Food for Thought Blog
Back to Basics: Building a Strong Nutritional Foundation
Nutrition can seem and feel confusing. But in its most basic form, a healthy diet is made up of six essential nutrients that when combined fuel your body and help it function. Below you can learn more about what each nutrient is and why our body needs them to build a strong nutritional foundation and function.
An easy way to remember carbohydrates is that they are like gasoline for a car. Our body breaks carbohydrates down into something called glucose. This is a type of sugar our body uses as its main form of energy. Glucose helps to power our body just like how gasoline powers a car. Carbohydrates can be found in a wide range of foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
Protein is made up of something called amino acids which can be thought of as building blocks. When stacked together, they help to build and maintain different parts of our body such as our muscles, skin, hair, nails, and red blood cells. Foods such as dairy products, meat, and beans are great sources of protein.
Fat can be found in foods such as oils, cheese, meat, nuts, and milk. It is an essential nutrient because it cushions and protects our organs, stores energy, and insulates our body. Not to mention, it helps to absorb and transport certain vitamins around the body.
There are 14 different types of vitamins. Vitamins are chemical substances that perform specific roles in the body. For example, vitamin C helps heal wounds and vitamin A helps keep our eyesight strong. Vitamins can be found in a range of foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains.
There are 15 different minerals each helping to do something different in the body. For example, iron helps our blood to transport oxygen throughout the body and calcium helps to keep our bones strong. Minerals are elements, just like those you would see on a chemistry periodic table. They are found in many different foods such as milk, dark leafy greens, and meat.
Water, though it may be simple, is also an essential nutrient. It plays an important role in our body as it helps body stay at the right temperature and flushes out toxins and waste. Most people need around 8 cups of water a day to prevent our body from becoming dehydrated.