Choosing the Right Food Choices
What exactly is food? Food is any material consumed to supply the body with nutrients. The body needs all the nutrients it can get, especially if a person is growing. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and usually contains necessary nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, or other minerals. These nutrients are used by the body cells to grow and develop.
In our daily life, people consume food in many forms: they eat, drink, take food away from others, digest food, spit it out or even make use of other people’s food. All these methods of consuming food result in the consumption of various nutrients. Of all the nutrients in food, however, two are of particular interest to nutritionists and dietitians. They are fats and carbohydrates. Understanding these concepts will enable you to understand more about nutrition better.
Fats and carbohydrates are the typical sources of energy in the human body. They are present in various forms such as solid fats (animal and plant), liquid fats (such as petrol or diesel) and some vitamins and minerals like ribose and glycogen. The amount of each type of fat and carbohydrate that a person ingests directly influences his metabolic rate, which in turn determines his caloric intake and metabolic rate.
The best sources of fat and carbohydrate are meat, fish, milk and cheese. They contain high amounts of calories, but the best sources of vitamins and micronutrients are vegetables, legumes, grains, seeds, nuts and fruits. Fruits and vegetables contain relatively high amounts of vitamins A, C and E and fiber. Meats, on the other hand, are best sources of animal protein, fat and cholesterol. Meat contains mostly fatty acids, while poultry and eggs are rich in protein. Milk provides good sources of calcium, but cereal grains, breads, potatoes, rice and other grains provide sufficient amounts of micronutrients.
The best way to attain good health is to eat a well-balanced diet that ensures good sources of all micronutrients, and a small portion of carbohydrates. This way, the intake of food will be evenly spread among the required food groups. To achieve this, one must be aware of the food’s nutritional status before selecting any meal. Some of the common food groups are:
In order to maintain a healthy weight, it is important for people to eat balanced meals on regular occasions. It is recommended that people check their dietary vitamin intake regularly to ensure they are getting enough of the required vitamins and minerals. They may need to increase their vitamin intake if they are suffering from vitamin deficiencies, especially during periods when there is a lack of sunlight and vitamin supplementation is not possible. While choosing food choices, people may need to consider the food’s fat and carbohydrate content to ensure that their diet is rich in nutrients without being too oily or contains too much carbohydrate.