You are What You Eat
It’s increasingly plain that your health, or lack of health, is related to what you eat, how much you eat, and what you don’t eat. Everybody eats – usually three, four, or more times each day.
But, food is food, right? Not exactly. All food is not equal. Your body needs certain nutrients for specific tasks.
- Nutrients to keep your brain functioning; to think, make decisions, and interact with others
- Materials to replace and repair muscles, skin, bones, and organs
- Energy to digest more food and distribute nutrients to all parts of your body
- Fuel that allows you to walk, run, and work
- Energy that keeps your body temperature at about 98.6 degrees
- Nutrients that keep all your body systems balanced just right
Fries, cheeseburgers, sugary snacks, sweet desserts, soda pop, and highly processed foods taste good, are readily available, and are full of calories. They do not, however, provide the balance of nutrients you need to get healthy and stay healthy.
What are the Risks?
Poor nutrition has been directly linked to a number of very serious diseases and physical problems. The major nutrition-linked physical problems are:
- Coronary Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Even with all the benefits of modern science and medicine, U.S. diets have not improved over the last century. Instead, Americans have made changes that increase health risks rather than promote good health. The average American eats more fat than grandma and grandpa did. Yearly sugar intake has increased dramatically during the past century and there have been increases in salt intake, junk food snacking, and eating highly processed foods. At the same time, intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods has decreased.
Nothing but the Facts
Numerous studies have shown that even small improvements in nutrition will reduce your risk of disease and extend your life.
- Increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables has been shown to be protective against cancer.
- Eating more fiber is effective in lowering the risk of heart disease.
- Adequate calcium strengthens bones and reduces the risk of broken bones and osteoporosis.
- Potassium has been shown to help manage blood pressure and reduce the risk of irregular heartbeat.
- Adequate water is essential to many bodily functions, including temperature control, food metabolism, and maintaining body fluid levels.
Isn’t Good Nutrition Difficult to Achieve?
Nutritional planning will initially take some time and effort but will become easier as you learn more about good food choices. Start choosing healthy foods today.