A healthy diet provides the body with essential nutrition. The requirements for a healthy diet can be met from a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods from all food groups to feel good and maintain your health. Nutritious foods nourish your body and give you energy to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
The seven major classes of nutrients are:
These nutrient classes can be categorized as either macronutrients (needed in relatively large amounts) or micronutrients (needed in smaller quantities). The macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, fiber, proteins, and water. The micronutrients are minerals and vitamins.
The macronutrients (excluding fiber and water) provide structural material (amino acids from which proteins are built, and lipids from which cell membranes and some signaling molecules are built), and energy.
Molecules of carbohydrates and fats consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Carbohydrates range from simple monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose) to complex polysaccharides (starch). Some fatty acids, but not all, are essential in the diet: they cannot be synthesized in the body. Protein molecules contain nitrogen atoms in addition to carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. The fundamental components of protein are nitrogen-containing amino acids, some of which are essential in the sense that humans cannot make them internally. Most microorganisms and plants can biosynthesize all 20 standard amino acids, while humans and animals must obtain some of the amino acids from the diet.
Most foods contain a mix of some or all of the nutrient classes, together with other substances. Some nutrients can be stored internally (e.g., the fat-soluble vitamins), while others are required more or less continuously.
Ten Funny Diet Tips
- Don’t take diet tips too seriously.
- Eat healthy and exercise: one minute of exercising adds one minute to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5000 per month.
- Wear black. Black, really, makes everyone look thinner.
- Stand next to a person fatter than you whenever possible.
- Eat naked and standing in front of a mirror.
- Eat those little things called appetizers until you lose your appetite.
- Always eat your dessert first because life is unsure.
- Get a tan: a ruddy complexion helps you look thinner.
- Always be optimistic: if you have flabby thighs, be happy that your tummy covers them.
- Laugh every day: one minute of laughter kills 1,000 calories
For all age groups, males need to consume higher amounts of macronutrients than females. In general, intakes increase with age until the second or third decade of life.
A properly balanced diet (in addition to exercise) is also thought to be important for lowering health risks. A poor diet may have an injurious impact on health, causing deficiency diseases such as blindness, anemia, scurvy, preterm birth, stillbirth and cretinism; health-threatening conditions like obesity and metabolic syndrome; and such common chronic systemic diseases as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. A poor diet can cause the stunting of marasmus in chronic cases of malnutrition.
Poor health can be caused by a lack of required nutrients or, in extreme cases, too much of a required nutrient. For example, both salt and water (both absolutely required) will cause illness or even death in too large amounts.
Healthy eating starts at the grocery store. It’s easy to make nutritious meals and snacks when your kitchen is stocked with healthier ingredients.
Eating healthy meals can be easy even when you’re busy. All you need is a good plan. Spend a few minutes each week to plan your meals and snacks. This will help get meals on the table faster and save time and money.
Funny sayings about food
- American special: double cheeseburgers, large fries and a DIET coke.
- A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat (Old New York Proverb)
- More diets start in dress shops than in doctors’ offices.
- Side effect of healthy food: its high price really makes you sick.
- The four main food groups: fast, frozen, junk and instant.
- Q: Why do Mexicans eat beans for dinner? A: So they can take bubble baths.
- The best thing you can say about gravy is that is has no bones.
History of Dietary Therapy
The idea of dietary therapy is rooted in Chinese understandings of the effects of food on the human organism.
Food therapy has long been a common approach to health among Chinese people. It was the prescientific analog of modern medical nutrition therapy; that is, it was a state-of-the-art version of dietary therapy before the sciences of biology and chemistry allowed the discovery of present physiological knowledge.
A number of ancient Chinese cookbooks describe the effect of individual food items on human body. The earliest extant Chinese dietary text is a chapter of Sun Simiao’s Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Gold, which was completed in the 650s during the Tang dynasty. Sun’s work contains the earliest known use of the term “food therapy”. Sun stated that he wanted to present current knowledge about food so that people would first turn to food rather than drugs when suffering from a disorder. His chapter contains 154 entries divided into four sections – on fruits, vegetables, cereals, and meat – in which Sun explains the properties of individual foodstuffs.
Food items are classified as “heating” or “cooling”. Heating food is typically “high-calorie, subjected to high heat in cooking, spicy or bitter, or ‘hot’ in color (red, orange)”, and includes red meat, innards, baked and deep-fried goods, and alcohol. They are to be avoided in the summer and can be used to treat “cold” illnesses like excessive pallor, watery feces, fatigue, chills, and low body temperature caused by a number of possible causes, including anemia. Green vegetables are the most typical cooling food, which is “low-calorie, watery, soothing or sour in taste, or ‘cool’ in color (whitish, green)”. They are recommended for “hot” conditions: rashes, dryness or redness of skin, heartburns, and other “symptoms similar to those of a burn”, but also sore throat, swollen gums, and constipation.
Your health is your responsibility!
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