a balanced diet: Contact us to get in touch with one of our trained nutrition counsellors to get started on your healthy nutrition plan.
Diet and Nutrition as Key Contributors to Stress
The body works much like a clock, where every facet contributes to functionality. Diet and nutrition are a part of these facets. Our diet is simply anything we ingest.
Our nutrition is (also called nourishment or aliment) the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary (in the form of food) to support life (for health and growth).
The calories we take in are our energy with which to function. Without adequate calories, the body gets run down. Your brain is part of your body. When your brain gets rundown, it begins the process of shutting off processes that are unnecessary for survival. Our higher order cognitive functions are some such processes. Within our higher order cognitive functions are logic and reasoning. Without logic and reasoning we can not control our emotions. Everything that happens around and to us impacts us on an emotional level. If we can not control those emotions, all of those circumstances will be magnified by our emotion centre. Therefore, if something makes you sad, you may become depressed; if something arouses fear, you may be come highly anxious; if something causes stress, you will become overwhelmed. For this reason, we need to ensure that we take control of our diet to ensure that our brain is functioning well, so that we can manage our day to day stressors and events.
~ Michelle Neustaedter
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