Nutrition is a science that helps us to find relationship between diet and health. In order to achieve an optimal health, it’s important to follow healthy, sensible diet (involving plenty of vegetables and fruits, lean meat, and whole grains, while limiting sugar and bad fats). Healthy eating allows you to prevent certain deficiencies, such as scurvy, cancer and heart disease as well as minimizing the effects of aging.
Facts on Nutrition
A balanced diet can provide enough nutrients for your body. Nutrients keep our heart beating, brain active and muscles working, while giving us enough energy. Nutrients also help to strengthen and build tendons, muscles and bones while regulating body processes such as breathing and blood pressure.
When planning for a healthier diet, you should remember these three important facts about nutrients:
You should eat a wide variety of foods as there is no single food that can give you a complete nutrient.
A balanced diet can ensure that you have all the necessary nutrients. It is advisable to use the food guide pyramid.
You should always use moderation. It includes moderation on the amount of calories, vitamin and minerals you take. As long you don’t overdo it, moderation allows you to eat all foods. Taking too much nutrients can be also risky and even fatal.
The fact is, to get enough nutrients and significantly reduce your chance to get diseases; all you need to do is to eat a wide variety food with balance and in moderation. Dealing with nutrition myths can be easy and fun. Eating meat and dairy products in moderation, balanced with plenty of foods derived from plants can help your reach a true nutritional excellence, a vastly improved health and a trim figure.
Myths on Nutrition
Myths on nutrition are often passed from one individual to another, often by word of mouth. To avoid misconceptions, you should take a gander at the facts and change your perspective if necessary.
Eating as many as good things is always good
Human body is a complex machine and exquisitely delicate, which is designed to work within a number of limits and restrictions. We need to maintain certain proportions and ratios, between different types of nutrients. Often too much of a good thing may tip the fine balance and cause illnesses or even death.
A little of bad things won’t hurt
Even in small doses, toxic substance may wreak havocs to your body. For example, simply by smoking one cigarette for every 8 hours, the risk of cardiovascular disease can rise up by more than 60 percent. Similarly, taking in heavy metals and common pollutants from risky foods, such as fishes taken near coastal industry areas, may cause disruption and inflammation even when taken in tiny amount. Vegetables and fruits, especially those that are grown using organic methods, can leech toxic materials stored in your body.
Foods can be dissected into carbohydrate, fats and proteins
The practice of dissecting foods apart and worrying about each of them may lead to a bizarre eating pattern. Imbalance and deficiency can happen if you chase certain nutrients at the expense of the others. It is a good idea to focus on balancing the intake of each food group. Together, they give us a complete collection of beneficial nutrients.
Omega-3 is only available in sea foods
Fishes can’t make omega-3, in fact, no animal can. Plants are the only living organisms that can produce anti-inflammatory omega-3 on their own. Cold-water salmon may contain plenty of omega-3 taken from tiny sea plants, but fishes with thick fat layer tend to accumulate more pollutants. Among the healthiest source of omega-3 is ground flax seeds, it is recommended to take about 2 tablespoons each day.
Protein is better compared to carbs and fat
It is the basis of all living organisms. Only plants can produce essential amino acids needed by animals, including human, to synthesize unique proteins needed by our body. Amino acids production requires higher metabolic energy than many animals can muster. Sun is an inexhaustible energy source (at least for the next few billions years) for the amino acid production needed by all living organisms. Animal proteins are recycled products assembled from amino acids produced by plants. Protein overdose may overwhelm kidneys and liver, perhaps sparking inflammation throughout our body. By eating a balanced mix of carbohydrate, fat and protein, your body can work optimally.
Dairy products are the best source of calcium
This statement is actually consisted of two myths. First of all, it suggests that we need to consume a special source of food to get enough calcium. Other than animals, plants also need calcium to survive, as the result you can also get calcium from whole plant foods. Plants get calcium directly from the soil and animals don’t eat soil.
Secondly, the statement suggests that cow’s milk is an essential, irreplaceable food. Many people can live healthily for many years without consuming dairy products. In fact, milk produced these days comes from pregnant animals, which means it is brimming with estrogen. When consumed regularly in large amount, it may fuel testicular, prostate, endometrial, ovarian and breast cancer. You may not need to go dairy-free, but it is highly recommended to not consume dairy products regularly and you should fill the gaps with delicious milk derived from plant sources including soy, rice, seeds, and nuts.
Supplements are the final solution for nutrient deficiency
Supplements often concentrate on one nutrient and can give you a false sense of security. Many people have nutrient-poor diet while taking in supplements. Nutrients are not consisted only of vitamins and minerals; you also need other substances such as essential amino acids, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
White rice is bad
This myth appears due to its high carbohydrate content and people immediately associate it with diabetes. Carbohydrate is taken apart by our body into starches, fiber and of course, sugar. People can still have diabetes if they eat too much bad fat and never exercise. There are billions of people who eat rice everyday, especially in East Asia and South-East Asia and many of them live healthily.
You can trust nutrition label
Let’s get this straight, nutrition fact labels are designed to encourage buying decision and often they can be misleading. For example, manufacturers may trick you by claiming that their products are fat-free. A loop-hole in FDA’s regulation allows manufacturers to state that the product is fat-free if there is less than 0.5 gram of fat in one serving. Unfortunately, the serving size of PAM (cooking spray) is 1/3 second of spray or about 0.3 gram. As in the result, a product of food may be consisted of 700 servings of PAM. This is a significant amount of fat and the manufacturers are legally allowed to label it as “fat free”. When reading the labels you should look at the serving size, ingredients and the amount of calories per serving, while ignoring the percentage.