Our bodies need constant nourishment, everyday! Yes, I put a big exclamation point on that sentence. Everyday we get to fuel our bodies with an unending combination of delicious foods! Some foods are really healthy for us, and some are unhealthy for us; but ultimately it’s our choice. With anything in life, in order to make a good choice we need some information first. This is the point of this post—to give you some facts about food in the hopes that you will make healthy decisions and be more aware of what’s in your food!
Let’s start with the basics. What is in your food? What is it made up of? And how do we use food to fuel us? Can food be used as a preventative measure to sickness? Does food play any part in our mental health? Here is my take on each of these questions:
We can break down what our food is comprised of into some broad categories, which are easy to understand. In order to have a “balanced” diet, or a diet that has each component of fuel that your body needs on a regular basis, it must have protein, carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and fat. You also need plenty of water! About a gallon a day is recommended!
Carbohydrates & Fats= “energy food”
They give you the energy to accomplish the things you need to do throughout your day.
Proteins= growth & repair of muscles
We need strong muscles to support our skeletal system, or our bones. Proteins keep your muscles strong and aid your metabolism.
Vitamins & Minerals=protect body from disease
Vitamins and minerals help build up our immune systems and make it harder for those germs to compromise our systems.
Dietary Fibers=helps digestion
When we eat foods that are rich in fiber, our bodies are able to “get rid of” the waste our body doesn’t need more easily.
Water= hydration for our entire body and each system
Our bodies are made of 65% water! Each cell needs it. Water helps get rid of liquid waste by way of sweat and urine.
A diet that contains all the nutrients in the right amounts is called a balanced diet. A balanced diet helps us with proper growth and an overall healthy body.
Are you feeling “smarter” about food yet? Now that we’ve laid out the basics of what your food can do for you and what your food is made of, let me give you a couple examples of each! When you start to be educated about what you put in your body, the options are endless. It’s fun to get creative in the produce section of the grocery store! Fun Fact: Did you know that the “fresher” foods like fruits, veggies, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy will all be located on the outer edge of your local grocery store? So an easy way to remember to chose healthier foods, is to stay on the perimeter of the store to pick our your food!
Carbohydrates: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, rice, quinoa, pumpkin or quash, whole grain pasta
Proteins: eggs, chicken, Greek yogurt, turkey, tuna, shrimp
Vitamins & Minerals: oranges, lettuce, apple, berries, cucumber, carrots, grapes, bananas, ALL FRUITS & VEGETABLES!
Dietary Fibers: peas, broccoli, figs, berries, beans, avocado, brown rice
When we give our body the foods it NEEDS and the micronutrients it craves, we can boost our immune system, help aid in our mental health, and feel happier. It’s up to you to be knowledgeable about what you put in your body! Read labels, and better yet, eat food with NO labels!