Getting The Right Nutrition For Optimum Health

Are you feeling tired, stressed, or apathetic? Did you know these are all common signs of a diet lacking nutritional value? If you are dieting, ill, or eating a fast-food diet, you should you be concerned that you and your family are getting proper nutrition from your food.

- How can you know that you are getting enough nutrition?

If you find that a day goes by and the only thing you’ve had to eat is a bagel and coffee or maybe some fast-food you will no doubt be feeling the physical effects of a lack of nutrition. Lack of mental clarity, weakness and irritability are all signs you haven’t given your body enough good food to eat.

On the other hand, if you or your children indulge in high calorie diets on a regular basis you will notice the effects of over nutrition. Weight gain and related symptoms will also zap your energy and put a strain on your body.

- Under and over nutrition. Finding balance.

Your diet is a crucial element to feeling good, strong and alert. If you’ve been suffering from a diet lacking in nutrition, or an over indulgence in nutrition, you’ll certainly be feeling the effects on your overall health – and even worse – you may be setting yourself up for more serious disease.

You obviously need calories for energy. It is vital to obtain the necessary amount of calories every day to maintain your optimum health. Individuals who do not take in the proper amount of calories because of ill health, physical disability, dieting or problems with absorption, usually begin to loose weight, lack concentration and as time passes they begin to loose the function of organs such as the reproductive system and eventually major functions of the heart and lungs.

A diet too high in calories will also put your health at risk. More common than under nutrition in developed countries like the United States, obesity puts a strain on the organs and increases the risk for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

Knowing what a typical serving size of food is can help you determine if you (or a family member) are taking in the appropriate amount of calories. It is important for parents to teach children moderate eating habits to ensure good eating for life. I cannot stress this point enough!

134 simple, plant based recipes from world renowned fitness expert,
published author and chief training adviser to Men’s Fitness Magazine, Jason Ferruggia.

- How nutritious is your food?

Aside from merely watching caloric intake it is important that your diet has strong nutritional value as well. You could eat an entire box of doughnuts to meet your calorie needs without having met your daily requirements for vitamins, protein, calcium and other minerals.

Choosing a diet that lacks nutrition on a regular basis will lead to a lowered resistance to illness, general weakness, and irritability. Other diet deficiencies, such as a lack of calcium, can lead to more serious disorders like osteoporosis.

While pregnant and/or lactating women, the elderly and ill individuals may have no choice but to to supplement their diet with multi vitamins, the average healthy person should attempt to get most of the nutrition they need in a normal diet that includes fruit, vegetables, protein (meat and lentils), dairy and fibre bread and cereals).

- So what about the occasional burger?

Fast-food in the diet is not harmful if it is only an occasional treat, but may show its negative effects if consumed as a major part of the diet. Educating yourself and your family on what a healthy diet is will help you and your family feel great and enjoy good health for years to come.

134 simple, plant based recipes from world renowned fitness expert,
published author and chief training adviser to Men’s Fitness Magazine, Jason Ferruggia.
Renegade Recipe Guide Jason Ferruggia

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Healthy Eating For Beginners

If you’re currently not eating a healthy diet, it can be difficult to start such a plan. However, healthy eating along with some exercise is very important for maintaining a good bodily function and goes a long way towards living a disease-free life. If you struggle with healthy eating, then you know that breaking unhealthy habits can be the most difficult part of the process. Therefore, if you truly want to live the best lifestyle possible, it is important to follow tips in order to start eating a more healthy diet.

A great first step when you want to start eating your way to a healthy life style is to rid your home of all temptations that will distract you from following better eating habits. Ideally it would be a wise course to keep junk foods and beverages out of your house so as not be tempted to snack during the day. If you’re worried about getting hungry, keep healthy snacks like carrot sticks, yogurt, fresh fruit, or whole-wheat crackers on hand. If you find that you just cannot bear to toss out the sweets, try keeping something tiny on hand, peppermints or barley sugar. Eating a few, (emphasis on few) of these won’t ruin your diet but also will give you that little sugary fix you rave.

