While it may not seem like it, awareness of nutrition is nothing new. According to one Biblical account, about 2,500 years ago Daniel was captured by the King of Babylon and made to serve in the King’s court. Daniel protested against being fed fine foods and wine, saying he preferred vegetables, pulses (legumes) and water. The chief warden reluctantly agreed to a test, comparing Daniel’s preferences to those of the court of the King. The results revealed Daniel and his men were healthier and fitter than the other prisoners and they were allowed to carry on with their diet. The vegetarian diet still has its followers today, of course.
According to Health Guidance.org, nutrition is the sum total of the processes involved in the taking in and the utilization of food substances by which growth, repair and maintenance of the body are accomplished.
Using that definition, nutrition is then present in all processes of life, from the very moment of conception, through fetal development in the uterus, to birth, human growth, maturity, old age, and eventual death. And even after death the human body serves as nutrition for other organisms. So, anything that involves life and chemical or biochemical movement has nutrition at its core.
Nutrition also has another focus: how diseases, conditions and problems can be prevented or lessened with a healthy diet. Today, nutritionists, dieticians, doctors and all healthcare professionals are all involved in nutrition.
So what food substances should we be taking in? Here’s what the World Health Organization recommends as a healthy diet.
- Fruits, vegetables, legumes (lentils, beans), nuts and whole grains such as unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat, brown rice.
- At least 400 g (5 portions) of fruits and vegetables a day. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots are not classified as fruits or vegetables.
- Less than 10% of total energy intake from free sugars which is equivalent to 50 g, or around 12 level teaspoons, for a person of healthy body weight consuming approximately 2000 calories per day, but ideally less than 5% of total energy intake for additional health benefits. Most free sugars are added to foods or drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and can also be found in sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
- Less than 30% of total energy intake from fats. Unsaturated fats found in fish, avocado, nuts, sunflower, canola and olive oils are preferable to saturated fats found in fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee and lard. Industrial trans fats found in processed food, fast food, snack food, fried food, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines and spreads are not part of a healthy diet.
- Less than 5 g of iodized salt (equivalent to approximately 1 teaspoon) per day.
Why not challenge yourself to a more nutritious lifestyle this month. Check out the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines, designed to help Americans eat a healthier diet. You’ll be glad you did!
The folks at Freedom Insurance care about your health and want to help you maintain a nutritious diet. Leave a comment and let us know what foods you eat to maintain your health.