Basic Nutrition Crash-Course

Basic Nutrition Crash-Course

Health is a dynamic entity that’s definition seems to vary based on new research, current trends and public opinion. We live in a world where so-called “health foods” are being shoved into our daily lives at a constant rate, and the pressure to embody what the media deems as “healthy” or “beautiful” might take away from what truly is healthy. While certain pieces of the health puzzle can be ambiguous at times, the one thing that is known is the best nutritional composition to keep you functioning at your healthiest level. Read on for a crash course of sorts in basic nutrition!

Your body needs a mashup of things in order to carry out millions of complex processes. It’s always working to allow you to do whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Whatever this may be, it takes energy; and your energy is derived from what you eat. When we eat, whatever we consume is broken down into basic nutrients that your body can use and waste. The nutrients are absorbed, mainly in the small intestine, while everything else gets sent on its merry way.

Nutrient absorption is a rather complicated process, so we’re going to keep it simple: You need macronutrients and micronutrients to survive, and these are the basic components we gain from the foods we choose to consume. Macronutrients are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates; while the micronutrients group is comprised of a multitude of vitamins and minerals. The macros give you energy, while the micros serve as catalysts for this energy and synthesize its release within your body. Of course, each nutrient has various other functions— and this is why they’re so vital to our survival. For example, vitamin B12 and folic acid both aid in cell division within our bodies, and this cell division is important in maintaining our red blood cell count.

Another thing to note when considering your nutritional intake is that various nutrients can aid in the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals when ingested in tandem. For example: Vitamin C helps your body absorb plant-based iron more readily, and consuming fats at the same time as your Vitamin D (or any other fat-soluble vitamin) will increase your body’s absorption of that vitamin. On the other hand, taking minerals together (such as iron and magnesium) may decrease your body’s absorption of both, as the minerals will compete with each other to be absorbed.

This all begs the question: How can we ensure that we’re getting all that we need and more through our diet? It seems that there’s so much to take in (literally)— how can it be possible that this is all available just through the foods we consume? The answer may be simpler than you think. Unfortunately, the average American diet consists heavily of fast foods and sugary products, which definitely won’t provide proper nutrition for even the most avid runner. It is possible to get everything you need from food, but it might require a shift in your diet. The USDA developed MyPlate, a guideline to proper nutrition. 2/5 of your diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, and the other 3/5 are allocated in approximately equal amounts to dairy, protein and whole grains. Visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ for more resources on MyPlate, and give us a call if you need help creating a customized diet plan! If you’re looking to make a few major changes in your diet, it may take a little extra help, and we’re here to keep you on the right track to reach your goals.

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