Why is Proper Nutrition Important?
Are nutrition and health related? Is healthy eating important? Of course! Like a finely-tuned racing car, your body needs the right fuel (food) and regular maintenance (exercise, lifestyle and mental attitude) to achieve its true health potential. Nothing is more important than healthy eating! Put in the wrong fuel or let it go without regular use and there's no way it can deliver its full power and performance. Without healthy eating, your body's engine will cough, splutter and eventually stall.
Maintaining a balanced diet by healthy eating can:
- Give you vitality and energy for life
- Help you stay at a weight that's right for you
- Boost your immune system
- Improve sports performance
- Delay the effects of aging
- Keep you active and fit into old age
- Help beat tiredness and fatigue
- Protect teeth and keep gums healthy
- Enhance your ability to concentrate and possible alter mood
- Ward off serious illnesses like heart disease, certain cancers, mature-age onset diabetes, and gallbladder disease
Nutrition recommendations from the USDA:
|MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet using a familiar image—a place setting for a meal. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your cup or bowl.||
Examples of fruits:
Apples, bananas, blueberries, oranges, pineapple, etc.
100% fruit juice counts!
Examples of vegetables:
Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, green beans, leafy greens, peppers, etc.
Beans and peas can count as vegetables OR protein!
Examples of grains:
Whole: brown rice, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, whole wheat pasta/bread, etc.
Refined: corn tortillas, crackers, pretzels, white pasta, etc.
*Make at least half of your grains whole!
Examples of protein:
Beans/peas, eggs, meat, nuts/seeds, poultry, seafood, soy products.
*Choose lean, minimally processed proteins.
Examples of dairy:
Calcium-fortified soymilk, cheese, milk, milk-based desserts (ice cream, etc.), yogurt.
*Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. If you choose milk or yogurt that is not fat-free, or cheese that is not low-fat, the fat in the product counts against your maximum limit for empty calories (calories from solid fats and added sugars). If sweetened milk products are chosen (flavored milk, yogurt, drinkable yogurt, desserts), the added sugars also count against your maximum limit for empty calories. A small amount of empty calories is okay, but most people eat far more than is healthy. It is important to limit empty calories to the amount that fits your calorie and nutrient needs. You can lower your intake by eating and drinking foods and beverages containing empty calories less often or by decreasing the amount you eat or drink.