In order to begin creating a healthy diet, we must first understand the basics of good nutrition. There are six classes of nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. All of these nutrients are necessary as sources of energy and to create chemical reactions within the body to make it function.
PROTEINS: The substance that builds tissues for growth and repair. Without protein your body with break down its own muscle tissue. Proteins are also used by the body to stabilize blood sugar levels by stimulating
-- PROTEINS CAN BE FOUND IN MEAT, POULTRY, FOUL, FISH, EGGS, MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS, BEANS, NUTS, YEAST, GRAINS, SOY AND WHEAT GERM. PROTEIN SHOULD ACCOUNT FOR ABOUT 20 TO 30 PERCENT OF A HEALTHY DIET.
CARBOHYDRATES [and fiber]: Carbohydrates are our main source of energy and are found in starch, sugar and fiber. It is important to eat the right kinds of carbohydrates. Starch is considered a good source of carbohydrates. Fiber provides little energy, but is important for regular bowel movements. Natural sugars such as those found in fruits and vegetables are good. Refined sugars are very unhealthy.
-- CARBOHYDRATES AND FIBER CAN BE FOUND IN WHOLE-MEAL BREAD AND PASTA, VEGETABLES AND FRUIT. FOODS CONTAINING STARCH AND FIBER SHOULD MAKE UP ABOUT 40 TO 50 PERCENT OF YOUR DIET.
FATS: Fats will keep the body functions working properly and should account for about 30 percent of our diet. Many of us cut fats from our diets, in attempting to lose weight. We need to remember that a certain amount of fat is necessary in our diets. Saturated fats should be used sparingly as they increase blood cholesterol to dangerous levels. Polyunsaturated fats are mainly derived from plants and have greater health benefits.
-- SATURATED FATS ARE OF ANIMAL ORIGIN AND FOUND IN MEAT, MILK, BUTTER, CHEESE, SOY OIL, OLIVE OIL AND NUTS. POLYUNSATURATED AND MONOUNSATURATED FATS ARE FOUND IN FISH AND SEAWEED, FLAXSEED OIL, GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES, LIVER, OLIVE OIL AND SOY OIL. FATS SHOULD MAKE UP 30 PERCENT OF THE DIET.
- VITAMIN A - fights infection, prevents dry skin and poor bone growth.
-- FOUND IN VEGETABLES, MILK, BUTTER, MARGARINE AND EGG YOLKS.
- THIAMIN - Removes carbon dioxide during respiration. -- FOUND IN WHOLE-GRAIN NUTS AND SEEDS.
- RIBOFLAVIN - Necessary for growth. -- FOUND IN MILK, MEAT, EGGS AND LEAFY VEGETABLES.
- NIACIN - Promotes a glowing complexion, prevents disease and improves the mood. -- FOUND IN MILK, EGGS, CHEESES AND FISH.
- PANTHOTENIC acid - Essential for energy metabolism. -- FOUND IN MEAT, FISH, POULTRY, WHOLE GRAIN CEREALS AND DRIED BEANS.
- VITAMIN B6 - Important for metabolism of proteins.
-- FOUND IN SPINACH, BROCCOLI AND BANANAS.
- VITAMIN B12 - Maintains the nervous system and promotes healthy skin.
-- FOUND IN MEAT, MILK, EGGS, CHEESE AND FISH.
- BIOTIN - Important for carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
-- FOUND IN LIVER, PEANUTS AND CHEESE.
- FOLATE - Promotes cell production and healthy skin.
-- FOUND IN LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES, CHICKEN, LIVER AND KIDNEYS.
- VITAMIN C - Heals wounds, boosts the immune system, protects us from toxins, prevents colds and is essential for normal metabolism.
-- FOUND IN GREEN VEGETABLES AND CITRUS FRUITS.
- VITAMIN D - Essential for bone growth and calcium absorption.
-- FOUND IN TUNA FISH, EGGS, BUTTER AND CHEESE.
- VITAMIN E - Promotes blood clotting.
-- FOUND IN MILK, VEGETABLES, LIVER, RICE AND BRAN.
- VITAMIN K - Maintains the involuntary nervous system, vascular system and involuntary muscles.
-- FOUND IN WHEAT GERM, VEGETABLE OIL AND WHOLE-GRAIN BREADS AND CEREALS.
- CALCIUM - Prevents blood clotting and is necessary for bone growth, healthy teeth and iron absorption.
-- FOUND IN MILK, MILK PRODUCTS, EGG YOLKS, GREEN VEGETABLES AND SHELLFISH.
- COPPER - An aid in the metabolism of iron.
-- FOUND IN LIVER AND WHOLE GRAINS.
- FLORIN - Strengthens teeth.
-- FOUND IN FLUORINATED WATER AND TEA.
- IRON - Prevents anemia.
-- FOUND IN MEAT, GREEN VEGETABLES, YEAST AND WHEAT GERM.
- IODINE - Regulates energy use in the body.
-- FOUND IN SEAFOOD AND SEAWEED.
- MAGNESIUM - Involved in normal brain, spinal cord and nerve functioning, and an aid in forming bones.
-- FOUND IN MILK, GRAINS, VEGETABLES, FRUITS AND CEREALS.
- POTASSIUM - Promotes healthy nerves and muscles.
-- FOUND IN MILK, FRUIT AND VEGETABLES.
- SODIUM - Maintains adequate water in cells.
-- FOUND IN TABLE SALT, MILK AND MEAT.
- PHOSPHORUS - Required in bone growth, strong teeth and the transformation of energy.
-- FOUND IN MILK, YOGURT, YEAST AND WHEAT GERM.
- ZINC - Essential for development of reproductive organs and the body's enzyme systems.
-- FOUND IN EGG YOLKS, MILK, NUTS, PEAS AND BEANS.
WATER: Our bodies are made up of about two-thirds water. The effects of water deprivation are dramatic; blood volume is reduced so it does not circulate to the tissues effectively. The brain is the most effected that includes dizziness, disorientation and fatigued.
-- SIX TO EIGHT EIGHT OUNCE GLASSES OF WATER SHOULD BE INGESTED A DAY.