What is Real Food and Not Real Food
To understand nutrition we need to know about nutrients.
Food provides us with a range of different nutrients that have roles like providing energy and/or being needed for growth and upkeep of our body.
Carbohydrate, protein and fat are macronutrients (macro means large), so these are the nutrients that we need to eat in relatively large amounts in the diet as they provide our bodies with energy and also the building blocks for growth and maintenance of the body
Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients, which are essential nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly.
Although water is not always included in the strict definition of a nutrient, it is essential for health and life.
Most people should be able to get all the nutrients they need by eating a healthy, varied diet, although there are a few exceptions.
Nutrition is how food affects the health of the body. Food is essential—it provides vital nutrients for survival, and helps the body function and stay healthy. Food is comprised of macronutrients including protein, carbohydrate and fat that not only offer calories to fuel the body and give it energy but play specific roles in maintaining health. Food also supplies micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and phytochemicals that don't provide calories but serve a variety of critical functions to ensure the body operates optimally.
Explaining Organ Functions
· Lungs: provide oxygen to blood
· Heart: circulates blood throughout the body
· Stomach: helps digest food
· Intestines: absorb nutrients from food
· Liver: removes toxins from blood and processes nutrients from food
· Kidneys: filter blood of waste and extra fluid
What is energy?
Nutrients can be divided into 2 categories: macronutrients, and micronutrients. Macronutrients are those nutrients that the body needs in large amounts. These provide the body with energy (calories). Micronutrients are those nutrients that the body needs in smaller amounts. Click on the links below to discover the functions, recommended dietary intake, and food sources of the different nutrients our bodies need.
Six Basic Nutrients Required for Good Health
Carbohydrates can be grouped into two categories: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are sugars whereas complex carbohydrates consist of starch and dietary fibre. Carbohydrate provides about 4 kcal (kcal = kilocalories = Calories) per gram (except for fibre) and is the energy that is used first to fuel muscles and the brain. Soluble fibre (fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, brown rice, and oat, barley and rice brans) lowers blood cholesterol and helps to control blood sugar levels while providing very little energy. Insoluble fibre (wheat and corn bran, whole-grain breads and cereals, vegetables, fruit skins, nuts) doesn’t provide any calories. It helps to alleviate digestive disorders like constipation or diverticulitis and may help prevent colon cancer. Most calories (55-60%) should come from carbohydrates. Sources of carbohydrates include grain products such as breads, cereals, pasta, and rice as well as fruits and vegetables.
Protein from food is broken down into amino acids by the digestive system. These amino acids are then used for building and repairing muscles, red blood cells, hair and other tissues, and for making hormones. Adequate protein intake is also important for a healthy immune system. Because protein is a source of calories (4 kcal per gram), it will be used for energy if not enough carbohydrate is available due to skipped meals, heavy exercise, etc. Main sources of protein are animal products like meat, fish, poultry, milk, cheese and eggs and vegetable sources like legumes (beans, lentils, dried peas, nuts) and seeds.
The fat in food includes a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fat. Animal-based foods such as meats and milk products are higher in saturated fat whereas most vegetable oils are higher in unsaturated fat. Compared to carbohydrate and protein, each gram of fat provides more than twice the amount of calories (9 kcal per gram). Nevertheless, dietary fat does play an important role in a healthy diet. Fat maintains skin and hair, cushions vital organs, provides insulation, and is necessary for the production and absorption of certain vitamins and hormones. Nutrition guidelines state that Canadians should include no more than 30% of energy (calories) as fat and no more than 10% of energy as saturated fat.
Vitamins help to regulate chemical reactions in the body. There are 13 vitamins, including vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, and K. Because most vitamins cannot be made in the body, we must obtain them through the diet. Many people say that they feel more energetic after consuming vitamins, but vitamins are not a source of energy (calories). Vitamins are best consumed through a varied diet rather than as a supplement because there is little chance of taking too high a dose.
Minerals are components of foods that are involved in many body functions. For example, calcium and magnesium are important for bone structure, and iron is needed for our red blood cells to transport oxygen. Like vitamins, minerals are not a source of energy and are best obtained through a varied diet rather than supplements.
Water is a vital nutrient for good health. Most of our body weight (60-70%) is made up of water. Water helps to control our body temperature, carries nutrients and waste products from our cells, and is needed for our cells to function. It is recommended that adults drink 8 glasses of fluid daily (or more in hot weather or during physical activity). This fluid does not have to be water alone. It can also be obtained from juice, milk, soup, and foods high in water such as fruits and vegetables. Caffeine-containing beverages (coffee, tea, cola) don't count because caffeine is a diuretic, making us lose water. A great plus for water in comparison to the other fluids is that it hydrates our body without extra calories.
Before you begin worrying about portion size and protein/carb/fat requirements I recommend one simple and difficult step: focus first on food quality. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Buy fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat. Buy frozen vegetables and meat when you must. Only venture down the aisles for a few select things like nuts, beans, canned tuna, olives, etc. The aisles are generally one big, processed, nutritionally worthless carb-fest. If you need more than those 70 words then read on.
