Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is really all a matter of making the right food choices. Our body needs well balanced food diet with water and oxygen, covering following four food groups:
- Dietary Fats
- Minerals and Vitamins
Each has a specific role and function in our body.
Water is essential for our survival. Our body is composed of 70% water. To survive, we must maintain sufficient hydration level. When our water reserves drops, body asks for more by triggering thirst reflex. Water provides necessary organ and tissue hydration, joint, bone and spinal cushioning and lubrication, temperature control, healthy digestion, bowel movement and toxin removal, and helps facilitate numerous biochemical activities. As we loose several liters of water daily trough perspiration and secretions, it in necessary to hydrate properly. Prolonged dehydration can lead to organ damage and death. This is why meeting body’s hydration needs is paramount. Thankfully water is available in abundance and a step as small as drinking several glasses of water per day can provide sufficient hydration.
Carbohydrates are major source of sugars our body needs to facilitate a variety of processes that keep us alive. Our body uses carbohydrates for energy, bowel function, toxin removal, blood glucose regulation, cell fueling and communication, tissue cohesion and adherence, immune system response, and healthy organ, brain and cardiovascular systems functions. They come in few basic forms, simple and complex carbohydrates and refined and unrefined carbohydrates. All are important for variety of metabolic functions that go on in a body on daily basis. As carbohydrates in ready to eat form, such as cookies, pack quite a caloric punch it is best to stay away from them and go for vegetables, grains and fruits instead. Few servings of fruits and vegetables a day will do to keep us healthy, energized and vital.
Proteins are part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our body. They are essential for metabolic rate control and maintaining body’s structural composition. Due to their function and nature, proteins are constantly being broken down and replaced trough organ and tissue regeneration. Proteins and their amino acid constituents are found in variety of meat sources, lentils, beans, corn, vegetables such as avocado, fruits such as banana and many more. Proteins facilitate a variety of functions such as antibody, enzyme and hormone formation, provide cell structure and storage, facilitate transport of other molecules, and more. Without proteins our body cannot maintain muscle tone and cannot burn calories properly. To provide maximum benefits, protein intake is best when distributed trough few small portions throughout the day.
Some fats are necessary for our health. Dietary fats, such as unsaturated fats, namely polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are beneficial for our metabolism. Taken in controlled amounts, unsaturated fats help keep our bodies healthy. Saturated and trans fats on the other hand have quite the opposite effect. They clog our arteries, increase fat deposits, slow down our metabolism and cause a plethora of chronic diseases. Sure they taste good – but they also kill. Needless to say, to maintain and good weight and stay healthy, we need to stray clear of saturated and trans fats. While saturated fats provide little or no benefits, unsaturated fats provide rich cell storage for extra calories, body insulation, energy, long –term physical endurance, healthy skin, nails and hair, transportation and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D ,E and K). Even then, unsaturated fats should be consumed in very limited amounts and from variety of sources such as nuts, vegetable oils, fish and flax-seed. When fats are in question, moderation is the key.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and Minerals are the smallest but nevertheless crucial components of healthy nutrition. They facilitate a variety of cellular reactions and drive numerous biochemical pathways and synthesis that are part of healthy metabolism. Lack of minerals and vitamins can have detrimental consequences for our body as without them our body cannot do majority of processes that enable us to stay alive. The best sources of vitamins and minerals are fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes, lentils and nuts. Vitamins and minerals help us build new cells, achieve good bone density, achieve and maintain healthy blood cell count, maintain skin and mucous membranes, build healthy teeth, keep our hair shiny and strong, maintain optimum vision, provide healthy digestion, aid in reproduction and more. They are essential for healthy metabolism. Insufficient supplementation can lead to metabolic slowdown and development of chronic diseases such as anemia and osteoarthritis.
To remain healthy we need water, carbohydrates, proteins, dietary fats, vitamins and minerals. When ingested in balanced amounts they maintain healthy body and effective metabolism.
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