- Definition: The process of assimilating food and using it for growth, maintenance & repair
- Essential Nutrients: Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, water
- Essential Vitamins: A, E, K, D, C, B
- Essential Minerals: Calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium
- Food Groups: Fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, dairy
- Nutrition Stages: Ingestion, digestion, absorption, transport, assimilation, and excretion
- Good Fats: Cheese, eggs, olive oil, nuts, fatty fish
- Bad Fats: French fries, doughnuts, margarine, microwave popcorn
- Risks: Heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity
- Advantages: Longevity, good health, vitality, higher IQ
Good Nutrition is Essential for Growth, Repair and Energy
Nutrition facts tell us that nutrition is the process by which the human body takes in food and uses it for growth, repair, and energy. The foods we eat contain essential nutrients that are broken down through digestion before being absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to cells throughout the body. The six essential nutrients needed for a healthy body are fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. Collectively, these nutrients work to develop and repair cells and body tissues, supply the body with energy, and provide protection and resistance against infection and disease.
Brain Cells Need Twice as Much Energy as Other Cells
Brain cells need two times more energy than other cells in the human body. Nutrition facts tell us that the brain absorbs approximately 20% of the body’s daily intake of calories and requires a constant supply of glucose, a simple sugar obtained by eating foods high in carbohydrates, such as grains, fruits, and milk. Carbohydrates taken into the body are passed on to the stomach and small intestine, where they are digested and changed into sugars before traveling to the liver. They are then converted into glucose and transported through the bloodstream to the brain and other organs of the body. Without an adequate supply of glucose, the brain gets tired and sluggish, resulting in mental fatigue, confusion, and even depression.
“Good” Fats Provide Energy, Heat and Protection for the Body
Nutrition facts tell us that the human body requires a certain amount of “good” fat in order to properly function and fight disease. Fat is a concentrated source of energy that enables the body to absorb and process essential vitamins while supplying internal organs and muscles with insulation that provide heat and protection from injury. However, too much fat can cause serious health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Butter, cheese, whole milk, and high-fat meats such as ham and bacon are all examples of bad fats. Good fats include olive oil, eggs, avocado, nuts, and fatty fish.
“Bad” Fats are Associated with High Cholesterol, Obesity, Heart Disease, and Diabetes
Saturated fats and trans fats are the two main types of “bad” fats. Nutrition facts tell us that saturated fats are found in meat, poultry and dairy products. Examples of saturated fats include fatty cuts of beef, dark chicken meat, pork, lamb, whole milk, butter, and cheese. Trans fats are present in foods that contain “partially hydrogenated” vegetable oils, such as french fries, doughnuts, margarine, and processed snack foods such as crackers and microwave popcorn. While avoiding “bad” fats is important, moderate consumption of “good” fats is equally important due to the high-calorie content in all fats.
It Takes Approximately 20 Minutes for Your Brain to Know Your Stomach is Full
From the time you start eating, it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you are full. Many people eat too fast, either from habit or because their lifestyles demand it. Nutrition facts tell us that eating too fast can result in serious consequences that include weight gain, indigestion, acid reflux, and an overall feeling of dissatisfaction after a meal. People who eat more slowly often consume smaller portions than people who eat fast, a powerful advantage for people trying to lose or maintain weight.
Vitamin D Deficiency is Associated with Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, and Dementia
Vitamin D is essential for strong bones and overall good health. Nutrition facts tell us that our bodies get vitamin D primarily from sunlight, although small amounts are present in a few foods we eat. Vitamin D deficiency is a serious health risk associated with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma, and dementia. Researchers report that up to 75% of the American population is deficient in vitamin D. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include muscle pain, joint pain, bone pain, fatigue, and depression. Experts recommend checking with your doctor about the advisability of taking over-the-counter supplements to ensure adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Omega-3 Deficiency is Linked to Depression, Lower IQ and Mental Disorders
Omega-3 fats are essential for good health. Nutrition facts tell us that Omega-3 fats assist in building and repairing cells, aid in the prevention of blood clots, and have anti-inflammatory properties known to relieve symptoms of arthritis and other autoimmune conditions. Omega-3 fats can’t be manufactured in the body, but must be obtained from food sources such as fish, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. Omega-3 deficiency is particularly common in Western societies where the typical diet does not include adequate amounts of food types known to contain Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 deficiency produces symptoms such as fatigue, dry skin, and mood swings, and is associated with depression, heart disease, lower IQ and mental disorders.
