What You Should Understand About Nutrition?

understanding nutrition

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There are numerous nutrients that make up our diet.  Each nutrient plays an important role in our diet and our diet is not well rounded without all of them.

The basic building blocks to a healthy diet include:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals


Fats and carbohydrates make up a healthy diet.  The key is to not to overeat either one of these to the point that they are not healthy for you.

Many people do not understand the role that fats and carbs play in our diet.  While these should be limited, they are still important for a healthy lifestyle.

The key is to make smart decisions when it comes to choosing which fats and oils you are going to eat.

This means that you will want to substitute saturated fats with unsaturated fats.  You want to cook with lighter oils when cooking.

Fats are essential for supplying the body with energy.  Fats are essential so that fatty acids and aid in the transportation of fat-soluble vitamins around the body.

These fat-soluble vitamins include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Carotenoids

Fats are also the building blocks for many tissues and membranes.  They play many roles in regulating the various bodily functions.

Dietary fat is available in both plant and animal sources of food.

Many nutrition experts recommend that the intake of fat should be kept to less than 20% of calories.

Extreme low-fat diets, however, are not safe and cause damage to the body.

The type of fat that you take in also makes a huge difference.

A diet that is high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and trans fats have been associated with numerous conditions including:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Chronic health problems
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Excessive fat intake of saturated fats and trans fats are associated with the greatest complications.  Trans fats are those fats that are solid at room temperature.

One of the best ways to limit the intake of saturated fat is to limit the intake of animal fat in the diet.

Animal fats include meats such as:

  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Butter
  • Ice cream


Cholesterol can be regulated by watching the intake of eggs and organ meats, as well as other foods that are known to be high in cholesterol.

Food labels can make it difficult to determine which fats are good fats.  for example, trans fats are listed on the ingredient lists and not in the chart of dietary information.  Processed foods contain more trans fats.

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are better choices.  These can be found in canola and olive oil.

These are lighter oils and it is a big step towards healthier eating if you incorporate these into your diet instead of using fats such as lard to cook with.

These fats are liquid at room temperature.  They also have heart-protecting qualities, unlike trans fats.

Fish also contain good fats.  They are a source of omega-3 fatty acids.  These have been found to help lower cholesterol and to promote good health.  They



These are important of a healthy diet, although the marketing of some diets may have you think otherwise.  They are necessary for providing you with energy as well as essential nutrients.

Carbohydrates are found in a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products.  They are not all equally healthy, so it is important that you choose wisely.

When you are choosing your bread and cereals, look to have them made with whole grains while avoiding the more highly refined varieties.

It is also important to limit the intake of sugars, such as baked goods and candy.

Consuming large amounts of these low nutrient and high-calorie foods can make it difficult to stay healthy without gaining weight.

Many people consume way too much sugar and salt.  Salt is important in nutrition, but many people consume too much of it.

Excess salt causes water retention, high blood pressure, and other conditions.

Choose low sodium foods and limit the use of the salt shaker.  By implementing these two strategies, you will be able to go a long way

Carbohydrates are found in a lot of foods.  For instance, cookies and whole wheat bread are both sources of carbohydrates.

Whole wheat bread is much more healthy than cookies.  This is where the importance of good decisions comes into play.

In addition to cereals and bread, carbohydrates are also present in fruits and vegetables.  They are also available in dairy products.  Carbohydrates and fats also help to provide variety in the diet.

When it comes to choosing carbohydrates it is best to choose those that are not refined.  When carbs enter the small intestine they are broken down into sugars.

Those carbs that are from refined products are broken down into sugar much more quickly.



There has been a lot of talks lately about how antioxidants are important in the diet.  They have a possible role in fighting a variety of illnesses and this includes some types of cancer.

They are also supposed to aid in age-related degeneration and heart disease.

Many companies are marketing various pills, powders, and capsules.  The marketing of these supplements stresses that you need you supplement your diet in this pill form.

However, it is best to receive these nutrients through everyday foods and not from supplements.

It is important to understand how antioxidants work to protect the body.  Antioxidants work to neutralize harmful elements that are known as free radicals.