Another great step to healthy eating for beginners, when you’re first starting the process, is to take a few moments to learn what foods are the healthiest for you and how they work within the body. To start eating healthily we must begin by thinking healthily. Most people understand that fruits, vegetables, and low-fat meats and dairy products are good for you, but few people understand why. The key is learning about nutrients. When you understand how specific nutrients work and why you need them, it becomes more reasonable for you to make healthier choices for your body. Knowledge really is power!

Preparation is a major key in commencing a new healthy diet. You must take into consideration your schedule for meals. If you often eat in a rushed hurry at odd times of day, you probably more inclined to grab a rushed meal which will probably do more harm than good. So plan ahead! Instead of grabbing a fast food lunch on the go, take a bagged lunch to work, complete with a healthy wrap and some fresh fruit and vegetables. Remember not to forget your evening meal, a simple plan to have a meal ready before you get home would be perfect, but in our fast paced life style, sometimes this just can’t be done. One way to solve this problem is to plan out your evening meals for the week, on your days off. Perhaps just before you do your weekly shopping. Another warning: when going to the shops, do not venture their hungry because if you’re anything like me, one or two chocolate bars won’t hurt! That becomes the first break in your healthy eating.

Initially many will find it very difficult to make those necessary changes to healthier eating. Along with the difficulty of change, you may not feel well for a short period of time. Usually this is normal as your body is adjusting to your new and improved life style and is cleansing itself from the unhealthy toxins built up from poor eating habits. However if this feeling continues or you are worried a visit to your doctor would be the correct thing to do.

Start with baby steps. Even if you only replace one soda a day with a glass of water, you are really improving your calorie intake. If you eat fast food every day for lunch, try replacing that half of the time with better quality foods. When you start by taking small steps you aren’t cutting out all of the foods you love all at once. By taking your time to learn about your eating habits and slowly replacing them with better meals, by taking the time to learn and understand why you should be doing that and making the necessary changes in an orderly fashion, you will feel much better within yourself physically, mentally and emotionally and well on the road to becoming as healthy as you can be.


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Variety Is The Key To A Healthy Diet

It has been said that variety is the spice of life, and that is certainly true when trying to eat a healthy diet. No one likes to eat the same thing day after day, and boredom is the enemy of a healthy diet.

Fortunately for those trying to follow a healthy diet, there is plenty of variety to be had in healthy foods. In addition to the hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables available at the average grocery store, there is a wide variety of beans, lentils, nuts, meat, dairy products, fish and poultry. There is no need for boredom to set in when pursuing a healthier lifestyle.’

The key to enjoying a variety of foods while eating healthy is to plan meals carefully and be sure to use the many varieties of foods that are available. Using a combination of fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and whole grains, it is possible to create a fresh, exciting and healthful meal every day of the week.

Nutritionists often stress the importance of a varied diet, both for nutritional and psychological reasons. A varied diet is essential for good health, since different types of foods contain different types of nutrients. And following a varied diet is important to your psychological well being as well, since feeling deprived of your favorite foods can lead you to give up your healthy lifestyle.

It is much better to continue eating the foods you like, but to eat them in moderation. Instead of giving up that juicy bacon, for instance, have it as an occasional treat, perhaps pairing it with an egg white omelet instead of a plateful of scrambled eggs. As with everything else in life, good nutrition is a tradeoff.

It is important for everyone to eat foods from the five major food groups each and every day. The five food groups identified by the USDA include grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and dairy and meat and beans. Each of these food groups contains specific nutrients, so it is important to eat a combination of these foods to ensure proper levels of nutrition.

Of course simply choosing foods from the five food groups is not enough. After all a meal from the five food groups could include cake, candied yams, avocados, ice cream and bacon. Although all five food groups are represented, no one would try to argue that this is a healthy day’s menu. Choosing the best foods from within each group, and eating the less healthy foods in moderation, is the best way to ensure a healthy and varied diet.

For instance, choosing healthy, lean meats is a great way to get the protein you need without consuming unnecessary fat and calories. And removing fat and skin from chicken is a great way to eliminate extra fat and calories.

When choosing breads and cereals, it is usually best to choose those that carry the whole grain designation. Whole grains, those that have not been overly refined, contain greater nutritional qualities and fewer sugars.

