Human nutrition is one of the most important factors that directly affects human health. Topic about healthy food will be a good match for a healthy food essay.
Fundamentals of Healthy Nutrition
“You are what you eat.” This expression is more than two thousand years old. But the words of Hippocrates are still relevant to this day.
The nutritional behavior of many people can be characterized simply as chaos. People eat fast food and half-finished products, often on the go and at night. As a result, many people have stomach problems and are overweight.
Proper nutrition is the basis of a healthy lifestyle. Food is something that has direct influence on health and vital functions of every organism. Low-quality or harmful food can damage the body, so it is very important to be able to take the right nutrition every day. Healthy food is not always a standard of taste, but from the standpoint of its benefits, there are no analogues.
Healthy nutrition is a balanced diet of natural and quality products that meet all needs of the body and keep it healthy. Healthy nutrition should meet five basic principles:
1. The principle of quantitative characteristics of nutrition. The amount of energy supplied with food should be equal to the energy burned by the body.
2. The principle of food quality. The body must receive all the necessary food substances in quantities determined for the individual with food products.
3. The principle of balanced nutrition. All nutrients coming from food must be consumed in certain proportions.
4. The principle of timing. Take a certain amount of food at a certain time. The correct timing ensures the efficiency of the digestive system, the assimilation of nutrients, and regulates metabolic processes.
5. Principle of harmlessness and digestibility of food. Foods and food supplies should not pose a health hazard due to the presence of physical, chemical, or biological contaminants or processes of spoilage (oxidation, fermentation, sedimentation, etc.) in cases of improper storage and disposal.
The digestibility of food is determined by its chemical composition and culinary processing features. Any violation of the chemical structure of food and the capacity of the digestive system (especially in childhood) leads to a disorder of metabolism and the formation of various pathological conditions.
At the heart of all principles of healthy nutrition should be the principle of adequacy, that is, nutrition should be adequate to age, sex (sex division begins with 11 years), the type of work activity, the nature of the physiological or pathophysiological state of the organism, and the climatic zone (time of year).
1. Literature on Healthy Eating
The most well-known author of books on proper nutrition is the American naturopathic doctor, an adherent of alternative medicine and a vegetarian – Herbert Shelton. His idea of the benefit of natural food has become very popular: Shelton believed that nature took care of all of the food humans need, which means that our bodies need only natural products.
Shelton also developed a dietary concept of separate nutrition in his book “Food Combining Made Easy.” The idea of this diet is in the incompatibility of certain products when they are consumed together. For example, the author argued that you cannot combine protein rich food with carbohydrate food, combine milk with other foods, and fats with proteins. Separate nutrition interested not only those who want to practice a healthy lifestyle, but also specialists in the field of dietetics and physiology. Clinical studies that were conducted after this book has shown that it is more useful to eat healthy food not paying too much attention to its combination.
Also relevant to proper nutrition are the postulates from the most popular modern bookson healthy food “The China Study.” This piece was written by the famous specialist Colin Campbell, Honorary Professor of the Department of Food Biochemistry, Cornell University, winner of the United States National Institute of Health. Here are some conclusions from this book:
Vitamin supplements will never replace natural products containing the same set of vitamins.
Almost all nutrients are better absorbed from plant foods than from animal products.
Proper nutrition helps to control the influence of negative external factors on the body.
A properly formulated diet will never harm the body.
Summarizing the information from these works, there are several general recommendations about what you need to know about proper nutrition and healthy eating:
Rule 1. Food is primarily a basis for life, fuel for the body, from which energy is generated, and only then ritual and pleasure.
Rule 2. A healthy diet will protect your body from premature aging, and help to avoid many diseases of the cardiovascular system, certain types of cancer, digestive tract diseases, diabetes, hypertension. In addition, there is a list containing products which contribute to improving mental performance.
Rule 3. In healthy eating, compromises have no place. Soda, chips, mayonnaise, and other harmful products must be abandoned. You can eat sweets and even need them, but not all the time and not all of them.
Rule 4. Baked, stewed, or boiled food is more useful than fried or smoked.
Rule 5. Trust, but check. With the development of the Internet, a huge number of different blogs and websites have appeared on the network, containing information on healthy nutrition and giving recommendations for improving the figure. However, do not forget that the authors of blogs do not always become professionals who really know their business. That is why before you start applying any particular technique to yourself, you should learn more about the reviews of other users, and read additional information about the author of the theory and analyze the results he has achieved. This simple advice will help you weed out unverified theories and thus avoid the risk of irreparable harm to your health from trusting non-professionals.
2. Food Pyramids
Based on the principles of proper nutrition, experts from the Harvard School of Public Health, led by American nutritionist Walter Willett, developed a universal diet for a person during the day – a food pyramid. The food pyramid is a scheme of permissible variations of products of a certain type for visualizing the rules of a balanced diet. Products located in the lower part of the pyramid are recommended to eat as often as possible, and products from the top should be consumed in limited quantities or completely excluded from their diet. In addition, it should be noted that at the base of this pyramid are also physical activity and sufficient intake of liquids, preferably – mineral water.
One of the main reasons of excess weight is uncontrolled consumption of high-calorie food which is much higher than the body’s need.
Food Pyramid: Harvard School
The food pyramid is a method of correct selection of food products. All products that a person eats daily are suggested to be divided into 6 large groups. Here are these groups:
Carbohydrates (whole grains, whole grain bread, cereals, pasta) are located at the bottom of the pyramid and make up at least 50% of the daily diet.
Vegetables and fruits are the next step of the food pyramid, 25% of the total food.
Protein products (meat, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, eggs) make up 15-20% of the diet.
Fats and sugars are at the top of the pyramid and have less than 5% of the total diet.
Food Pyramid: Asia
The Asian food pyramid is based on the traditional dietary guidelines for the population of Japan and China.
The foundation of the pyramid is represented by a group of vegetables, fruits and beans. Next comes a group of meat and dairy products.
Particular attention is paid to the role of drinks (green tea, decoctions), the use of which is an integral part of the diet and nutrition culture.
Food Pyramid: USA
The idea of creating the American food pyramid belongs to the authors of the national campaign to promote healthy eating. In 2005, the food pyramid MyPyramid was developed, based on physical activity, the rules of diversity, moderation and proportionality of the diet.
This food pyramid consists of vertical segments, the width of which indicates the possible amount of consumption of a group of food products:
Cereals (cereals, whole wheat flour) – 6-10 parts of the total diet
Vegetables – 3-5 parts
Fruit, berries – 2-4 parts
Fats – the minimum amount
Dairy products – 2-3 parts
Meat, fish, eggs, beans – 2-3 parts
This food pyramid focuses on individual selection of food products, focusing only on approximate proportions.
1. Campbell, T. Colin. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health. Dallas, 2016.
2. Shelton, Herbert M. Food Combining Made Easy. Summertown, 2012.
3. Willett, Walter. Nutritional Epidemiology. Oxford: Oxford U Press, 2012.
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