These are produced in the body naturally and as a consequence of natural bodily processes.  Most of the time, the body will be able to neutralize and eliminate free radicals on its own.

Stresses such as environmental pollution, a weak immune system, UV radiation and alcohol cause the body to not be able to effectively fight these free radicals.

Excessive free radicals in the human body can cause damage to the structure and function of the various organs and other systems in the body.

Recent studies have also shown free radicals cause a number of diseases.  They may also play a role in aging.

It is estimated that foods have about 4,000 different compounds that have antioxidant qualities.

Since only a small number of these compounds have been identified it is difficult to see why adding a supplement would help achieve a healthy diet.

You are better off eating a variety of foods and receiving antioxidants the natural way.


There are many sources of antioxidant vitamins including:


Vitamin C

This is probably the most studied of all the antioxidant vitamins.  It is also known as ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C is believed to be the body’s first line of defense against infection and disease.  Vitamin C is water-soluble and must be consumed daily.

It is available in:

  • Grapefruit
  • Green peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Leafy greens
  • Strawberries
  • Cabbage
  • Potatoes


Vitamin E

This is a fat-soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver and other tissues.

It has been studied for its effect on aging and healing sunburns.

It is important that your diet contains adequate amounts of vitamin E.

Vitamin E can be found in:

  • Whole wheat germ
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Vegetable oil
  • Fish liver oil
  • Leafy greens



This is the nutrient that causes flamingos to be pink, as the receive it from the shrimp that they eat.  There are over 600 carotenoids that have been discovered so far.

The role of beta-carotene in nature is to protect the skins of fruits that are dark green, yellow and orange.

Beta-carotene can be found in:

  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Collard greens
  • Kale
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peaches
  • Apricots



This is one of the most important minerals in a healthy diet.

It has properties that prevent cell damage, which is seen as an important part of preventing cancer.

It is important to get selenium naturally from your diet, as supplements can be toxic.

It is easily found in foods such as:

  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Red meat
  • Whole grains
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Vegetables that have been grown in selenium-rich soils

fresh-high fibers

Choosing Low Fat and High Fiber Foods

Raising the level of dietary fiber is important.  At the same time, it is important to lower the amount of fat in your diet.

Adding dietary fiber to your diet is one of the most effective changes that you can make.  However, many people consume way too much fat without enough fiber.

A good place to start is by knowing which foods you eat are high in fiber or which foods that are high in fiber that you could eat.  Eating a diet that is rich in fiber will lower fat and other negative diet elements.

When you are boosting the amount of fiber in your diet you also want to do so at a gradual rate.  Abrupt changes in fiber can cause abdominal pain, cramps, bloating and gas.

There are several high fiber foods including:
  • Dried peas & beans
  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Berries

All of these foods have more than 6 grams of fiber per serving.

Foods which contain 4 to 6 grams of fiber per serving include:
  • Baked potatoes with skin
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Bran muffins
  • Lima beans
  • Snow peas
  • Green peas
  • Sweet potatoes
Foods that contain 2 to 4 grams per serving include:
  • Vegetables
  • Citrus fruits
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Rye bread
  • Melons

You will need to eat more of these foods to get the full effect, but that is okay because they are nutritious foods.

In order to have healthier eating habits for life, it is important to change the way you shop, cook and eat.

A diet change should be something that you intend to continue with through life, so it is important that you develop good habits now that will allow you to do so.

When you go for grocery shopping, get into the habit of hitting the produce section first.  This is generally easy because most grocery stores have it conveniently located near the front door.

You will want to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season.  These foods contain rich sources of vitamins and minerals.  They also have a lot of fiber.  Canned fruits and vegetables are okay if they are not in season.

When you are looking at baked goods, try to find those that are made with:
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Wheat bran
  • Oat bran
  • Poppy seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Oatmeal
  • Raisins

It is also important that you learn to read labels.  There are federally mandated labels on all foods that are sold.  These labels are also standardized and contain certain information.

Look at:
  • Calorie content
  • Fiber content
  • Vitamin content

You can also find this information on meats, seafood, and poultry as well.


Fiber Myths

There are several myths about fiber.  The first is that the crispness of a food is related to fiber.  The truth is that there is no relation here.