In addition, many grains and cereals are fortified with additional vitamins and minerals. While this vitamin fortification is important, it should be seen as a bonus, not as a substitute for a proper diet. Many foods are supplemented with important nutrients such as calcium (essential for strong bones and teeth) and folic acid (important in preventing birth defects).

Substituting healthier foods for less healthy ones is a cornerstone of a healthy diet. For instance, substituting lean cuts of meat for fattier ones, and substituting skinless chicken or turkey breast for less healthy drumsticks, is a great way to maximize nutrition without sacrificing good taste.

No matter what your reason for following a healthy diet, or what your ultimate fitness goals may be, you will find that a good understanding of nutrition will form the basis of your healthy diet. Understanding how the various food groups work together to form a healthy diet will go a long way toward helping you meet your ultimate fitness goals. Whether your goal is to run a marathon, lose ten pounds or just feel better, knowledge is power, and nutritional knowledge will power your diet for the rest of your life.

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How Nutrition Influences Your Mental Health

Have You Ever Wondered How Nutrition Influences Your Mental Health?  It has been an enduring belief that nutrition plays a significant role in the state of mental health of an individual. But is this true or not?

Recent as well as previous researches have proven that nutrition (or the lack of it) does have effects on how a person’s brain functions, his moods and his behaviors.

Say for example, a person who has skipped a meal is observably weak, out of focus and irritable. This case worsens when extended to a certain period of time when the person becomes severely moody and indifferent to the demands of his environment thus showing decreased speed in reaction time.

These behaviors occur due to the lack of nutrition supply to the brain. The brain requires high energy and nutrient supply. It comprises, in fact, 20% to 30% of all the energy consumption of the body during rest periods. Thus, any change in diet or nutrition level of the body directly reflects in the mental functioning.

Chronic energy deprivation, such as the case of malnourished people, results to the eventual shutting down of the body by decreasing its activities and redirecting all its energy sources towards the systems that require higher energy supply. This results to altered levels of activities, changes in hormonal levels, lessened immune system efficiency and transport of nutrients and oxygen to certain body parts, all of which could directly or indirectly influence mental health. People with extremely low nutrition are more likely to become sad, depressed and emotional as compared with those who have adequate nutrition.

Newborn babies and fetuses are also susceptible to brain damage if they are subjected to lack of necessary nutrition. The type and degree of damage is dependent on the severity of malnutrition. Also, malnutrition among babies has proven to produce low level of intelligence, cognitive defects as well as functional abnormalities.

Protein, carbohydrates, lipids and vitamins all have individual effects on the brain. Lack of supply of these necessary nutrients result to alterations in the activities of the neurotransmitters, a chemical component in the brain that transmit one nerve impulse from one nerve cell to another. Malfunctioning of the transmitters could influence a person’s mood, thinking and even sleep patterns. Additionally, deficient levels of nutrition may result to nerve cell damage that could disrupt cognitive and mental functions.

Neurotransmitters are partly made of amino acids, the building block of protein. Trytophan for example, makes up the neurotransmitter serotonin. If the required amino acid is lacking, the functions of the neurotransmitter could not be executed affecting the normal functioning of the brain. In case of deficient protein consumption and failure to supply the necessary amino acid to make serotonin, the body would experience low mood and perhaps, aggression. On the other hand, diseases that could cause the build up of certain amino acids could lead to brain damage thus affecting the mental health of an individual.

Mood regulation could also be associated with the sufficient intake of dietary fats. Some studies have yielded inconclusive results on the correlation between serotonin level and intake of omega-3 fatty acids, a certain type of fat found only in white fish to stress and symptoms of bipolar disorder (a mood disorder having the representations of both mania and depression).

How Nutrition Influences Your Mental Health….Directly or indirectly, nutrition has an effect on mental health. Changes in the nutritional intake of a person could lead to alterations in the mental health and vice versa.

134 simple, plant based recipes from world renowned fitness expert,
published author and chief training adviser to Men’s Fitness Magazine, Jason Ferruggia.
Renegade Recipe Guide Jason Ferruggia

.........Read more »

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