If you are trying to lose weight you need to know the importance of good nutrition to health. It is even more important than ever to consume the right foods that will provide your body with the nutrients it needs. If you don’t do this you could end up suffering from malnutrition. This will cause your body to hold on to it’s fat cells more than ever. Even if you are not on a diet you still need to maintain good nutrition.
What is the importance of good nutrition to health?
For most of us, our nutrition is not healthy. We tend to eat a lot of junk and processed foods. These foods are lacking in nutrients because processing and cooking kills them. So even though we are having huge numbers of calories we are not getting the nutrients our body needs. Even healthy foods like fruit and vegetables lack the nutrients they had 50 years ago. This is because they are harvested much earlier and ripened in cold storage. The longer they spend on the plant the more nutrients they absorb. But the minute they are harvested, they cease to absorb nutrients from the soil. In fact, their nutrient levels even decrease over time. Sadly, modern farming does not take the importance of good nutrition into account.
So how does our body respond to this nutrient famine? … CRAVINGS! There can be many reasons for cravings but one of them is our body trying to force us to consume the nutrients it needs. The problem is, because our diets are lacking in so many nutrients, our body doesn’t know what foods provide them so it stimulates appetite in general.
If our body knows where to get the nutrients, it craves foods that provide them. Eating a diet that includes all of the nutrients our body needs educates our body to know where to obtain those nutrients. Then, when it needs them, it will crave foods that contain them. This prevents cravings for unhealthy foods and therefore also prevents weight gain and supports weight loss. This is because foods that are highest in nutrients tend to be lowest in calories. Can you see the importance of good nutrition here? Does it make sense to you?
An extra crucial factor is digestion. Our body needs the digestive enzymes found in fresh produce. We need them to break down nutrients so we can absorb them. Cooking and processing kills these enzymes which makes it harder for our body to digest and absorb the nutrients. We also need the good bacteria found in things like yogurt, cheese, kefir etc.
To put it simply, eating has two purposes:
- Calories for energy.
- Nutrients for health.
Both of these factors are important but lets deal with them in turn.
Calories for Energy
Every person has a ‘Basal Metabolic Rate’ (BMR). This is the number of calories required to maintain the body. Each persons BMR differs due to several factors:
- Age: Young people have higher caloric needs because they are still growing and they’re more active.
- Gender: Males need 5-10% more calories to support extra muscle mass.
- Weight: Bones, muscles and even fat cells need calories to maintain themselves.
- Height: Related to weight, the taller you are the more you weigh.
- Activity level: The more active you are the more calories you need.
You can calculate your BMR here. Sadly, these days most of us neglect the importance of good nutrition and consume far more calories than we need. This has caused the obesity epidemic. Because we have a diet that is high in calories and low in nutrients.
Nutrients for health
When it comes to the importance of good nutrition, there are two types of nutrients needed by the human body:
- Macronutrients: Those needed in large amounts. They include carbs, protein, fat, macro minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc etc), and water.
- Micronutrients: Those needed in small amounts. They include vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
Most of our bodies calorie needs are supplied by carbs (4 calories per gram), protein (4 calories per gram) and fat (9 calories per gram). But our diets also lack many of the macro minerals, vitamins, trace elements and water. Many people suffer chronic dehydration, osteoperosis (caused by longer term chronic lack of calcium), anemia (lack of iron), night cramps caused by lack of magnesium etc.
So what can we do? Once we know the importance of good nutrition it’s easy to improve our diet. Eat organic foods if you can afford it. Organic produce is ripened on the plant so it’s higher in nutrients. It’s also a good idea to eat foods raw when you can because cooking kills the nutrients. There are plenty of foods that are real nutritional power houses. Some of them are the so called ‘super’ foods. But most are found in the fresh produce section of any grocery store. Foods like:
- Berries: Especially blueberries, cranberries and goji berries.
- Herbs and spices: Thyme, parsley, basil, ginger, garlic and cilantro (coriander).
- Green vegetables: Kale, spinach, wheat grass, broccoli and spirulina (supplement form).
- Beans (legumes).
- Dark chocolate: Must be dark chocolate not milk. Approx 1.5 oz (45g) per day.
- Seeds: Pepita (pumpkin), flax seed, chia seeds, sunflower seeds. Flax and chia are a great source of omega 3.
- Salmon and other seafood.
- Yogurt, kefir etc: Great source of probiotics.
Add more of these into your diet if you’re concerned about the importance of good nutrition and you will be on the right track to improve your health and your life.