A healthy diet involves eating foods that provide all the nourishment that out bodies need for growth, tissues repair, energy to carry out vital internal processes and to say fit and active. In the last hundred years or so, the changes in eating habits in many countries have meant that large numbers of people have become overfed. Ironically, at the same time these dietary changes have left a lot of us undernourished, lacking in vitamins, minerals and trace elements that would help us to be in the peak of health.
Foods contain nutrients essential for normal metabolic function. An imbalance in nutrient intake or the consumption of harmful substances is the underlying factor in many chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. Some alternate dietary lifestyles are believed to offer a greater resistance to illness. Food can be therapeutic in several ways. It provides nutrient that is needed by a sick person in a form he or she can use. It also provides nutrients for persons who are deficient in them. Sometimes food also supplies an agent or chemical that aids in the metabolism of other nutrients. Many people are allergic to some foods such as chocolate, lactose etc. Similarly some people get constipation from excessive high intake of fiber. Diabetes patients, especially Type 2 diabetes, need to watch out what they eat especially food containing sugar. People with heart disease need to control the intake of foods containing high amount of fat and cholesterol. These are all common sense diet therapies.
Here are some health ailments that can be easily treated with a simple food and diet remedy:
Click on the topic to read what to eat and which Foods to Avoid.
Eating for health does not have to mean switching to a fussy, complicated diet, or adopting every new fad that comes along. In the first place, a healthy diet should be an enjoyable one. For conventional nutritionists, food intake is broken down into various essential ingredients, such as carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals; however, people generally do not think in this way but eat meals or snacks which are a mixture of various elements. What is useful is to have an understanding of which foods contain which of these ingredients, and then to look at the overall balance within the diet. Balance is probably the key word in nutrition.
Carbohydrates are out main source of energy, and need really to form the major bulk our diet. They are broken down in the body into glucose, and use immediately for energy or else converted into glycogen for short term storage in the liver. An excess of carbohydrates over time will be changed and stored as fat. Since they have less starchy bulk, refined carbohydrates to not make you as full, and therefore it is easier to eat too much of them, leading to fat storage and obesity.
The main sources of unrefined carbohydrates, providing dietary fiber trace elements, are flour and grains, beans peas and lentils, and potatoes.
For more immediate energy, fresh fruit, dried fruit or vegetables such as carrots or beetroot are high in fructose, or fruit sugar.
Proteins are the essential body-builders, helping us to create muscles, bones, tendons, hair, skin and nails. They are also vital in most of our hormone and enzyme production. An excess of high protein foods in the diet will be converted into glucose for energy use or else stored as fat.
Foods rich in protein include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy products, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, and grains (bread has a little fewer than ten percent protein). Human protein is making from a number of simple substances called amino acids, and these need to be present in certain amounts or combinations in the protein in our diet for us to make use of them. Animal sources do contain the right amounts of these amino-acids, but also contain relatively high levels of fat. Plant sources of proteins often need to be combined in order to give adequate levels of amino-acids; this can be something as simple as beans on toast, or a spicy bean dish with rice, and generally means having a more varied, or even a more adventure diet.
Fats are vital too, helping to form part of the cell structure and maintaining our inner organs and nerves. They also act to provide insulation and temperature regulation. It is, however, well-recognized that in the developed world much of our diet is too rich in fats, especially animal fats, and this is a major factor in heart disease, obesity and even some cancers, especially when we have such sedentary lives. Growing children, however, especially active ones, do need fats more than adults, and we should not reduce their intake so much.
Advice on fat-containing foods tends to be what to reduce rather than what to increase. Meat and dairy products can contain concentrated sources—a nice, juicy steak may have 30 percent fat, for example. There are some differences between the effects of saturated fats (from animal products) and unsaturated fats such as are found in oily fish like salmon or plant oil like sunflower products. In general terms, move the emphasis towards the latter, using oils such as olive, sunflower, corn or safflower with salads or in cooking, but most people need to reduce all kinds of fat; they are the most concentrated sources of energy and anything over small amounts easily leads of obesity. There are plenty of reduced-fat items, particularly dairy products, which are now available and which can help in controlling fat intake.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Vitamins and minerals are needed for proper growth and development and body maintenance. They control the absorption of other nutrients and without them a series or complaints can develop, from headaches to sterility. There are 13 major vitamins which, apart from K and D, must be obtained from the food we eat. The fresher the food the higher its vitamin content. Food loses its vitamins through cooking, exposure to light or cold and storage, so buy small quantities of fresh food and eat it as soon as possible.