Six Important Components of a Healthy Diet


Six Important Components of a Healthy Diet

Proper nutrition can aid in the prevention of a number of health conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and obesity. Understanding the importance of the six components of a healthy diet will help you incorporate a nutrient dense diet into your daily routine with ease.

Macronutrients

  • Carbohydrates

  • Proteins

  • Fat

Micronutrients

  • Vitamins

  • Minerals

Carbohydrates

  • Our main source of energy

  • Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and tubers are carbohydrates

  • These foods play an important role in the functioning of the internal organs, the nervous system, and the muscles

  • Are needed to regulate protein and fat metabolism

  • With proteins and fats, help to fight infections, promote growth of body tissues, and lubricate joints

  • High source of fibre

  • The general starting point for a moderate-size woman is 45-60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal; for moderate-size men, 60-75 grams of carbs per meal.

Protein

  • Makes up about 20% of our body weight

  • Is a primary component of our muscles, hair, nails, skin, eyes, and internal organs, especially the heart and brain

  • Immune defense system requires protein, especially for the formation of antibodies which help fight infections

  • Hormones that regulate our metabolism, such as thyroid hormone and insulin, are proteins

  • Is needed for growth and the maintenance of body tissues

  • To figure out your daily requirements for protein multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.8. Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg. So 150 lbs = 68 kg, multiplied by 0.8 = 54 grams of protein per day.

Fats

  • Fats are primarily a form of energy reserves and insulation in the body

  • Can be burned to make energy

  • Are important in transporting other nutrients, such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K, the “fat-soluble vitamins”

  • Essential component of the cell membrane, and internal fatty tissues protect the vital organs from trauma and temperature change by providing padding and insulation

  • Helps regulate body temperature

  • Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) can’t be made by the body and must be obtained through diet

  • Some examples of healthy fats: coconut oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, avocado oil, hemp oil, flax seed oil

  • Healthy fats don’t make you fat!

  • Daily intake of healthy fat for the average adult is 70 grams.

Vitamins

  • Are essential in human nutrition

  • Are obtained by eating plants and animals that make them

  • Most vitamins cannot be manufactured in our body

  • Some B vitamins can be made by our intestinal bacteria

  • Vitamins are not sources of energy

  • Are essential for growth, vitality, and health and are helpful in digestion, elimination, and resistance to disease

  • Depletions and deficiencies can lead to a variety of nutritional disorders and general health problems

  • Water-soluble vitamins include many of the B vitamins and Vitamin C, they are stable in raw foods, but may be lost during cooking and processing, they are not stored in the body, so they are needed regularly in our diets

  • Fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K, which are found in the lipid component of vegetable and animal-source foods, they can be stored in the body tissues, so we can function for longer periods of time without obtaining them through diet, for this reason, toxic levels can occur

Minerals

  • Bones, teeth, nails, skin, hair and all other tissues require minerals for their formation

  • Tissue requires relatively large amounts of some minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and sulfur - these minerals are called macro-minerals

  • Trace Minerals - the remaining minerals that are essential for good health are known as trace minerals, or micro-minerals

  • The trace elements generally recognized as essential to good health are chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, silicon and zinc

Water

  • Is essential for all life

  • The medium in which all other nutrients are found

  • Our bodies are at least 60% water

  • The human brain is composed of 70% water

  • It is involved in almost every bodily function: circulation, digestion, absorption, and elimination of wastes

  • Keeps body properly hydrated

  • Carries toxins from body

  • Drink 1 litre of water for every 50 lbs. of bodyweight per day

Natural nutrition is an approach to personal well-being, highlighting wellness through a clean, organic, fresh, whole foods diet consisting of natural, alive, good quality foods.

Whole foods are unprocessed and unrefined, meaning they haven’t been altered from their natural state, are free of artificial ingredients and preservatives. They contain all of their nutrients, in proper proportions. They also contain fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Many of these nutrients are lost in refined foods.

You want to ensure you receive a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, vitamins and minerals.

Plan your meals in advance. Your plate should be filled with a variety of fresh vegetables, healthy proteins and if you desire, whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa.

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