Optimum Nutrition & Foods you Buy

To get optimum nutrition you need to eat a good diet. But that is not enough. The best nutritional information is quite clear: it is not possible to get a truly nutritious diet from the foods you buy. Most of them have been showered with a variety of chemicals, which we then eat. Few of these have been properly tested to see what effect they have on us when consumed for a lifetime.

In addition, heat and light destroy many nutrients in foods, so that by the time we eat them, the level of nutrients is low. Then, there is the experiment in genetically modified (GM) foods, banned in some countries and by some supermarket chains. Clearly, our diet is worse than it was 100 years ago in many ways - yet more nutritional information is available.

Another problem of modern living is that animals and plants used for food have been interbred to just produce more food - often at the expense of quality and the health of the plant and animal. Healthy animals and plants produce better food.

Many experts will now tell you it is impossible to obtain all your nutrients from food - unless you eat huge amounts. This is why they recommend supplements. For example, the prestigious Nutrition Review showed some years ago that it was impossible to get sufficient vitamins from our food supplies.

Fiber Rich Foods In Your Diet

This article takes a look at the fiber rich foods - what they are and the benefits derived from including them into our everyday nutrition.

Dietary fiber is that part of plant material in the diet which is resistant to digestion. Among the sources of fiber rich foods are fruits, vegetables and cereals.

There are two type of fibers - soluble and insoluble. Examples of soluble fibers include pectins, guar gum, plant polysaccharides, mucilage and a few hemicelluloses, while insoluble fibers contain cellulose and bran. Studies show many beneficial effect of foods rich in fiber rich foods:

  • A high level of the soluble fiber in the diet tends to lower blood glucose
  • It delays gastric emptying, makes the intestinal contents more viscous and thus slow down the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed from the gut. ( if carbohydrates is absorbed too quickly, blood sugar will rise correspondingly, and insulin response may be inadequate to deal with it.)
  • Fiber rich food provides non-calorie containing bulk and, therefore, gives a feeling of satiety with fewer calories.

Diabetics tend to have elevated level of blood lipids, and a high fiber diet tends to lower serum cholesterol. For insoluble high fiber diet the advantage is that it is able to hold water in the colon what ensures that the bowel content is bulky and soft which is essential for the normal action of the muscles of the colon and, thus, it prevents constipation.

The suggested daily amount of fiber intake is 30-40 grams.

Proper Nutrition for Optimum Health

Everyone should strive for optimum health. Optimum health is having an ample supply of nutrients. On the other hand, the recommended daily allowance for nutrients is designed to just prevent us from getting seriously sick and that's all.

We need enough nutrients to ward off diseases, help us recover from colds easily - or avoid them - and to prevent us from suffering from degenerative diseases.

This is why nutritional information is a vital part of education and why vitamin and mineral supplements are an essential part of any program to maintain good health.

Here's a short list of essential tips to reach and maintain optimum health:

1. Reduce the amount of meat, cheese and dairy products consumed

2. Eat some meals based on soy products such as soy beans and tofu, and other beans each week

3. Eat two helpings of vegetables (about 100 grams or 3 oz each)and three pieces of fruit - such as one banana, one orange, and one apple, for example - daily

4. Eat a few raw nuts (not roast nuts) daily

5. Use canola oil or olive oil for cooking

6. Take a multi-vitamin, multi-mineral supplement

7. Take some essential fatty acids in the form of flax oil or oily fish

Energy, food and healthy diet

Food is converted into energy in our bodies. Proper nutrition gives us proper amount of energy to cope with all our tasks. But why do we need energy?

There is simple experiment that shows one reason why energy is needed by the human body.

  • Measure and write down your body temperature.
  • How does your reading compare with the readings obtained by other people?
  • How do the results compare with normal human body temperature?
  • Measure room temperature by placing a laboratory ther¬mometer where the bulb is surrounded by air. Keep your hands well away from the bulb of the thermometer. After about two minutes, write down what the room tempera¬ture is.
  • Which is warmer, the air in the room or you?
  • What is the difference between the two readings?
  • In which direction will heat energy be travelling, from the air to you, or from you to the air?
  • If a beaker of hot water is left in the room, heat energy passes from the hot water to the air. What happens to the temperature of the water in the beaker. Does it rise, fall or stay the same?
  • You might expect the same to happen to human body temperature. Instead, it stays the same even though heat energy is being lost all the time. What must be going on all the time, in your body, to stop the temperature from falling as heat energy is lost?

So you see that the energy is needed to make heat. This heat replaces the heat that is lost by the body. It helps to keep body temperature constant at 37 °C. Energy is needed for other things as well.

Energy is measured in kilojoules. One kilojoule is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 239 grams of water by one degree centigrade.

Energy requirements for A 25-year-old man, weighing 65 kg (10 stone), have such energy requirements: he needs 6 kilojoules per minute to just to sit, 7 to stand, 13 to walk slowly, and 38 to walk upstairs. A pregnant woman needs some extra energy.

Now let’s turn to measuring the amount of energy in a piece of food. When you eat food, such as a potato, you take in some of the energy captured from the sun. This energy was captured by the potato plant when it was growing. In order to make sure that we take in enough energy we must, therefore, find out how much energy there is in the foods which we eat and develop healthy diet for us. The average amount of energy taken in by an adult person is 8600 kj/day from from plant foods and 5200 from animal foods.

For most foods this is not easy to measure the energy that they contain. It requires the use of very complex equipment and very accurate measurements. However, a rough answer can be obtained for a peanut by setting light to it. The heat it produces is then used to heat up some water. The rise in temperature will give some idea of the amount of energy in the peanut.

What proper nutrition should contain

In our crazy world we have to live a crazy hectic life. We are into our careers, businesses and ambitions. But are we really into ourselves? What about our diet? Do we eat properly?

It is important to realize that nutrition that consists mostly of such foods as hamburgers, coca-cola, chips, hot dogs, fish fingers and so on are unhealthy. Our body suffers from fatty foods full of cholesterol and toxins. It desperately needs fresh fruits and vegetables as natural cleansers and a great source of vitamins. No wonder that with such a diet we often find our minds and bodies unable to cope with the pace.

Therefore, it is vitally important to eat healthy food. Scientists agree that proper nutrition should contain the right amount of each of the following:

  • Proteins. They help to make new body tissues during growth. They also help to repair or replace worn or damaged parts of the body. Proteins can be converted into carbohydrate and used to give energy.
  • Minerals and Vitamins. They are needed in small quantities. They help to control body processes such as respiration, and to keep the body healthy.
  • Carbohydrates. These provide energy. They can also be converted into body fat.
  • Fats. They provide energy and can also form body fat. They also help the body to take in some vitamins.
  • Fibre or roughage. This is a thread-like substance formed of fibres that is necessary for proper digestion.
  • Water. Water makes up about two thirds of a man’s body weight.

Most foods contain many of these things. For example, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contain 1.5 grams of protein, about 20 grams of carbohydrate, about 79 grams of water, and a rather small quantity of minerals and vitamins. It

In the end of it it is important to emphasize that different people need different amounts of energy. So the right amount of all these components is not the same for all people.