We Should Avoid High Calorie Sodas, Processed Meats and Sugary Cereals
Nutrition facts tell us that high-calorie sodas, processed meats, and sugary cereals are high on the list of foods to be avoided at all costs. Sodas and other sugary drinks are extremely high in calories and almost always have no nutritional value. The same goes for sugary cereals, such as Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, and Frosted Flakes. Processed meats are one of the worst offenders when it comes to poor nutrition. Ham, bacon, corned beef, salami, and hot dogs all fall under the heading of processed meats, which are known to contain a carcinogenic ingredient called sodium nitrite that is used as a coloring agent to improve appeal. Researchers have found evidence that processed meats increase the risk of pancreatic, colorectal, and other cancers by as much as 67%.
Canned and Frozen Fruits and Vegetables are Often More Nutritious than Fresh
Unless you grow and harvest your own fruits and vegetables, canned and frozen products may be healthier than fresh varieties. From the time they are picked, fresh fruits and vegetables begin to lose nutrients. Some travel for days before reaching the supermarket and most are picked before fully ripe, resulting in significant loss of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. On the other hand, canned and frozen fruit and veg is usually ripened to maturity and processed immediately, preserving many of the nutrients lost through artificial ripening during the long transport to markets across the globe. A particular advantage of frozen produce is that it is additive-free. Freezing requires absolutely no additional ingredients and frozen produce will keep for months in the freezer with zero loss in nutritional value or quality.
Breakfast is Still the Most Important Meal of the Day
According to a recent survey, approximately 31 million Americans skip breakfast every day. Nutrition facts tell us that breakfast foods are good sources of important nutrients such as calcium, iron, protein, fiber, and vitamin B. Studies show that eating breakfast is key to maintaining healthy body weight and is known for enhancing memory, improving concentration, lowering stress levels, and elevating mood. People who eat breakfast are generally happier, more productive, and less likely to reach for sugary snacks mid-morning. Experts say that breakfast should be eaten within two hours of waking and provide approximately 30% of the recommended daily calorie intake.
Microwaving Preserves Nutrients Lost during Other Food Preparation Methods
The microwave is one of the best ways to retain a food’s nutritional value during cooking. Nutrition facts tell us that the longer food is cooked, the more nutrients lost during the process. Because microwave-cooking times are shorter, foods are exposed to heat for a shorter time, resulting in fewer lost nutrients and a more nutritious final product. Disadvantages of microwave cooking include lack of browning, uneven cooking, and the possibility of cancer-causing agents seeping into food through the use of unsafe microwave containers. When properly done, however, microwave cooking is a timesaving, energy-wise method of cooking that allows for maximum preservation of nutrients.
More than 50 Million People Eat at McDonald’s Every Day
Nutrition facts tell us that fast food products are among the leading causes of obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. Fast food restaurants are tremendously popular because they are fast, convenient, and reasonably priced. Most are heavily marketed, with much of their advertising aimed at children and teens, who may see between three and five fast-food commercials daily showing healthy, nutritious, and appetizing meals. In truth, most fast food meals contain food choices that are high in calories, sodium, and fat, and less than 1% of them meet the standard nutritional requirements recommended by experts.
Water Accounts for 55% to 75% of Human Body Weight
Water accounts for approximately 60% of the average adult human body weight. Generally speaking, the average person needs a minimum of six to eight glasses of water each day to keep the body in top shape and performing at optimal levels. Nutrition facts tell us that fluids are used by the body to regulate body temperature, digest food, carry nutrients to cells, and remove waste. Lack of fluids can cause dehydration, which can result in dry mouth, dizziness, loss of energy, heart palpitations, and even death. The best way to avoid dehydration is to drink plenty of fluids, eat foods high in water content, avoid alcohol, and limit exposure times to high heat and the sun.
