More About Nutrition

Eating a healthy diet can go a long way but truly understanding what your body needs is its own effort. Good nutrition means good health because a healthy diet will give your body the right amount of energy and raw materials you need to stay healthy. Good nutrition will also provide phyto-chemicals and antioxidants that will help keep you feeling young, looking great, and perhaps even disease-free. However, it can be very difficult, if not impossible to actually get all the nutrition you need by eating food alone. Supplements and power packed snacks can help you get the added vitamins, minerals, and other random elements that your body is craving.

The important thing to keep in mind is the role nutrition plays in your food practice. Ensuring your body has what it needs at a basic level paves the way to reaching your health goals. Mindful Body urges you begin by having a blood test run to truly understand what nutrients your particular body needs. But you can also explore the nutrition practices for those elements you already know you need. Just remember to keep it light and just give a few practices a try - your purpose is to feel better, so don't get overwhelmed, you can refine and build as you get comfortable.

Benefits of Good Nutrition

  1. Good Nutrition Provides Energy: The foods you eat provide the energy your body needs to function. Just like you need to put fuel in your car or recharge your cell phone battery, your body needs to be fed energy-providing foods every day. The main form of energy for your body is carbohydrates.
    1. Your body has the easiest time digesting carbohydrates like sugar and starch. Carbohydrates are broken down into individual glucose, fructose or galactose units. Glucose is your body's favorite form of energy. If you don't get enough carbohydrates, your body can make glucose from protein or fat -- and if you get too many carbohydrates, your body is very good at storing them as fat.
  2. Good Nutrition Provides Raw Materials: Protein in the foods you eat is broken down into individual amino acids. Your body uses the amino acids to build and repair the various parts of your body. Your muscles contain lots of protein, and you need to replenish that protein through your diet. Your body also needs protein for components of your immune system, hormones, nervous system, and organs.
    1. Another raw material your body needs is calcium. Calcium has several functions in your body, but it's best known as the mineral that is stored in your bones and teeth. You need calcium from your diet to keep your bones and teeth strong.
    2. Your body also needs fats to be healthy. Membranes that contain fats surround all the cells of your body. Your brain has fatty acids, and fats are also needed to signal hormones.
  3. The Body's "Little Helpers": Vitamins and minerals you get from your diet are just as important as carbohydrates, protein and fats; however, you only need them in small amounts. Vitamins and minerals usually function as co-enzymes, which means they help chemical reactions in the body happen a lot faster. For example, many of the B complex vitamins help your body burn carbohydrates for energy. Vitamin A is needed for vision, zinc is involved in many metabolic processes, and vitamin C helps keep connective tissue strong and your immune system functioning. Your diet needs to provide adequate amounts of all of these "little helpers." A healthy, balanced diet will provide you with lots of vitamin and minerals. An unhealthy diet may make your body deficient in one or more of these helpers.
  4. Mental and Physical Well Being: Good nutrition provides more than energy, structural components, vitamins and minerals. There are other substances in the foods that you eat that have become better known over the last few years.
    1. Phytochemicals are found in the colorful parts of fruits and vegetables. Although they aren't required for body functioning, they may have a very powerful impact on your health. For example, quercetin (found in red apples) functions like an antihistamine and as an anti-inflammatory effect. Resveratrol, found in grape skins and seeds, is a powerful antioxidant.
    2. Antioxidants help protect your body from damage that comes from the sun, pollution, smoke, and poor dietary choices. They are found in the phytochemicals of fruits and vegetables, as well as some vitamins and amino acids.