8 Ways to Eat Better: An Introduction to Nutrition
Nutrition is a branch of science that studies the role of food and food substances in relation to living organisms. It involves several processes, including ingestion, digestion, absorption, transport, assimilation, and elimination. Nutrition can have both positive and negative influences on health, wellness, and performance.
Better nutrition equals better health, but sociological, economical, and psychological factors may negatively impact nutrition. Higher prices of healthy food and the higher availability of unhealthy food are examples of economic factors that cause people to favor unhealthy food.
Food provides substances that perform functions vital to the life of an organism.
Food provides substances that perform functions vital to the life of an organism. These essential substances, called nutrients, can be divided into 6 groups: fats, proteins, carbohydrates, water, vitamins, and minerals. Too much or too little of these particular nutrients may cause serious health problems, especially chronic diseases. A diet with sufficient nutrients is, therefore, considered to be a healthy diet. For that reason, correct proportions of nutrients in the body are necessary to drastically reduce the risk of development and advancement of chronic illness.
In addition to the benefit mentioned above, the roles of nutrients include:
- Providing energy (fats, carbohydrates, and sometimes proteins)
- Building and repairing body tissue (protein)
- Regulating and maintaining the physiological and chemical processes (all nutrients)
It is proposed that nutrients perform these roles by:
- Destroying bacteria that damage DNA
- Repairing DNA
- Reducing blood pressure
- Dilating blood vessels
- Nutrients increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin
- Diluting certain chemicals in the intestines that may cause harm
- Increasing the functionality of the immune system
Athletes in professional capacities receive special coaching and training to enhance their mental and physical strength for better performance. This expertise provided by coaches and trainers includes a dietary component that influences psychological and physiological functions. This dietary component is commonly known as sports nutrition.
In addition to the goals above, sports nutrition also aims to:
- Decrease recovery time after training
- Enable the athlete to competitively perform at his best
- Encourage health and wellness
- Encourage adjustments to training
Experts in sports nutrition may introduce special diets and dietary supplements to athletes in an effort to achieve these goals. Check out our product reviews for more information. Surprisingly, research has found that a substantial number of athletes do not consume enough energy in the form of carbohydrates, but they do consume too much fat. The intake of micronutrients varies for these same athletes. Some consume too much and others too little, with calcium and iron deficiencies being common in female athletes.
Now that you understand the fundamental principles and benefits of nutrition and nutrients with their roles in everyday life and athletics, here are 8 great ways to eat better.
- Be sure to balance your intake of food with daily exercise to have your desired body weight. Exercise also has the added benefit of aiding digestion.
- Consume foods rich in nutrients, raw whole foods, and less processed foods.
- Add more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain foods to your diet.
- If you enjoy consuming alcohol, moderately do so. That is around 5 drinks per week.
- Stay away from foods with high sodium content. Also, prepare meals using less salt.
- Consume less sugar, especially foods or drinks with added sugar.
- Ensure your diet is low in trans fatty acids and saturated fat.
- When choosing fruits and vegetables, pick different colors. Different colors have different nutritional benefits.
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