“Good nutrition is the key to unlocking your physical and mental health potential.”
You’ll find statements like this are all over the internet today. There’s just one problem: what exactly is the definition of “good nutrition” and how can you find it?
The foundation of the word “nutrition” is nutrient. Nutrients are the various ingredients that you’ll find in the foods that you eat. The combination of nutrients that you eat every day will directly impact how you feel, how well you sleep, and how efficiently your body can work.
Nutrients are designed to provide three key actions for your body.
- Help the body to grow when you are younger.
- Help to repair tissues that may have been damaged.
- They build new muscle tissues and maintain current ones.
“Good nutrition” is therefore the combination of foods that your body requires for these three key actions to take place. There is no single food that can provide the nutrients that are needed in every category, which means you must make choices about the different foods available to you so that you can meet your health goals.
How to Choose the Best Foods for Good Nutrition
There are several different categories of food from which to choose. Fruits and vegetables are important, as are protein-containing foods. Your body needs certain fats and there are vitamins and minerals that are required. It is a good idea to eat a variety of food from each group, making sure to stay within the recommended amounts, so that the right combination of nutrients is obtained.
You’ll also want to make sure that you know what different food labels are trying to communicate to you. Take a 26-ounce bag of dried tropical fruit, for example. The food label might state that a serving size is ¼-cup. In that serving, you’d receive 120 calories and 4 grams of fat. That means if you ate a half-cup of this product, you’d be eating 24 calories and receiving 8 grams of fat – or 12% of the average recommended daily value for total fat.
It is important to choose foods that are low in saturated fat and sugar. Focus on foods that have monounsaturated fats instead. This will help to provide your metabolism with the support it needs to promote good health.
Salt is essential for most people, but too much sodium can impact the cardiovascular system in negative ways. Many eat more salt than they realize. Even with the dried tropical fruit mix in the example above, there is 35mg of salt per serving, which is 1% of the total recommended daily value.
Some foods have high salt content that go unrecognized. Just 1 cup of a breakfast cereal can have more than 200mg of sodium. If you eat pancakes made from a mix, you could have 800mg of salt per serving.
Good Nutrition with Challenging Health Needs
Nutrition is a personalized experience. Someone with Celiac Disease isn’t going to eat wheat products to support their good health, but they still need whole grains. Someone who is allergic to milk will look toward other foods to receive the calcium they need. That is why “good nutrition” must be personally defined for it to be effective.
Then, when your nutritional habits are combined with regular exercise, your overall health can improve.
The nutrients you eat can also help to reduce the risks of certain diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes, while helping you to build more strength and endurance over time.
You can unlock the full potential of your physical and mental health. Know what your body needs and then choose foods that will provide what is required.