The study of nutrition is about what you eat and how it affects the energy and vitality you need to enjoy your life. The truism that “Health is Wealth” cannot be overstated. Health is one of those things that if you have it, you can focus on other things, and if you don’t, it will be all that you can focus on. And wellness does not come about by accident. It is a conscious, purposeful approach to living that requires at least a little knowledge about nutrition.
Here is a quick list of nutrition facts for your information. If you need more specific information on any topic, you can click on the links provided.
Just the facts, Ma'am!
There are five nutrient groups: Protein, Fats, Carbohydrates, Vitamins, Minerals, Water.
Protein and Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, and Fats provide 9 calories per gram.
Vitamins, Minerals and Water do not provide calories.
You need to eat a variety of foods to provide nutrients from each category, every day.
A deficiency in any nutrient group will eventually cause health problems.
Although, not generally listed as a separate nutrient, Fiber is also necessary for your health and well-being.
Empty calories are those foods, usually processed, that provide little or no nutrition, but at the same time add calories.
Vegetables that are lightly cooked or eaten raw have the most nutritional benefit. (There are exceptions such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash that require more cooking.)
Water is necessary for many of your body’s functions.
Although nutrient requirements may vary based on age, gender and nutritional status, there is a direct correlation between the nutrients in your diet and your general health.
Of course, there is much more to the science of nutrition than the general facts listed above. There is still a lot we do not know about how foods affect how you feel and how well you are.
For instance, the science of phytonutrients, substances such as beta carotene found in food that have an effect on your nutritional status, is still in its infancy. In addition, as you age, your body changes and your need and use of nutrients will also change.
Another important part of the science of nutrition is to determine how food affects disease and how it interacts with the drugs you take to manage disease. Each of us is an individual, so the foods we eat and even the drugs we take may affect us differently.
To make it even more complicated, not all nutritionists agree on some of the finer points of what we eat such as low fat, low carb, high fat, high carb, raw food only, plant food only, etc.
Click on the links at the top of this page for more specific nutrition facts on the topics that interest you.
They're called "habits" for a reason!
If you are used to eating an unhealthy diet, changing those long established habits is one of the most difficult things that you will ever do. There may even be underlying reasons why the old, unhealthy habits seem to have so much power over you. If that’s the case, you may need to get professional guidance or therapy to help deal with those issues.
Nevertheless, the matchless benefits of eating healthy are so powerful, that I hope you will take the time to learn what eating behaviors will lead to a healthy life, and then commit to making those changes, whatever it takes.