What is Nutrition?
To put it very simply, it is the science of how your body uses up the food that you eat. All our bodily functions are reliant on the food that we consume. If we don’t eat right, we shall have some functions slowing down or even failing completely. What this means is that food and dietetics are inextricably linked – you cannot have nourishment in your body if your diet is not right.
So what should you eat?
Food is generally classified according to the kind of substance that it provides. If you watch your regime to make sure that you have the recommended amount from each food group, you will remain in good condition. The most important food group is protein – our cells are made primarily of protein which gets depleted as we burn off energy and has to be replaced. This means that you have to include healthy protein in your dietary plan (white meat, fish and lean beef, nuts, eggs, dairy).
You should also have some carbohydrates which convert into sugar that is used by your muscles for energy. Starch is a modern invention – it is basically processed carbs and that is why recent science advises you to avoid it; it supplies your muscles in peaks and slumps which leads to high energy at once and very low energy soon after.
Vegetables, nuts and fruit are responsible for fiber, vitamins and other nutrients that you don’t get from other foods that you eat. These are vital for different functions, like hormone regulation, digestion and respiration.
A meal that is prepared for good sustenance will offer all these food groups – that is why it is called a balanced diet. Each meal that you eat should have all or at least most of them. If there’s one group that you have ignored for a while, start to include it.
Eating disorders and nutrition
Although most eating disorders are as a result of mental rather than nutritional problems, dietetics plays a large part. Anorexia and bulimia are the most common ones. In anorexia, the sufferer feels that they are fat and simply do not eat enough. The result is that the body will eat into its stored nutriment, and the result is dangerous weight loss.
Bulimia sufferers eat, they just don’t let it get digested because they are afraid that they will gain calories and grow fat. They will satisfy a food craving and then immediately purge. The result is that their bodies do not get the kind of nourishment that is required for well-being.
To correct these eating disorders needs more than just improved subsistence; because they are psychological conditions, therapy is required to help sufferers improve their view of themselves and their bodies.
Can you improve nutrition with the way you cook?
Certainly; there are certain secrets that will help you cook more nutritious meals.
- Use healthy cooking oils.
Almost all hot dish recipes require that you use some oil. Keep away from trans fats and go for monounsaturated and a little polyunsaturated. Animal fats make bad cooking oils except for ghee which is very powerful. If you fry often, look for natural plant oils, like olive oil – it will help your fry-ups become a little healthier.
- Skin chicken
This is important especially if you are trying to lose weight. We eat chicken a lot, and chicken skin has lots of calories so if you want to reduce your calorific intake, this is a great way to do it.
- Use oil spray
When you want something to caramelize, the traditional thing to do is to use a brush and apply some fat. This increases the number of calories that will be in the meal. Instead, use a fat spray – they are available at your local health store.
- Eat your vegetables raw or very lightly cooked
Cooking vegetables destroys the vitamins in them. If you want to eat your vegetables as wholesome as possible, you should eat them raw. Of course there are those that have to be cooked, like broccoli, kales and spinach. Steam them for a short time to remove some of the crunch and serve.
- Swap ingredients
If a sauce requires butter, which is high in calories, is there different oil that you can use for the same taste that butter would give? Can you substitute the mayonnaise in your sandwiches with mustard? Can you prepare healthier breadcrumbs for your chicken recipes? Look at what you are cooking and then try to swap any high calorie ingredients with low calorie ones.
- Grill more than you fry