Nutrition – What’s in our food?
Carbohydrates are essentially how food stores energy and they can be found to some degree in almost every food. The most obvious carbohydrate is just plain sugar (often called a simple sugar). But there are many more types. For example, starches, complex sugars (such as in fruits), and cereals. In addition, nutritional labels often include as carbohydrates foods that are not technically carbohydrates in this category. Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient. You need energy to stay alive – but too many carbohydrates can be a problem. They contribute to fat creation. The body storing energy it doesn’t need. And in the long term eating too many carbohydrates contributes to diseases.
Fibre, minerals, other nutrients
There are other kinds of food needed for good nutrition. Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that is not very good at transferring energy (fibre also doesn’t get turned into fat readily), but it is very necessary for health. Then we have minerals such as iron, sodium (salt), or calcium which come from a variety of sources. Finally, we have oxygen and especially water. Water is technically not a nutrient, but it is absolutely necessary for our bodies functioning.
Vitamins are organic nutrients that are necessary for a healthy body. The interesting thing about vitamins is that, unlike many proteins and carbohydrates, they cannot be created by the body. They need to come from somewhere else. They are very important nutritionally for the body and do some pretty unique things for it. For example, vitamins help regulate metabolism. How the body uses energy, fight disease, or process other foods. Some people do not get enough vitamins from their food and use supplements to make up the difference.
People often connect protein with meat and animal products. Proteins are found in a great variety of sources and serve many purposes. They are important building blocks of the body, especially muscle tissue. This is why proteins are so important for people trying to build muscle. Proteins also store energy, trigger different cell functions, and carry information for the body.
What’s in it for me?
Now that we’ve covered the components that make up our food, the ones important for nutrition, that is. It’s time to talk about where to find them and how to balance them in our diet. This can get complicated as there are a number of factors that impact our nutritional needs and vary from person to person.
Age is one of these factors. A younger person needs more energy. An older person needs to make sure he or she is consuming enough calcium, and so on. Another factor is your fitness and lifestyle goals. If you are a bodybuilder you will need to consume the right amount and type of carbohydrates (for energy). And a decent amount of protein to build muscle. If you are not athletic, on the other hand, you will need to be careful about the energy you consume (depending on your lifestyle). So that your body isn’t tempted to build up fat stores and focus on a balanced diet so you get the right nutrients.
Fortunately, you can address the basics of good nutrition with a dose of common sense. We all know we need fruits and vegetables. If you focus on a diet with plenty of those along with some meat or other protein and not to overdo it with the carbohydrates. Also, minimize obviously unhealthy foods such as junk-food and sugar heavy foods, you will be well on the way to a nutritionally full and balanced diet. Combine that with healthy exercise and you’re definitely on the right track.
The power of the nutritional expert
To get the full health benefits of good nutrition, though, it’s best to consult with someone who’s been trained to give advice. A nutrition expert, such as those we have in our Grande Prairie gym, can not only go through your needs and goals and determine exactly what you should be eating. But he or she will be able to create a diet that is not only nutritionally well-adapted to you, but that will leave out the calculation and complexity for you. A nutritionist has the knowledge to give you a practical plan on how to eat to address all your body’s complex needs. As well as giving you important tips on maintaining motivation and on how to avoid bad foods and bad habits. An expert can make all the difference.
Call or contact us to find out how you can harness the health benefits and well-being nutrition has to offer.