The amount of crispness of a food product does not indicate the amount of fiber that the product contains.  The crunch of lettuce, for example, is from the amount of water that it contains.

Second, many people think that cooking breaks down the fiber.  This is not true either.  Cooking has no effect on the amount of fiber that the food contains.

Peeling vegetables and fruits, however, will remove some fiber since the skins contain fiber.  Edible skins, such as apple peel, are a good source of fiber.

No matter why you need to increase your fiber intake, you will find that it is a positive change to make in your diet.  Increasing the amount of fiber you receive can have a large impact on your health.

Understanding Portion Sizes

We have all heard the USDA report that we need to eat 5 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

This is really confusing because that sounds like a whole lot of food.

Exactly what is a serving?

A serving a fruit or vegetable may be:

  • A medium sized piece of fruit
  • One large slice of fruit
  • Two pieces of small fruit
  • 1 cup strawberries, raspberries or grapes
  • ½ cup of fresh fruit salad
  • ½ cup of stewed or canned fruit
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit
  • ½ cup of 100% pure fruit juice
  • ½ cup of cooked, canned or frozen vegetables
  • 1 side salad

Unlike other foods, the more the better when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables.  Be sure to include as many servings of fruits and vegetables as you can when planning your meals.

Tips for Healthier Living
  • Stock your fridge with celery or carrots
  • Keep a bowl of fruits ready to be eaten out on the table or kitchen counter
  • Eat warm vegetable soup on a cold day
  • Eat at least one salad per day
  • Snack on apples and oranges or dried fruits
  • Add sprouts, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes to sandwiches for variety.
  • Garnish meals with grated or chopped carrots
  • Eat two servings of veggies with each dinner
  • Try vegetable stir fry
  • Make vegetable kabobs on the grill
  • Use baked apples or pears for dessert
  • Add veggies such as carrots, cabbage, onions, lentils and peas to soups, stews, and casseroles.
Tips for Choosing Fruits and Vegetables
  • When possible, choose fresh fruits. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients than frozen or dried varieties.
  • Frozen and canned vegetables are good for those fruits and vegetables that are out of season.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables from a variety of different colors.
  • Be careful when cooking vegetables.
  • Keep your vegetables healthy by adding minimal butter, margarine, and oil.
  • Be careful when cooking vegetables. It is best to quick steam in the microwave with minimal water.
Get Fish in Your Diet

Fish allows you to maximize protein while keeping the fat and calories low.  It’s the reason why fish is great for those people who are trying to lose weight and enjoy a healthier diet.

There are very few foods that are capable of combing low fat and low calories and then have high protein.  High protein usually comes with high fat and high calories.

Many people are leery of fish because they have had fish that is not very fresh.  Other people are leery because they don’t know how to cook it.

Fish dishes can seem challenging but they are actually quite easy.

The amount of protein in fresh and frozen fish and seafood is very high.  It is much higher than sources such as beef, pork, and lamb.



The basic building blocks to a healthy diet include:
⦁ Carbohydrates
⦁ Protein
⦁ Fats
⦁ Vitamins
⦁ Minerals

Fats are essential for supplying the body with energy.
Fats are also the building blocks for many tissues and membranes.
The type of fat that you take in makes a huge difference.

Choose the healthy form of carbohydrates, those that are not refined.

They aid in age-related degeneration and heart disease.
Vitamin C
Vitamin E

Choose Low Fat and High Fiber Foods

Fiber Myths
Cooking has no effect on the amount of fiber that the food contains.
Peeling vegetables and fruits will remove some fiber since the skins contain fiber.

Understand the Portion Sizes
Eat 5 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

Get Fish in your Diet
Fish allows you to maximize protein while keeping the fat and calories low.


– Are you aware of the basic nutrients found in your food?

– Are you choosing foods with high nutrients?

– Are you eating healthy fats and complex carbohydrates?

– Are you having enough fiber?

– Are you including fish in your diet?






Nutrition Facts: How To Understand What You Eat?

nutrition facts

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In understanding what you eat, learn the essentials of nutrient food groups, nutrition, and detox program.

These days, a wealth of nutrition info is at your fingertips. From diet books to news stories, everyone appears to have an opinion about what you ought to be eating.

