National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, so I thought this was a good opportunity to review the essential nutrients our bodies need and tips for staying on track with your healthy eating and way of life.

All humans require essential nutrients, which are nutrients that the body cannot manufacture in sufficient amounts but are necessary for survival. The essential nutrients we need include carbohydrates, some amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and water. Vitamins are chemicals in foods that perform specific functions in the body. For example, Vitamins C and E are antioxidants, preventing and repairing damage to cells due to oxidation.

Minerals serve as the body’s source of electrical power to do things like stimulating your muscles to contract, your heart to beat and your nerves to carry nerve impulses. You get minerals from different foods. For example, calcium comes from dairy products, but also broccoli and dried beans. Phosphorous can be found in dairy products, meat, seeds and nuts. Water is one of the most important nutrients because it provides the medium in which most chemical reactions take place in the body. It also plays important roles in metabolism, energy transformation, removal of toxins and wastes, and temperature regulation.

Carbohydrates are used as a source of energy. They can be simple or complex. Focus on complex carbohydrates from plant sources, which contain nutrients and fiber. Fruits, legumes and whole grains are also more favorable carbohydrates because they tend to convert to sugar more slowly and are more slowly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Tips to stay on track with your healthy eating:

Record what you eat
Drink water
Eat breakfast every day
Eat every three hours
Don’t drink your calories
Eat healthy foods 80 to 90 percent of the time
Monitor portion sizes and servings 

More detail on these tips can be found here:

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