We hear the term ‘healthy’ discussed often, especially this time of year. Although it seems straightforward, this term can have different meanings for different people. You may define health as lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol, and your friend may define it as the ability to run a marathon.
A better definition could include nutrition, a cornerstone of homeostasis1—the state of balance when your body is functioning as it should—and how it fits in with other aspects of an active lifestyle. How can we get the most nutrition out of our food? In this blog, we’ll dive into what nutrition means, give examples of nutritious foods, discuss how healthy food fits in with health and wellbeing, and provide tips on incorporating more nutritious eating habits into your life.
What is nutrition?
Nutrition is the act of providing the body with the necessary energy and nutrients for growth and maintenance. Nutrition is critical to a person’s health and development. Better nutrition helps build:2
- Improved infant and maternal health
- Stronger immune systems
- Safer pregnancy and childbirth
- Lower risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease
Nutrition not only keeps our bodies regulated but also helps learning and growth. For instance, children with good nutrition have better health outcomes, improved grades and knowledge retention, and higher performance on tests.3 Additionally, poor nutrition may result in low energy levels, lack of focus, and poor educational outcomes.4
It’s important to understand that not all ‘healthy’ foods are necessarily nutritious. While healthy food may be low in calories or fat, it may not contain many essential vitamins or minerals. That’s why it’s important to focus on eating nutrient-dense foods, including:
- Lean proteins
- Whole grains
Eating a variety of these items will help you get all the essential nutrients your body needs for optimal health.
Examples of nutritious foods
Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of nutrition because they contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that help keep your body running smoothly. Lean proteins such as fish, poultry, and eggs provide essential amino acids that help build muscle mass. Whole grains offer complex carbohydrates, which provide long-lasting energy throughout the day. At the same time, nuts and seeds are packed with healthy fats, which can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. Finally, dairy products like milk or yogurt contain calcium which helps strengthen bones and teeth. A balanced diet made up mainly of these types of food provides your body with all its nutritional needs and enough energy to go about daily activities without feeling tired or sluggish.
How nutritious food fits in with health and wellbeing
Proper nutrition has many benefits to physical and mental health. In addition to maintaining an active lifestyle that includes a half hour of moderate activity each day5—walking, gardening, swimming, or low-impact aerobic exercise—nutrition offers several benefits to make your life happier and healthier.
Improved immune defense
Eating a nutritious diet is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellbeing since proper nutrition helps support strong bones and muscles and boosts immunity against disease-causing pathogens like bacteria or viruses.
Nutritious food also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, leading to better energy levels throughout the day. More energy enables you to stay productive at work or school without feeling overly tired by midday or experiencing afternoon slumps—which often happens because of poor dietary choices throughout the day.
Improved mental clarity
Lack of nutritious food over time can cause a foggy brain. Eating nutrient-rich food helps promote mental clarity so you can stay focused on tasks without having difficulty concentrating. The importance of nutrition cannot be overstated; it directly affects our overall health and wellbeing. Eating a balanced diet composed mainly of nutrient-dense foods will ensure that your body meets all its nutritional needs while providing adequate energy throughout the day, so you don’t feel exhausted before noon each morning!
Start off 2023 on the right foot by making healthier choices wherever possible while planning weekly meals! It doesn’t have to be complicated; small changes add up over time!
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