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Nutrition Most people know that good nutrition is important for good health. Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) are the daily amounts of essential nutrients that will prevent deficiencies in most healthy people. But not many people realize the importance a healthy diet can have on their health for years to come. To help us stay healthy a person should eat a variety of foods, maintain ideal weight, avoid too much fat, and eat foods with enough starch and fiber. A good diet helps children grow, develop, and do well in school.

It also helps young and older adults to work productively and feel their best. A healthy diet can also lessen the risk factors for obesity and high blood pressure. For our benefit, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines are designed to help Americans choose the recommended number of daily servings from each of the five different food groups; Bread, Meat, Vegetable, Fruit, and Dairy. The Nutrition Facts Label is made to help you buy foods that will meet the Dietary Guidelines.

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Most processed foods now carry nutrition information. People need energy and essential nutrients. These nutrients are essential because the body cannot make them and has to get them from food. Energy needs vary by age. Adults need less food than younger and more active individuals. People who are less active or are trying to lose weight will eat less food and have problems meeting their nutrient needs.

Almost all Americans need to be more active, because an inactive lifestyle is unhealthy. In order to stay at the same body weight, people need to balance the amount of energy in food with the amount of energy the body uses. People need to put more energy into daily activities. The pattern of eating is also important. Snacks provide a large amount of calories for many Americans.

Unless nutritious snacks are part of the daily diet, snacking will cause weight gain. Also binge eating and fasting will add to weight problems. Maintaining weight in older people is important because they usually lose weight as they 3 age. Some of that weight is muscle. People need to exercise regularly to maintain muscle, to feel better and to reduce the risk of falls and broken bones.

The quality and variety of food in the United States allow almost everyone to have a nutritious diet. Nutrients are divided into five major groups; proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Each of these food components have a special function in the body, and all of them together are needed for overall health. The body uses energy to function and keep itself at a constant temperature. Scientists have been able to find out that the body gets its fuel from carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are the most available foods in the world. Carbohydrates in foods, like whole grain breads and cereals, provide calories and nutrients and also increase dietary fiber. Dietary fiber, like lettuce, if eaten daily, can decrease the risk of colon cancer. If there isn’t enough carbohydrates in the body during exercise, the body tires faster. Research has proven that a daily diet high in carbohydrates is helpful. Most sports nutritionists recommend a meal high in carbohydrates 3 or 4 hours before an event. Carbohydrates provide most of the energy in almost all people’s diets.

The best sources for carbohydrates are grains, potatoes, vegetables, and fruits. Fats Everyone thinks that fat in the diet is bad, but really the body needs it. Fat provides energy by giving calories to the body. They are the most concentrated source of energy in the diet. People need to watch how much fat they eat, not do without it entirely. Because fat sources have little water in them, they take up less room, so we eat more fat without getting full.

So that’s why it is easy to get fat on a high-fat diet. Obesity increases the risk for high blood pressure and eventually for stroke. It is also associated with heart disease. There is evidence that certain kinds of cancer like colon, lung, and bladder cancer run in 4 people who have high-fat diets. It is also known that breast and uterine cancer are more common in obese women. Best sources of fat are margarine, vegetable/plant oils, nuts, meats, cheese, and cream.

Protein The main purpose of protein in the body is to build and repair tissues. Most of the body’s protein is located in the muscle tissue. Every cell in the body is partly made of proteins. As a child grows, his muscles are built from proteins. A person with burns or open sores need protein to heal these wounds.

Also, if carbohydrates, starches, or fats are unavailable, protein can be used to supply energy. Everyone needs some protein everyday. How much is needed depends on body size, rate of growth, and each persons healing requirements. The best sources of protein are eggs, milk, fish, meat, poultry, and nuts. Vitamins Vitamins help your body use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. In most cases, vitamins cannot be made by the body and must be taken from food.

Vitamins are necessary for growth, healthy skin, teeth and eyes, and cell formation. They are also important in digestion, mental alertness, and resistance to bacterial infections. All natural vitamins are found only in living things, plants and animals. Good sources of vitamins are meat, fish, poultry, milk, fruit, breads, and cereals. There are 13 known vitamins, 4 fat-soluble and 9 water-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K.

The water- soluble vitamins include vitamin C and the B-vitamin complex. A lot of people think vitamins can replace food. They cannot. If you eat a variety of nutritious foods, you shouldn’t need vitamin supplements. Taking more nutrients than your body needs won’t give you any more energy, but will prevent nutritional deficiency diseases like scurvy, beriberi, and rickets, although these diseases are rare in the United 5 States.

Taking vitamin and mineral supplements to prevent or give you more protection against cancer has not been proven effective. It has been found that smoking slightly increases the body’s need for vitamin C, but not for nutrients over the 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances. High-potency vitamin/mineral combinations could be dangerous if taken in large amounts. Some side effects are fatigue, diarrhea, and hair loss. More serious effects are kidney stones, liver or nerve damage, or even death.

If supplements are dangerous, why are they being sold? Our laws do not allow the United States Food and Drug Administration to limit the amount of nutrients that go into a single pill. Water You won’t find water listed on nutrient charts, but everyone knows that we can’t live without it. While we can survive for long periods of time without many vitamins and minerals, it takes only a few days without water …


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