The Importance Of Good Nutrition
You need to consider whether the foods you eat are high in nutritional value. The reason is if you eat foods that are low in nutritional value your body will not function effectively and optimally. This has an adverse effect on all your body’s processes and can ultimately lead to you gaining weight. For example, if you become deficient in the nutrients that support healthy digestion your body will not be as efficient at breaking down the foods you eat and as a result you will gain weight.
An Introduction To The Nutrients
The nutrients are quite simply substances that provide nourishment. They can be broken down into 3 main categories:
1) The Macronutrients: These are the 3 main nutrients your body needs to survive. They are the main source of calories in the human diet and are required in relatively large amounts.
2) The Micronutrients: These are the other nutrients that your body needs to survive. They contain no calories and are required in much smaller amounts.
3) The Phytonutrients: These are nutrients that your body can survive without but have a number of health boosting properties. They contain no calories and if you choose to take them they are required in much smaller amounts.
An Introduction To The Macronutrients
The macronutrients include carbohydrates, dietary fats and protein:
1) Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy. Although your body can technically survive without carbohydrates (which is part of the reason for the popularity of low carb and no carb diets) you should not completely cut them out of your diet because they are often an excellent source of dietary fiber (a type of indigestible carbohydrate that promotes healthy digestion), micronutrients and phytonutrients.
2) Dietary Fats: There are 4 main types of dietary fat (monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats and trans fats). Dietary fats are often vilified (which is part of the reason for the popularity of low fat diets) and seen as something to avoid. Saturated fat in particular gets a really bad rap and is often blamed for causing heart disease. However, the truth is that you need monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and saturated fat to survive. All 3 of these fats fight disease, protect your vital organs, support essential processes in your body and much more. The only fats you should avoid are trans fats (an unnatural, man-made fat which is extremely damaging to your health).
3) Protein: Protein is your body’s building block. It builds, maintains and repairs all your body’s cells and also regulates certain processes within the human body. It’s superimportant for all these reasons and because it’s required to rebuild those muscles you’re working out and because it keeps you from getting hungry sooner than you should.
An Introduction To The Micronutrients
The micronutrients include vitamins and minerals:
1) Vitamins: Vitamins are organic compounds (compounds that come from plants and animals) that boost your vital organs, keep you safe from disease and much more.
2) Minerals: Minerals are inorganic compounds (compounds that come from the soil and water) that fight disease, support essential functions within your body and much more.
An Introduction To The Phytonutrients
There are hundreds of different phytonutrients. They are not classed as essential nutrients because humans can technically survive without them. However, they boost your health in multiple ways and it is highly recommended that you make them part of your diet.
How Much Of Each Nutrient Do You Need?
There is a lot of debate around what percentage of your calories should come from carbohydrates, dietary fats and proteins. The most popular opinion is that you should get an equal amount of calories (33.3%) from each of the 3 macronutrients. The carbohydrates will give you energy plus a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, the dietary fats will support and protect your body internally and the protein will give you the fuel you need to build, maintain and repair your cells.
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