It’s no secret that awesome nutrition plays an all important role in preserving wellness and a healthy weight.

While you already understand its imperative to consume a healthy diet, you might find it harder to sort through all of the data about nutrition and nutrient choices.

You might have grown up with the “Basic 4”: dairy group, meat group, grain group, and the fruits and veggies group. As nutrition science has changed, so have these nutrient groups.

Basic Nutrient Groups

Foods are grouped together when they share like nutritional properties.  Taking an account on the plan you select, you may find the food groups arranged with some slim differences.

For example, My Pyramid has a meat and beans group instead of a meat, poultry, and fish group.

Here are a few examples of a regular diet so you might stay healthy.

arrow2Grains: brown bread and rolls, whole-wheat pasta, English muffin, pocket bread, bagel, cereals, grits, oatmeal, brown rice, unseasoned pretzels, and popcorn.

arrow2Fruits: apricots, apples, bananas, dates, grapes, orange, grapefruits, grapefruit juice, mango, melon, peach, pineapple, raisins, strawberries, tangerines, and a 100 percent fruit juice.

arrow2Vegetables: carrots, broccoli, collards, green beans, peas, kale, limas, potato, spinach, squash,  tomato, sweet potatoes.

arrow2Nonfat or Low Fat Dairy: fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk or buttermilk, fat-free, low-fat, or reduced-fat cheese, fat-free or low-fat regular or frozen yogurt.

arrow2Lean Meats and poultry: beef, pork, game meats, fish, shellfish. Pick only lean meat and cut away the visible fats. Broil, roast, or poach and cut skin from fowl.

arrow2Nuts and Seeds: almond, filberts, mixed nuts, peanut, walnut, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, kidney beans, lentils, split pea.


A healthy eating plan will found you how much you need from every nutrient group to remain inside your calorie demands and promote excellent health.


A levelheaded eating plan might also help you learn:
  • How many calories you need daily?
  • How much of each food is a portion?
  • How to arrive at fit choices in each food group?

Notes on Nutrition  

One of the best places to begin taking notes about nutrition is with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA offers recommendations about what they find to be healthy eating-related habits for the general public.

And their information covers these main areas of focus: nutrition pyramid, needed nutrients, weight management, physical fitness and food safety.

Nutrition Pyramid

The USDA has revised dietary guidelines and lists a food pyramid with a color scheme to help people eat in a healthy manner.

Needed Nutrients

The USDA advises people to drink and eat a wide variety of nutrient-dense beverages and foods from the basic food groups they note in their nutrition pyramid.

They also suggest limiting alcohol, salt, added sugars, cholesterol, saturated and trans fats. And they recommend following plans like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan or their USDA Food Guide.]

Weight Management

The general weight focus of the USDA stresses that people strive to maintain body weight in a healthy range, balancing calories from beverages and foods with those expended.

And to help manage weight control as aging occurs, people are to gradually decrease the amounts of foods and beverages consumed and increase physical fitness.

Physical Fitness

The USDA desires people to regularly partake in physical activity while decreasing sedentary activities in order to promote not only healthy bodies but overall general health and psychological well-being.

Optimum activity is targeted at around 30 -90 minutes minimum a day of moderate to intense physical, depending upon weight status, age, and eating habits.

For even more health benefits, a combination of either more intense activity and / or longer periods of activity is advised for most persons instead of just 30 minutes, checking with health care providers first for approval.

Key areas of focus for physical fitness are stretching exercises for increased flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning, and calisthenics or resistance exercises to improve endurance and muscles.

Food Safety

The USDA recommends that people avoid microbial foodborne illnesses by thoroughly washing hands, surfaces where food is handled and vegetables and fruits.

They also advise against washing meats and poultry; however, separate raw foods from those that are already cooked or ready to eat when shopping, handling and storing foods.

They also recommend that foods need to be cooked at temperatures safe enough to destroy microorganisms and promptly stored in refrigeration or freezers if perishable.


And they advise people to avoid:
  • Raw or unpasteurized milk
  • Products created from unpasteurized milk
  • raw or partially cooked eggs
  • Foods containing raw eggs
  • Raw or undercooked poultry and meats
  • Unpasteurized juices
  • Raw sprouts.