Healthy food is perishable. Ponder that for a moment. Real food–organic plants and animals that our bodies are built to consume– spoils. If it doesn’t spoil, then you probably weren’t meant to eat it. Sure, exceptions exist, but for the most part this is a basic litmus test. Food spoilage is essentially the breakdown of organic material in the presence of oxygen once that organic material is no longer alive and able to fight off the process. Therefore, if something doesn’t spoil, like Captain Crunch cereal, what can we surmise? Either little to no organic material still exists in the food, and that means it isn’t very nutritious, or it has been processed and coated with enough chemicals that the spoilage is delayed indefinitely, in which case you should ask, “I wonder what effect those chemicals might have on my body when I ingest them?” You also might be curious what nutritional value could be left in the food if almost all of the organic material has been processed out. Sounds like eating cardboard to me. Guess what, it is!
Water Soluable Vitamins
Fat Soluable Vitamins
ROLE IN THE BODY
§ Fuel during high intensity exercise
§ Spares protein (to preserve muscle mass during exercisee)
§ Fuel for the Central Nervous System (your brain!)
§ Sedentary Individuals: 40-50% of your total daily calories should be carbohydrates
§ Exercises Regularly: 60% of your total daily calories should be carbohydrates
§ Athletes or persons involved in heavy training: 70% of your total daily calories should be carbohydrates (3.5-4.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight)
NOTE: 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 Calories
§ Grains (choose mostly whole grains for added benefits)
§ Dairy (choose low-fat or non-fat most often)
§ Fruit (choose whole fruits more ofetn than fruit juices)
ROLE IN THE BODY
§ Tissue structure (part of organ tissues, muscle, hair, skin, nails, bones, tendons, ligaments and blood plasma)
§ Part of cell plasma membranes
§ Involved in metabolic, transport, and hormone systems
§ Make up enzymes that regulate metabolism
§ Invovled in acid/base balance to maintain a neutral environment in our bodies
RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE
§ Sedentary Individuals: 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight
§ Recreationally Active: 0.45-0.68 grams of protein per pound of body weight
§ Competitive Athlete: 0.54-0.82 grams of protein per pound of body weight
§ Teenage Athlete: 0.82-0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight
§ Body Builder: 0.64-0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight
§ When restricting Calories: 0364-0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight
§ Maximum amount of protein the body can utilize: 0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight
NOTE: 1 gram of protein = 4 Calories
ROLE IN THE BODY
§ Energy reserve
§ Protects vital organs
§ Transport fat soluble vitamins
20-35% of your total daily calories should come from fat
Less than 10% of total daily calories should come from Saturated Fat (coconut and plam kernal oil, shortening, butter, cream cheese, full fat dairy products)
NOTE: 1 gram of fat = 9 Calories
§ Meat, fish, dairy
VITAMIN B1: THIAMIN
§ Needed to release energy in food
§ Prevents beriberi
§ Whole grains
§ Dried beans
VITAMIN B2: RIBOFLAVIN
§ Needed to build and maintain body tissues
§ Organ meats
§ Green and yellow vegetables
§ Enriched flour
VITAMIN B6: PYRIDOXINE
§ Helps the development of the nervous system
§ Involved in the production of blood
§ Helps break down protein and glucose to produce energy for the body
VITAMIN B12: COBALAMINE
§ Promotes proper growth and development of the nervous system
VITAMIN C: ASCORBIC ACID
§ Helps form growth hormones
§ Needed to build strong gums, teeth, and bones
§ Citrus fruits
§ Helps build DNA and protein
§ Helps maintain intestinal tract
§ Aids in bone growth
§ Prevents nervous system birth defects
§ Dark green leafy vegetables
§ Wheat germ
VITAMIN A: RETINAL
§ Healthy skin
§ Healthy hair
§ Body can make vitamin A from vegetables that have carotene
§ Promotes strong teeth and bones
§ Prevents rickets
§ Cod liver oil
§ Egg yolks
§ Produced by the body when exposed to sunlight
§ Prevents damage to cell membranes
§ Protects vitamin A
§ Aids in blood production
§ Seeds and Nuts
§ Vegetable oil
§ Aids in blood clotting
§ Green leafy vegetables
§ Produced by bacteria in the large intestine
§ Maintains teeth and bones
§ Helps blood clot
§ Helps nerves and muscles function
§ Dark green vegetables
§ Regulates water balance in cells
§ Helps nerves function
§ Important for heart rhythm
§ Dried beans
§ Regulates water balance
§ Stimulates nerves
§ Table salt
§ Forms blood cells
§ Transports oxygen throughout the body
§ Red meats
§ Dark green vegetables
§ Whole-grain cereals
§ Aids in transport of carbon dioxide
§ Aids in healing wounds
§ Forms enzymes
§ Whole grains
§ Moistens tissues such as those in the mouth, eyes, and nose
§ Protects body organs and tissues
§ Helps prevent constipation
§ Helps dissolve minerals and other nutrients to make them accessible to the body
§ Regulates body temperature
§ Lubricates joints
§ Lessens the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products
§ Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells