How does the human body get nutrition from food?
To stay healthy, one must ensure that his/her daily diet includes a wide variety of food items. Having different kinds of food provide people with the required nutrition for proper functioning of their organs. This article would educate you about essential nutrients and food items you will find them in.
Proteins provide human body with amino acids; our body needs amino acids for performing various daily activities. Examples of these activities include building new cells, repairing damaged old cells, creating enzymes and hormones, and strengthening our immune system. If your diet fails to provide you with protein in adequate quantities, your body would take much longer for recovering from illnesses. In addition, you chances of falling sick would also increase significantly.
One of the richest sources of protein is lean meat like chicken. If you are interested in getting acquainted with some chicken facts, we have a tip for you. The meat in chicken breast has been found to possess higher percentage of protein than that of other parts. Some other food items you can add to your diet for getting your daily quota of protein are peas, lentils, dried beans, low fat dairy products, fish, etc.
We need to eat carbohydrate-rich food for getting the energy required for performing daily chores. After being consumed, carbs get into our blood in form of glucose or blood sugar. Our body first uses this glucose as fuel for performing various physiological functions and every day jobs; the unused glucose is then converted into fat. Cereals, sugar, crackers, honey, breads, pasta, fruits are some of the richest sources of carbohydrate.
Ideally, your diet should contain carbohydrate-rich foods that have higher percentage of fiber. This will help you in keeping your bowel movement normal and would also keep your metabolic rate high. Sugar-rich food items and refined grains have low fiber content and as a result overconsumption of these foods should be avoided. You should try to get your daily dose of carb from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Consumption of fats is essential as they provide our body with the essential fatty acids it requires for growing and producing hormones and new cells. Consuming fat-rich food items is also important for allowing certain vitamins (fat soluble vitamins) for moving through our body. They are vitamins K, E, D, and A. Fat is also needed for protecting our organs from trauma. As mentioned above, our body stores all the excess calories in form of fat; this stored fat is used whenever we need extra energy.
Fats present in our food items can be of three main types; they are saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated.
You can get saturated fats from whole-milk products and meat. Although we mostly get saturated fat from animal products, palm oil and coconut oil are two of the richest sources of saturated fats in spite of being plant products.
One feature that makes identifying saturated fat easy is its tendency of becoming solid when kept in room temperature.
Doctors recommend limiting the quantity of saturated fat in your diet as this fat type is known to increase the level of bad (LDL) cholesterol in our blood. Red meat, butter, cheese etc. are some of the common sources of saturated fat.
While limited intake of those food items will not harm healthy individuals, one should avoid food items containing trans fats or trans saturated fats completely for staying healthy.
Trans fats are formed through hydrogenation of vegetable oils. It’s a process that requires incorporation of hydrogen to vegetable oils for making them more solid. Manufacturers use these hydrogenated oils during food processing for giving food items a desirable texture, taste, and shape and increasing their shelf-life. Some food items that are reserves of trans fat and shouldn’t be included in your diet are baked goods, pastries, doughnuts, cookies, stick margarine, shortening, and all kinds processed foods fried partially or fully in hydrogenated oils.
Food sources offering polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats include grains, nuts, and vegetables. You can also get these beneficial fats from oils extracted from various grains and nuts; examples include soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil etc. Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, fatty acids essential for having a healthy heart, are polyunsaturated fats. Add cold water fish like mackerel, salmon, and tuna to your daily diet for getting the required dose of essential fatty acids.
By opting for clean eating recipes you can ensure that your diet is comprised of the right kind of fats.
Minerals and Vitamins
We need to consume vitamin-rich food items for keeping our bones strong, having sharp and clear vision, and boasting glowing and healthy hair, skin, and nails. Consuming enough vitamins is also essential to allow our body use up the energy sourced from various foods consumed by us.
Minerals, on the other hand, are chemicals needed for regulating various physiological procedures of our body. For instance, we need potassium for allowing our muscles and nerves function properly. Calcium keeps our bones and teeth healthy and strong. Iron does the vital job of carrying oxygen to our cells.
Consume leafy grains, whole grains, lentils, carrots, citrus fruits, salt, etc. in adequate proportion to get your daily dose of all essential minerals and vitamins.
Other than ensuring that your meal includes all the above nutrients, you must also consume 1.5 to 2 liters of water (i.e. 6 to 8 glasses of water) per day. This is essential for allowing the nutrients move freely in your body. Consumption of water is also important for getting rid of wastes easily.
If you are not a fan of plain water, you can consume freshly prepared fruit and vegetable juices instead. However, don’t commit the mistake of spoiling the nutritional value of the juices by adding sugar to them. Any form of healthy liquid can replace plain water. For instance, a bowlful of tomato soup or chicken broth can also be great replacement for a glass of plain water.
While following the above guidelines will assist you in having a healthy meal, it is advisable that you consult an experienced dietician for getting a diet chart prepared for you.
Mary Ross is a mom of four. She loves using her energy to help other people improve their lives. She started The Impressive Kids to help first-time moms and dads overcome the challenges of being new parents. She’s a foodie, and always finds time to cook for her family.