What You Need to Know About Food and Health
In our modern diet we are not getting the right amount of the food we need to maintain our health. A diet needs to be rich in nutrients in order for us to live a long healthy life. We need to eat healthy food in order to avoid heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, cancer, ADHD, ulcers and other diseases of the digestive system. Many people do not know what a healthy diet is.
Food is any material consumed to supply nutrition to an organism. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and includes nutrients, including protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, sugars, or minerals. Foods are categorized into three broad categories: proteins, vegetables, and fruits. Some foods are very rich in one group, while others contain a large amount of another group. Examples of these are nuts, beans, eggs, fish, milk, meat and small amounts of wheat grains, rice and other grain products.
Protein and fat are the building blocks of muscle and tissue, so these are the first foods to include in a balanced diet. You can include meats (without fat) in this category. Nuts, beans, seeds, olives and other fresh vegetable oils are also helpful. In the vitamin and mineral category you will find foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, brown rice, barley and other rice products, whole grain breads and pasta and whole grain rice.
Unsaturated fatty acids are found in fish and some nuts, olives and other fresh vegetable oils, nuts, avocados, saffron and other spices and condiments, olive oil, canola oils, sesame seeds, walnuts, other nuts, chocolate, soybeans, corn, safflower oils, sesame seeds, garlic and ginger. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in nuts, canola, sunflower and seed oils, mayonnaise, olives and other salad dressings, nuts, seeds, soybeans and popcorn. Now, for the fats that you want to cut out of your diet. If you are not a fan of animal products, eliminate butter, hydrogenated oils, shortening, cream cheese, mayonnaise, margarine and other processed and fried foods containing saturated fats. And trans fats are those that are partially hydrogenated or found in margarine, shortening and cream cheese.
Other important nutrients that you should consider removing from your diet are sodium and cholesterol. These are two of the most common causes of clogged arteries. Of course, alcohol is another culprit that should be limited, especially beer. For most people, however, these three fats are not enough to cause problems, so they add foods that contain more of these healthy fats. For example, peanuts and almonds are filled with essential fats and protein, whereas red meat and dairy items are rich in cholesterol and sodium.
Finally, take note that not all fats are bad for you. Some, like fish and offal products, actually help to improve health and reduce risks. Others, like saturated fat, should be avoided as much as possible. The good news is that it is possible to find plenty of healthy sources of these healthy fats. With a little research, you can find great spreads for every meal, snack or plate of food that you have.