Sometimes the ideas of nutrition and health seem very vague and mysterious. Often, the foods we eat aren't even given consideration as something that will impact the function of our body and mind. Some people mistake having a full belly as being nourished. Others think it's normal to feel crummy.
So, it's time to step back and look at what nutrition really means, why we should care, and how to feel our very best. (And it's never too early to teach these principles to your kids, too!)
What is nutrition?
The dictionary defines nutrition as:
The act or process of nourishing or being nourished; specifically: the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilizes food substances and uses it for growth, metabolism/energy, and repair.
The foods you eat can have both positive and negative consequences to your health. Your body contains a complex system of many biochemical processes that happen deep within your cells. The food you eat programs these cells to function. Therefore every bite of food you take can lead you toward or away from health. It’s up to you!
What is health?
Health encompasses the feelings of vibrancy, radiance, strength, resistance, resilience, and well-being. It’s the ability to physically, mentally, and spiritually enjoy your life and those with whom you share it.
Health is the goal of good nutrition!
The health benefits of good nutrition are numerable and often immeasurable.
Just some include:
This is certainly what we all want for ourselves and others. Nourishment and good health is possible! The way to be truly nourished is to eat a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet. Let’s discuss what that means…
What is nutrient density?
Nutrient density is the tool you can use to reach your goals of good health and true nourishment.
Foods that supply generous amounts of one or more nutrients compared to the number of calories they supply are called “nutrient dense”. The more nutrients in your foods, and the wider the variety, the healthier you’ll be.
We feel our healthiest when we make the choice to eat foods that are rich in nutrients that nourish our cells and allow them to function optimally. Whole foods are the foods that supply these nutrients. They are simple, complete foods that are found in nature.
The human body is very intelligent, and it knows just what to do with the foods you eat so you can thrive. However, if you supply your body with unhealthy, toxic, refined, and health-depleting foods, you may spend a great deal of time feeling miserable and unwell. You'll also spend a lot of money in a doctor’s office taking care of your body. If your body receives a rich supply of nutrient-dense, nourishing foods, it will instead take care of you!
The types of nutrients:
These are the carbohydrates (carbs), fats, and proteins found in varying proportions in your food.
Every meal should include nutrient-dense carbohydrates, fats, and proteins (in a balance that feels healthy to you) to help keep you feeling nourished, satiated, and to keep your blood sugar levels balanced and cravings in check.
These are the substances your body needs to carry out its many important functions. There are thousands of them that contribute to health. A wide variety of natural, fresh foods is vital in order to obtain these micronutrients.
The proper balance of macronutrients and the overall dietary micronutrient needs will vary for each individual. They may depend on many factors including age, genetics, present health status, weight goals, hormone levels, activity level, muscle mass, stress level, and health goals.
Some others articles you may enjoy for further reading on this topic include:
Jenny Yelle, MHNE Holistic Wellness Educator
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