The word nutrition has several definitions, but most people take it as a synonym for good (as in healthy) food. This is one meaning; another is the study of how the body uses food for growth, tissue repair and replacement, energy production, and system defense. Some nutrients naturally found in food have been isolated or replicated as ‘supplements’, dense nutrition in a tablet, capsule, drink, or powder.
To be healthy requires more than calories. This measurement of heat or energy produced by digestion dates from the 18th century, when the value of a calorie was established. ‘Empty calories’ are foods that can cause weight gain but offer no true nutritional value to the body. It is now known that we need vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients to thrive.
Whole foods have lots of nutritive value, but processed foods may have lost their goodness. Once people lived mainly on what they could grow themselves, but today grocery stores are the source of foods for most of us. This is a relatively new situation, and studies are just beginning to show how damaging this has been.
Foods are modified for commercial reasons. Fresh fruits are both expensive and perishable. It’s easier to stock up on canned fruits and vegetables, frozen fruit juices, or frozen vegetables. Milk, once drunk raw (unpasteurized) and fresh from the cow or goat, is now pasteurized and homogenized. Unfortunately, much of the goodness of the natural food was lost along the way.
To extend shelf-life, essential fatty acids are removed, which has caused a general lack of these vital nutrients. Fiber is not popular with those who like soft or crisp baked goods, and vegetable oils used as common ingredients have been rendered unhealthy by processing. Sugar addiction is a problem for many and causes obesity, bone degeneration, and tooth decay, as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
An effort must be made to obtain foods in a natural state, as fresh as possible, and in quantity suited to daily activity. Food allergies or sensitivities should be taken into account. Sugary foods, refined foods, and packaged foods full of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives should be eliminated altogether or strictly limited. Children should be taught early on the value of a diet rich in good fats, plentiful fiber, adequate protein, and fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals.
Not all of a nutritional program concerns food. Exercise to tone muscle and promote fitness is very important. Walking, weight training, and body building tone muscles and strengthens the digestive tract and other internal organs. An adequate supply of pure water every day is vital. Deep sleep, which escapes many, is also necessary. Breathing from the diaphragm, as happens during exercise, is another health booster.
Nutrition should be the basis of everyone’s lifestyle. This would result in a tremendous reduction of pain, illness, expense, and loss of productivity. Feeling good, building muscle and fitness, and enjoying life are within reach of us all, if we are wise enough to implement them.
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Author: Samuel GilbertThis author has published 1 articles so far. More info about the author is coming soon.