It’s difficult to argue about the importance of nutrition for humans because it’s with food that the body receives an energy boost, water, essential vitamins, and minerals. Our physical and psychological condition, development, and mood directly depend on our eating habits and the quality of the food we eat.
The Basic Functions of Nutrition
Even young children know that we need nutrition to sustain life. The basic purpose functions of nutrition are to:
- Supply the human body with enough energy.
- Provide the body with the right substances (proteins, minerals, fats, carbs).
- Provide the body with the necessary biologically active supplements that are involved in the process of human activity.
- Develop the body’s immune response to possible infection with calories, proteins, and vitamins.
Why to Eat Healthy
Eating healthy is eating a balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of proteins, fats, carbs, and nutrients.
Scientists in various fields have long been proven that many diseases are the result of poor nutrition. Incorrect eating habits, too much or too little food, poor quality or stale food, and food waste directly affect the internal organs. And not only physical health suffers from unhealthy diet. Mood, energy, and activity levels drop, thoughts become aggressive or passive, creativity isn’t realized. As a result, you feel bored, even if you have just gambled at betamo.com for 30 minutes or watched one episode of your favourite TV show.
If we talk about the specific pathologies that can arise from improper nutrition, these would be:
- Obesity or underweight.
- Diseases of the cardiovascular system.
- Gastrointestinal disorders.
- Anemia, iodine, magnesium, potassium and other macro-and micronutrients deficiency.
- Protein deficiency.
- Neurotic and psychological disorders.
If a person’s food culture is underdeveloped, it can cause other negative effects on the body. These are:
- Increased fatigue.
- The emergence of sleepiness during the day.
- Deterioration of mental and physical development.
- The appearance of skin problems (dryness, pallor, peeling).
- The risk of hair, nails, teeth and bone problems.
- The occurrence of anxiety and depression.
Basic Principles of Healthy Nutrition
Healthy nutrition is a food which helps a person to live a normal life, improves his health and prevents illness. So what do you need to do to eat right?
Restricting nutrition as well as oversaturation will not do any good. Humans need both animal and plant foods to function properly. It is necessary to start to change your attitude to food with a firm decision. If this decision is realized and made, you should start trying to adhere to the principles of healthy eating. Let’s talk about them.
Be Moderate in Food
You should consume an amount of calories that is approximately equal to their expenditure. It’s necessary to understand that appetite is different from hunger, that is why it’s so important to hear the signals of your own body. When we feel real hunger, it’s a signal from the body that there are not enough substances necessary for life. When we go to the kitchen for a sandwich out of nothing or for pleasure, it’s a different story.
Remember that regular overeating can lead to really serious illness and damage to vital organs.
Consider How Much Your Body Spends
This is necessary to keep a balance between the energy that comes into the body with food and the energy that is expended by a person for internal organ work, muscular and mental activity, and other daily activities.
Active sporting activities, for example, have a significant impact on energy expenditure. If an athlete’s weight is greater than the norm, then the energy expenditure increases. The rate of energy expenditure depends on a person’s age, weight, health, activity, climate, and other characteristics.
So how do activities directly affect energy expenditure?
- In an office or other sedentary work, a person spends about 1700-2200 kcal per day.
- A sedentary job, which requires exertion on some muscles (a teacher, a salesperson, a cashier), will have an energy expenditure of between 2,000 and 2,500 kcal.
- With minor muscular work (waiter, cook, medical worker) energy losses are assumed to be up to 3,100 kcal.
- With strenuous muscle work (locksmith, painting occupations, trainers) the maximum expenditure is 3,500 kcal.
- Heavy muscle strain (for factory and shop workers, loaders and athletes) can bring the energy expenditure mark to 4,000 kcal or more.
- Miners and bricklayers spend over 5,000 kcal in their hard physical work.
If the shortage of energy food is of short duration, the body can solve this problem with the help of its own fat reserves. But in chronic deficiency, if the body isn’t helped in any way and eats as it can, dystrophy can occur due to a reduction in the mass of the skeletal muscles.
An excess of energy food also negatively affects all processes in the body: the digestibility and utilization of nutrients will be disturbed, fats and carbohydrates will be deposited in the form of reserve fatty tissue on the stomach, hips, and forearms. This will lead to weight gain or even obesity.
And excessive dieting and pathological preoccupation with weight loss can cause psychological disorders (anorexia, bulimia).
Variety in Your Diet
All foods and meals we eat include different combinations of proteins, fats, vitamins, carbs, minerals and water. That is why it’s important to eat a variety of foods to avoid a deficiency or excess of these substances in the body.
A balanced diet will help provide the body with exactly the substances (and in the proportions) that it needs.
Protein is an important prerequisite for the construction of cells and also guarantees the production of antibodies against viruses. The daily norm is 6% animal proteins and 7% plant proteins from all food intake. Protein is found in meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, soy and seafood, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes.
Fats provide energy, nutrients, vitamins, and water. These substances help cells to renew and intracellular processes to occur correctly. The daily norm would be 10% animal fats and 12% plant fats. Fats include animal products (such as meat, fish, poultry, egg yolks, butter) and vegetable products (nuts, vegetable oil, seeds, avocados).
Carbs play the role of fuel for our body, that is, they provide energy for all vital processes. Simple carbohydrates are contained in honey, sugar (about 40 g per day), potatoes, fruits and berries, white rice and white bread. Complex carbohydrates are obtained by eating durum wheat pasta, cereals, and vegetables. The daily allowance for carbs for humans is about 50-60%.
Fiber is necessary for improving gastrointestinal function. It’s optimal to consume no over 15 g of such substances per day. The main foods that contain dietary fiber include cereals, wholemeal bread, cabbage, and carrots.
Of course, vitamins and trace elements shouldn’t be forgotten, either, to avoid avitaminosis, rickets, polyneuritis, thyroid disorders and other unpleasant and dangerous diseases.
To preserve the useful substances in foods, you need to know the rules of cooking. Thermal processing should be minimal (except for meat and fish products). It’s better to give up fried foods in favor of boiled, stewed or baked. Well, try to eat fresh and natural foods, and not semi-finished products with a long shelf life and adding a variety of preservatives, flavorings, dyes and flavor enhancers.
Change Your Eating Habits
Reconsidering your eating habits is a must on your way to good health. Following simple rules can help you build your eating strategy in the best way possible.
Remember that appetite tends to persist for a while, even after the end of the meal. So, it’s recommended to leave the table with a slight feeling of hunger.
Use fractional meals (about 4-5 times a day), such a schedule won’t give the food center excitement and will lower the appetite. And it’s not about chewing sandwiches all the time.
Fast food, alcohol, spicy, and salty meals should be excluded, they contribute to the appetite.
Your last meal should be at least three to four hours before going to bed.
Watch the amount of water you drink during the day. An adult who does not exercise should drink 30 ml of water per 1 kg weight, i.e. if you weigh 65 kg, the water is calculated as 65×0.03=1.95 liters per day.
Remember that a rational diet is fresh and natural food.