Coffee, Alcohol and Sugar Destroy Nutrients
Nutrition facts show that too much caffeine, alcohol, and sugar can have devastating effects on important nutrients that are essential to good health. Although moderate consumption of alcohol is known to have certain health advantages, too much alcohol destroys valuable vitamins and minerals and can be dangerous to the heart. Ditto for caffeine, which can reduce the body’s absorption of iron and lower calcium amounts due to excessive urination brought on by its diuretic properties. Too much sugar not only results in the loss of essential vitamins and minerals, but can also cause high blood pressure, tooth decay, diabetes, weight gain, and a host of chronic diseases that include heart disease and cancer.
Healthy Foods Don’t Stay Fresh for Long
Nutrition facts tell us that food that doesn’t expire or has a long shelf life contains preservatives, additives, and other chemicals that can be harmful to your health. While packaged, boxed, canned, and processed foods are the worst offenders; the truth is almost all foods contain some type of preservative. Preservatives are used to prevent spoilage, prolong shelf life, enhance color, and maintain consistency and flavor. While the FDA has a stringent system for classification of food additives, science is constantly evolving and turning up new information that sometimes contradicts information given as fact in the past. The safest way to avoid health risks associated with food additives is to eat fresh, natural, and organic foods whenever possible.
One Can of Soda Contains 10 Teaspoons of Sugar
The average American drinks more than 500 cans of soda each year. At 10 teaspoons of sugar per can, that works out to approximately 52 pounds of sugar consumed via soft drinks alone. Not only are soft drinks high in sugar, they also contain caffeine and have absolutely no nutritional value. Nutrition facts tell us that soft drinks are known to trigger sugar cravings and are linked to tooth decay, cancer, and diabetes. While diet sodas may seem like a good alternative due to their low-calorie content, they still contain high levels of caffeine and a number of additives that may be detrimental to good health.
You Shouldn’t Believe Everything You Read on Food Packaging
Nutrition labels on food packaging are regulated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). However, while the FDA does require most packaged foods to have a nutrition label that supplies truthful and accurate information, they do not have the resources to monitor them for accuracy. Food packaging often contains exaggerated and misleading information, with remarkable claims such as fat-free, low fat, all-natural, no sugar, no trans fats, and so on. Often these claims are only partly true, and sometimes they hold no truth whatsoever. It is important to remember that food packaging is designed to sell a product. To avoid falling prey to food manufacturer’s marketing schemes, be sure to check nutrition labels and arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible about the foods you want to eat.
Lemons are the Healthiest Food in the World
Lemons are known to be one of the world’s healthiest foods. Just one lemon contains more than 100% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin C. Lemons are alkaline-forming, meaning they help restore balance to the body’s pH, and they contain citrus flavonoids that act as an anti-inflammatory and may slow the growth of cancer cells. Nutrition facts tell us that lemons stimulate the liver, acting as a detoxifier, and aid in the regularity of bowel movements. Nutrients found in lemons include vitamin C, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, B-complex vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber.
Blueberries, Avocados, and Walnuts Can Increase Your Brain Power
Nutrition facts tell us that there is a direct relationship between food and brain function. Diets that are low in fat and high in nutrients have been known to reduce memory loss, aid in the prevention of strokes, and increase alertness. Nutritional elements necessary for optimal brain function include omega-3 fats, vitamin D, and B-family vitamins, which are found in foods such as blueberries, avocados, walnuts, fatty fish, olive oil, and dark leafy vegetables. Proper nutrition for the brain is known to reduce mental tiredness, improve concentration, and ward off age-related problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Caffeine May Reduce the Risk of Stroke, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer
While too much caffeine is known to cause nervousness, irritability, an upset stomach, and insomnia, nutrition facts tell us that moderate caffeine consumption may actually lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke. This is due to disease-fighting antioxidants found in caffeine-rich foods that are known to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, and protect healthy cells from damage. Caffeine is also being considered as a possible treatment for ADHD in children because of its ability to reduce blood flow to the brain, a proven method for enhancing focus.
Nutrition Facts – Facts about Nutrition Summary
Good nutrition is important for a healthy body. Nutrition facts tell us that the human body requires a daily supply of six essential nutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water – for proper functioning and optimal performance. Nutrients are acquired through foods taken into the body that are broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream for distribution throughout the body. Nutrients provide the body with energy, protection against infection and disease, and aid in the growth, development, and repair of cells.