The Bottom Line Optimizing Health

The message is clear. Nutrition experts agree that when you lower the total fat, saturated fat, and added sugar in your diet and increase the vitamins, minerals, and fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables, and grains, you can improve your quality of life and help prevent many of the diseases that are the leading causes of death. Now that you know the goals and guidelines for healthful eating, we will provide you with the nutrition and food selection knowledge you need to put those guidelines into practice.

Chapter 2 explains the nutrients we all need, the roles they play in promoting health, the best food sources for these nutrients, and how your nutritional needs change throughout your life. Chapter 3 describes how your risk for serious illnesses is influenced by your diet. Chapters 4 and 5 help you learn to use the Food Guide Pyramid to choose the most nutritious foods, and they give you guidance about planning and preparing healthful, appetizing meals.

Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid

California Pyramid

Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid

Asian Pyramid

Monthly Weekly

Monthly Weekly

Red Meat

Vegetable Oils

Legumes, Fruits ST VegetableS

Asian Pyramid

Vegetable Oils

Legumes, Fruits ST VegetableS

BbH r

-Physical Activity-

California Pyramid

Mediterranean Pyramid

A few times per month

Red Meat

Mediterranean Pyramid

A few times per week

! Poultry Fish

; Cheese and Yogurt

Olive Oil (variable amounts)

Fruits Legumes ind Nuts

Vegetables

Breads, Pasta, Rice, Couscous, fa Polenta, Bulgar, Other Grains and Potatoes

Physical Activity

Red Meat

Wine in moderation

In this chapter, you will be introduced to the nutrients your body needs. You will learn the role each nutrient plays in your body, how much you need and how often, ideal food sources of each nutrient, and how all the nutrients work to optimize health.

You will also learn about some recently identified substances in plant foods, the phytochemicals, that may promote health and help prevent disease.

CHAPTER TWO

AND OTHER FOOD

substances

There is no one perfect food. We need an assortment of nutrients that can be obtained only by eating a wide variety of foods. What is it that our bodies need? Scientists have identified more than 40 different nutrients in food. These substances are essential for growth and for the chemical reactions and processes that keep us alive and functioning (metabolism).

Except for an extremely small number of foods that consist almost entirely of one nutrient, the vast majority of the foods we eat are mixtures of many nutrients. Nevertheless, each group of foods included in the Food Guide Pyramid (grains, fruits and vegetables, milk products, and meats) (see Chapter 1, page 11) is unique in the types of nutrients it contributes to our diets. For example, fruits and vegetables are the main source of many vitamins, minerals, and complex carbohydrates in our diets, and the meat group (including dry beans and legumes, eggs, poultry, and fish) is the main source of protein for most people.

It can be difficult to understand the difference between the nutrients themselves and the foods that contain them. For example, when you hear nutrition experts talk about the need to get more complex carbohydrates, what do they mean and what foods contain those nutrients? In this chapter, we focus on the nutrients themselves—how they are digested, what happens to them in the body, and what they do for you. We also say a little about the best food sources of each nutrient, because, after all, when you go to the supermarket, you don't look for protein, starch, fiber, and antioxidants, you look for chicken, rice, raisin bran, and orange juice.

Nutrients are sorted into categories on the basis of their chemical structures and functions. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats contained in foods are known as the macronutrients, because they are required in the largest quantities. In addition to their other functions, macronutrients provide energy in the form of calories. Vitamins and minerals are known as the micronutrients. They are required by your body in much smaller quantities. Although the micronutri-ents help your body use the energy in macronutrients, they provide no energy (calories) themselves. Water is also an essential, calorie- free nutrient. The work our bodies do each day causes us to deplete some of our stores of these essential nutrients. Only by maintaining a diet that is rich in various nutrient-containing foods can we replace those lost nutrients.

In addition to the known nutrients, substances in foods of plant origin, called phytochemicals or phytonutrients (phyto is the Greek word for plant), have been identified in recent studies. These phytochemicals may promote health and help prevent certain diseases. Hundreds of such compounds are being identified in the fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and grains we eat, although only a few have been thoroughly studied. How these various phytochemicals influence our health is a promising new area of research for nutrition experts.

Spiritual Weight Loss Mentality

Spiritual Weight Loss Mentality

Awesome Ways To Get Over Your Mentality That Keeps you Overweight! This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To Results In Your Slim-down and Health Efforts! Day in day out we keep ourselves absorbed with those matters that matter the most to us. A lot of times, it might be just to survive and bring in some money. In doing so we at times disregard or forget about the extra matters that are essential to balance our lives. They’re even more essential to supply real meaning to our world. You have to pay attention to your wellness.

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