Who doesn’t want to be healthy, seriously? Who wouldn’t want to wake up in the morning, completely energized and ready take on the day? Many, in fact most of us, would want to live a happy, positive, and energetic life – a lifestyle where you can spend hours upon hours working, studying, and even playing a sport, yet still feel great at the end of the day.
Sounds impossible? Definitely not! With the right nutrition, you can become the healthiest version of yourself.
The Nutrition Your Body Needs
Before anything, let’s clear out any confusion. Nutrition and nutrients are closely related to each other, however, they are two different things. Nutrition is the science of determining which components are in which foods and understanding how it affects a person’s health, while nutrients are the various components of the food, such as fat, carbohydrates, and vitamins that the body consumes.
With that said, your body is going to need the right and proper number of nutrients for a healthier and more positive lifestyle.
There are 25 nutrients for your body’s strength and survival: carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals; and water. These are what the body needs to maintain our wellness.
What fuel is to an engine; carbohydrates are to human bodies. They are the body’s main source of energy and the brain’s only source of “juice”. Its importance is vital not only to our survival, but also for our wellness.
Almost every food contain carbohydrates, but they can easily be found in whole grains and food made from whole-grain such as whole-wheat bread, bulgur, barley, oatmeal, brown rice, and cornmeal.
It also pays to know that too much sugar and refined grains, such as white pasta, white rice, and white bread, isn’t healthy for us since much of the nutrients are taken out during the “refining” process.
Protein is also another vital energy source for the body. Protein consist of amino acids which are the body’s main building blocks for tissues such as muscle, skin, bone, and hair. This energy source is famed in the body-building world as it essential for the repair of muscle fibers. Just as important as the others, it plays a major role in the production of enzymes, hormones, and antibodies.
The best sources of natural protein can be found in lean meats, poultry and seafood, beans and peas, nuts and seeds, eggs, and soy products.
Despite its unhealthy reputation, fats are also essential to the body’s survival and is a vital nutrient for the body. Most of the fat we consume come from unhealthy saturated fats such as red meat, cheese, butter, and ice cream and trans fats which are processed products that contain partially hydrogenated oil (hotdogs, bacon, etc.) which increase your risk for disease especially heart-related ones.
According to the USDA, the best sources of healthy fats are the liquid monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are found in olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados, as well as fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamins & Minerals
On the hierarchy of nutrients, vitamins and minerals belong to the top. These nutrients are incredibly essential as they maintain the body’s optimal health. They are needed for the numerous physiological functions of your body.
They’re necessary for the body’s normal growth and development, and each vitamin and mineral plays a unique role in the body’s optimal health.
- Calcium: provides health for the bones, can be found in dairy products; fish with bones; dark, leafy greens.
- Fiber: protects against the risk of coronary heart disease and reduces chances of diabetes; can be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
- Vitamin A: important for vision, red blood cell production, embryonic development and immune function; can be found in organ meats, orange vegetables, green, and green, leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin C: it’s a disease-fighting antioxidant and helps maintain a healthy immune system; can be found in fruits and vegetables.
- Vitamin E: Acts as disease-fighting antioxidant and supports eye health; can be found in ready-to-eat cereals, some oils, almonds, peanut butter.
It’s possible to live for weeks without food, but you will only survive a few days without water. This is because water is the most essential nutrient since it’s involved in many of the body’s vital functions. It’s also the distributor of other essential nutrients to your sells.
During the summer, it’s important to drink at least 8 – 10 glasses of water to keep your body hydrated and functioning at maximum capacity. While on normal days, at least 8 glasses will suffice.
The Benefits of a Healthy You
The main takeaways are: balance your diet, eat healthy meals, drink lots of water, and exercise. Armed with the knowledge you have now and the choice to become healthier and happier, you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle coupled with an improved mood, a strong immune system, high energy levels, and an increased lifespan.
1 WiseGeek: http://www.wisegeekhealth.com/what-is-the-difference-between-nutrition-and-nutrients.htm
25 Essential Nutrients to Maximize Your Health, By Elizabeth Shimer Bowers, Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD, http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/guide-to-essential-nutrients/simple-guide-to-good-nutrition/
3The Nutrients You Need, by Sally Solo, http://www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/healthy-eating/nutrients-you-need
The Benefit of Healthy Habits, by Healthline Editorial Team, Reviewed by, Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT; http://www.healthline.com/health/5-benefits-healthy-habits#Improveslongevity6