Read Nutrition Labels

There are so many nutrients in food, so many ingredients, and so many facts to know about what’s supposedly good for you and what’s supposedly not?

But by failing to read the small print, particularly the “Nutrition Facts” panel and the ingredients list, consumers may not be aware of what else they are getting, namely added sugars and trans fats.

“We believe – and emerging science confirms – that a high- carbohydrate diet, particularly one that includes a significant amount of added sugars in a variety of forms, contributes to many health-related concerns,” said nutritionist Colette Heimowitz, vice president of education and research for Atkins Health & Medical Information Services. “Thus, it’s crucial to read the labels on all packaged foods.”

Fortunately for all of us, the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) created a standardized format for the nutrition label that all processed and/or packaged consumer foods must affix to the outside of their product.

No matter what the food, you can easily compare its value to you with that of any other food.

There are 3 fundamental areas to look for first on a nutrition label, and they’re all conveniently grouped together near the top, just under the title “Nutrition Facts”.

What is the Serving Size: standardized amount (like cups or tablespoons or pieces) followed by the equivalent amount in the metric system (such as grams) in general.

How Many Servings per Container: Most packaged foods contain multiple servings in a single package, making it easy to double, triple, quadruple, etc. the caloric intake from that of a single serving.

What is the Amount of Calories per Serving: Typically, a single serving of around 40 calories is considered low-calorie, around 100 is considered moderate, and 400 is considered high-calorie.

Keeping tabs on the amount of servings you take in, based on the caloric intake per serving, is one great way to manage your weight.

Another is to balance out eating high-calorie foods with some low-calorie foods earlier or later in the day.

The next step to using nutrition labels to help control your weight is to get the most nutrition out of the calories you take in.

Use the Percentage Daily Value to tell you how rich in each of the required nutrients the food really is.

Daily values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. 5% or less of a nutrient’s %DV is low, 20% or more of a nutrient’s %DV is high. Limit your amount of Total Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium.

No daily requirement exists for Trans-Fats (the most dangerous kind), though their quantity per serving does appear on the label. So, just be sure to keep them to an absolute minimum.

Make sure to get plenty of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron.

Knowing what ingredients should not be in products is equally crucial. The front of the package may say “no trans fats,” but the ingredients list might reveal trace amounts of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

A product that contains less than 1 gram of these oils is not required to include them on the Nutrition Facts panel.

The only way you can be sure that a product is free of these unnatural, harmful fats is if there is no mention of them in the detailed ingredients list.

Avoiding added sugars also is important. Natural sugars in milk and fruit are fine, while added processed sugars, such as sucrose (table sugar) or corn syrup, should not be part of any healthy diet.

Intake of sugar alcohols, which often are used in low-carb products to replace sugar and add bulk, also should be monitored.

Once you have gathered all the information you need, you simply ask yourself if a food choice is a wise choice for you in terms of both calories and nutrients, and whether it makes more sense for you as part of a meal or as a standalone snack.

If the answers to these questions don’t satisfy you for a particular food, then the next question to ask yourself is whether you can find a suitable alternative. The answer that question is almost invariably, ‘Yes’.

Indeed, there’s no need to worry if you are eating right through understanding proper nutrition and what exactly are you eating.



Basic Nutrient Groups

  • Grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nonfat or Low Fat Dairy
  • Lean Meats and Poultry
  • Nuts and Seeds

A levelheaded eating plan might also help you learn:

  • How many calories you need daily?
  • How much of each food is a portion?
  • How to arrive at fit choices in each food group?

A Healthy Guide to a Good Nutrition

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Fat
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals and Trace Elements

Read Nutrition Labels

3 Fundamental Areas to Look for:

  • What is the serving size
  • How many servings per container
  • What is the amount of calories per serving

It’s crucial to know the ingredients of the products.


– Are you aware of the nutrition you are eating?

– Does your diet includes some of the basic food groups?

– Do you follow some sort of healthy food guide?

– Are you satisfied with the good nutrition you are getting from what you eat?

– Do you take time to read the nutrition labels of the food products you are buying?