Note: this post has been updated in December 2018.
“Nutrition is the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health, and disease of an organism.” Wikipedia
According to the World Health Organization, “Nutrition is the intake of food, considered in relation to the body’s dietary needs.”
What is good nutrition? There’s a lot of truth in the adage, “You are what you eat.” Good nutrition means getting the right amount of nutrients from healthy foods and in the right combinations. Nutrition is really the building block of life.
Essential nutrients our your body requires include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber. Absorption of nutrients starts the minute we start to digest our foods, as they are transported throughout the body to assist in the metabolic processes of the human body. Click here to read What Is an Essential Nutrient?
Good nutrition means getting the right amount of nutrients from healthy foods in the right combinations to the body. Having nutritional knowledge and making smart choices about the foods you eat can and will help you achieve optimum health over your lifetime, and be a key to avoiding obesity, poor immunity, cardiovascular diseases, and type-II diabetes, among many other illnesses.
Nutrition is just part of developing and maintaining good health. Good health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being: a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Eating right is easy to talk about, but it can be very difficult to do because of all the choices we must make when it comes to food and lifestyle. Take a look at these this article by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. and Thomas Campbell, MD: Eating Right: 8 Principles of Food and Health
A must-have reference for your plant-strong library begins with The China Study: Deluxe Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health
When we look at the definition of nutrition and how important it is to get our essential nutrients and to get them in the right combination, there is another very important concept in nutrition that many are not aware of. It is called nutrient density and calorie density. For now, I will just touch on the concept of nutrient density.
Nutrient density is the ratio of nutrients (like vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc.) relative to the calorie (energy) content in a food. A food with high nutrient density is rich in key nutrients per 100 calories of food. A food with a low nutrient density contains very few nutrients per 100 calories of food. For example, vegetables have a very low nutrient density, and nuts, seeds, and oils have a very high nutrient density.
The idea is to eat food that is in the green area most of the time and to eat foods in the red area rarely. This is also an excellent guide to follow when you want to lose weight or maintain your weight. Choosing foods in the green area will allow you to eat more to fill you up.
You may want to read the following articles to get a better understanding of the role Nutrition plays in our lives.
Maximizing Your Nutrition
Ideas to Improve Your Nutrition
Use Nutrition to Boost Your Health
How Good Nutrition Could Save Your Life
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