Diet Staples Food Formats and your Health
The Four Food groups in the “Food Pyramid” we learned in school are essential to a healthy diet.
It’s impossible to ignore those diet scare tactics the media plasters all around us, but they often overcomplicate things and end up leaving us worse for wear. So, Vitamin Heal decided to provide a quick reminder of what well-rounded diet actually looks like (give or take), and why we all need one to retain health and youth.
The Cornerstones: The foundation for a healthy body is basic diet & nutrition. It’s important to remember that eating healthy requires a balance of nutrients, best derived from natural sources. This includes adding real food from all of the food groups to your diet. The basic four include: dairy or foods high in calcium, meat or foods high in iron and protein, fruits & vegetables, and fats (of course, not in equal amounts or order of importance). The body also needs vitamins and minerals, usually obtained in proper amounts through a balanced diet, and water. The body’s complex systems rely on all of these essentials combined.
Carbohydrates Are Not Your Enemy: Carbohydrates are found in most all of the food groups, and there are many different kinds of carbs in a healthy diet. Your body uses carbohydrates to make glucose, which it converts into energy to keep everything moving. The hype over carbohydrates comes from the fact that your body stores glucose immediately and too many of the “bad” carbohydrates can turn into excess body fat. So the foundation of a healthy diet is carbohydrates, but over doing it can leave you with stored carbohydrates as body fat.
Since a healthy diet needs a variety of nutrients, where you get your carbs from can be really important. There are a variety of different carbohydrates including complex carbs, which take longer to break down into glucose providing the body a source of energy that lasts longer. There are also refined carbohydrates, commonly found in white breads and sugary foods like candy and cookies. Fiber is also a complex carbohydrate and found in common foods including whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Although all of the unrefined types of carbs are important, fiber is true diet staple required for the healthy functioning of the body’s systems.
Protein- The Building Blocks of Your Cells: Every living cell, tissue and organ in the body is made of proteins. Since the body uses protein to build cells and healthy tissues it is essential to a healthy diet & body. Proteins found in common foods are broken down into amino acids that are used to replace proteins in the body (the structural components of living cells). Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, there are 20 different amino acids that make up proteins. These are referred to as essential and non-essential amino acids, as the body can only manufacture one kind of amino acid by itself. This is why essential amino acids are referred to as such, because the body cannot make them. They must be replaced every day through diet.
The Dreaded Fats in a Diet That Aren’t So Bad: Fats are also essential to normal diet & body function but as you may already know, some fats are better than others. There are even fats that are referred to as essential because they too are found in healthy living cells throughout the body. The “bad” fats are trans fats, saturated fats and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that can clog the arteries and turn into damaging cholesterol. These are to be avoided in a healthy diet. Remember, fats are required in the smaller amounts than other basic groups, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all need the “good” kind of fat, so don’t skimp on those almonds & avocados!
Vitamins, Minerals & Nutrients, OH MY!: If you manage to master the diet staples and get all your carbohydrates from the right sources, eat only essential fats and get your proteins containing all 20 amino acids, there might still be nutrients that you are missing. However if you eat a balanced diet combining the basics you should be able to get the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to continue to grow and maintain your youthful vigor longer than most. If you don’t get enough of these substances your body will pull them from healthy tissues and that can leave you depleted of these essential nutrients. Since the body cannot produce some of these including calcium, they must be taken in through diet.
H2 OH YEAH: Water is another element used in the body to help maintain proper functioning and is essential in a healthy diet. It helps keep the body at its normal temperature, lubricates joints, protects the spinal cord and is found in healthy body tissues but most importantly it rids the body of wastes. Since the body loses water, it also needs water to replace what its uses through everyday functions.
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