We are bombarded daily by newspapers, magazines, applications, commercials and news programs to start living our healthiest lives. The media tell us what we should eat, what pills we should take and what new diet trend will help us lose those extra pounds.
With so many contradictory opinions, we just give up thinking we will ever be able to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. At the end of the day, we want to be healthy, to have more energy and to feel good in our minds as well as in our looks. Here is some information to help you start feeling healthier and is also easy on your bank balance.
A nutrient is defined as “anything that provides nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life”. Water is one of the most important nutrients for our bodies. Water makes up 60 percent of a human’s body. We absolutely rely on water because it is essential for survival. A few days without water can lead to serious illness or death.
Keeping hydrated is also important because water is important for temperature regulation, waste removal, digestion and an essential element of every cell. Coffee and soda actually dehydrate your body. Make sure you drink water throughout the day and eat fruit and vegetables to stay hydrated.
Carbohydrates are also important for nutrition. We are always being told to, “Cut out Carbs!” if we want to be thin and healthy. But, in fact, carbohydrates are critical to the functioning of our body as they are broken down into glucose, which is the primary source of fuel for our bodies and brain!
Carbs provide us with energy and also stabilize blood sugar levels and preserve muscle mass by preventing the breakdown of proteins for energy, and complex carbohydrates take longer to break down, which means you’ll feel fuller longer!
Alas, this does not mean you can eat all the pasta you want, it means you need to look for carbs that are on the healthy side of the spectrum, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These are but a few examples of complex carbohydrates that will fuel your body with a megadose of nutrients.
Protein is a nutrient that is critical to good health. Protein helps form new muscles, creates new enzymes and hormones, and is comprised of small building blocks called amino acids. Animal proteins provide the amounts needed for all essential amino acids.
However, the new trend of plant-based proteins, which are appearing more and more, are typically lacking in one or more amino acids. This does not mean plant-based proteins are bad for you, it just means you will need to add more protein into your diets, such as eggs, dairy, nuts, and beans.
Fat has such a bad reputation. Yet it is also an extremely important nutrient that needs to be included in your diet. Fat provides energy, helps with the absorption of certain vitamins, and helps protect your organs from damage. Good fats, or “Unsaturated fats,” can help protect the heart and help prevent heart disease. good fats include nuts, avocados, salmon, olive oil, flaxseed, and nut butter. Bad fats, or “Trans Fats,” are found in processed foods, baked goods, and shortening. You should try to avoid these fats as they increase your chances of heart disease.
Vitamins are defined as, “any of a group of organic substances essential in small quantities to normal metabolism, found in minute amounts in natural foodstuffs or sometimes produced synthetically: deficiencies of vitamins produce specific disorders.”
As we all know, Vitamin D promotes bone health, but did you also know that it regulates your metabolism, calms down cravings and boosts your immune system! We get most of our Vitamin D from the sun. It’s no wonder more people get sick during the winter when the sun is usually hiding behind dark clouds. Great sources of Vitamin D come from herring, salmon, catfish, tuna, shrimp, and eggs.
Vitamin C contains antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body and help fight against inflammation, infection, and viruses. Vitamin C promotes healthy teeth and gums and helps your body build healthy tissue. Sources of Vitamin C can be found in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
There are eight B vitamins that support a healthy metabolism, brain function, hormone production, heart operations, central nervous system, and cells. Sources of Vitamin B are leafy greens, oatmeal, salmon, liver, eggs, and milk.
Try to follow a balanced diet to reap the benefits of the vitamins and nutrients they provide, and, as always, ask your doctor first before adding any supplements to your diet.