Most of us can acknowledge the perks of daily exercise and a proper diet when it comes to a healthy weight. These practices help us ward off the excess calories and trans fat that our bodies build up when we eat processed artificial foods. What many people don't realize is that those same methods provide so many other advantages. When we prioritize what we put into our bodies, the results are astounding. Keep reading to find out what proper nutrition is and how it may affect your body.
What is Nutrition?
Nutrients are substances found in various types of food and drinks that help sustain our existence. There are a few essential nutrients that our bodies rely on to function, including protein, carbohydrates, fats, along with vitamins and minerals. Water is also a vital nutrient. When we receive the correct daily doses of these, they work collectively to supply us with all we need to lead healthy lives. This is true even when we've become weakened due to an illness or disease. In general, you shouldn't take multivitamins unless there's a significant gap in your habits, as there are better ways to obtain these elements. Ultimately, you can best achieve proper nutrition through low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods.
Advantages of Proper Nutrition
When you maintain a diet that supplies you with the proper amount of nutrients, you'll reap the benefits. In many ways, a lot of us don't know what we're missing. Here a few examples of what nutrients do to help keep our bodies and minds happy and healthy.
Protects the Immune System
There are a number of both nutrients and vitamins that help support our immune systems. If your system weakens due to any illness or disease, from cancer to substance abuse, proper nutrition will help rebuild those defenses that were lost. Vitamins A, C and E boost immunity and protect from free radicals present in the environment. Protein and zinc heal wounds and accelerate the recovery process. Together, these vitamins keep us at our best.
Reduces the Risk of Disease
Too much sugar, salt and fat in your diet puts you at risk for some health conditions, including diabetes and strokes. In fact, nearly half of all deaths caused by cardiometabolic diseases in the United States in 2012 were due to poor eating habits. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats contribute to healthy meal intake. These foods offer tons of vital nutrients that prevent the development of certain disorders.
Fuels the Brain
Our brains require constant energy to perform. The bacteria that make up our intestinal microbiomes play a pivotal role in our health. They also determine how well we absorb essential nutrients. All of this goes hand in hand to support ideal brain function. Think about it – on those days when we consume a little too much junk, we often feel sluggish and exhausted later on. What you eat impacts how you think, so it's crucial to eat a diet that includes proper nutrition.
Supports Strong Teeth & Bones
Most of us know that calcium is vital when it comes to teeth and bone strength. Be sure to take in enough vitamin D and magnesium as well, as these vitamins work simultaneously with one another. The first helps to absorb calcium into the intestine, while the second regulates all of the above. Thus, you must consume enough of these three essential nutrients. Doing so will supply you with those dazzling teeth and bones.
Encourages Proper Sleep
Sleep is one of the greatest things we can do for our bodies. How rested we are plays a massive role in our overall well-being. As such, nutrition directly affects our sleep patterns. Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid help to sustain serotonin production, a hormone that promotes healthy sleep and a positive mood. When our brains don't have enough of these nutrients, it's harder to stay asleep throughout the night. This is why it's so crucial to maintain a consistent diet filled with proper nutrients.
Improves Gut Health
Our bodies work day in and day out to digest food properly. Fiber assists in this process to help keep things in check. Along with every other organ, our colons are susceptible to harmful germs. So, make sure you get enough of the nutrients that aid specifically in this field. Vitamins C, K and A, along with folate, promote healthy gut bacteria, which improves metabolism and overall gut function.
Strive for Balance
To sum everything up, proper nutrition is essential to a healthy life. While the occasional cheeseburger isn't completely bad, it's so important to prioritize a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats and fish. When you alter your habits for the better, it isn't long before you see improvements in all of these areas. If you suspect that you can improve upon your nutrition, talk with your doctor to formulate the ideal meal plan for you.
Written by Jennifer Landis
About the Author
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, writer, and blogger at Mindfulness Mama. She’s quite fond of peanut butter, distance running, yoga, and drinking as much tea as possible. Find her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.
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