The Basics of Healthy Eating

The saying “you are what you eat” is true. Our bodies are built from the nutrients we get from the food we eat. But, with so many foods to chose from, it can be hard to know which foods are best for us. Many pre-packaged foods claim to be “low fat”, “fat free,” or “lite.” What exactly do these claims mean? The key to understanding nutrition and health claims is education. Learning about nutrition can help you choose foods that are better for you. Remember — there are no “bad foods,” just foods that you should eat less often and in smaller amounts.

This article will help you learn the basics of nutrition and healthy eating, so you can make better decisions about the foods you eat. It will help you understand:
 the importance of good nutrition
 how good nutrition can improve your health
 how nutrition can reduce your chances of getting heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer
 how good nutrition can make you feel better

You’ll also learn:
 what your body needs to function as it should
 which foods you should eat more often
 which foods you should eat less often
 how to make the best choice among similar foods

Your nutritional health is also important because it can effect your body’s response to illness and treatment. A good understanding of nutrition will help you plan your meals and improve your overall health.

Basic Facts About Nutrition

Nutrition is the science of how the body uses food. The study of nutrition is about: why we eat the foods we eat and how foods affect our bodies and our health. Your body needs food and water to stay alive. But more than just staying alive, we need foods with proper nutrients to live well. If we don’t eat and drink nutritious foods:
 our blood may not be able to carry enough oxygen
 our gums may bleed
 our bones may break or bend
 our body will not function as it should

Nutrients are chemical substances our bodies need to build, maintain, and repair itself. There are six basic nutrients: water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Nutrients can be used right away or stored for later use. In addition to nutrients, our body needs energy to do work. Food provides our bodies with nutrients and fuel for energy. Without enough food, we won’t have enough energy to exercise and stay healthy. The amount of energy in a food is measured in calories. Almost all of the food we eat turns into energy. Food not used as energy is stored as fat. Storing too much fat can lead to health problems.

Vitamins and Minerals are vital for our bodies to function properly. They all work together in order to develop a healthier immune system. Vitamin e is vital for protecting cell membranes.

Table of Contents

Nutrition and Health: What’s the connection?
What We Need From Food
Healthy Food Plans
Understanding Food Labels
Nutrition Guidelines
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Why We Eat What We Eat
Healthy Eating—It’s Up to You