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Updated on December 14, 2011

Introduction To Nutrition

Proper nutrition is absolutely paramount in the vitality of life. A properly nourished body is better equipped to fight off illness. The problem we face is that we fall for too many things that are supposed to properly nourish us and forget that everything the body needs is found in nature and not in our chemical processing. Our society has attempted to redefine nutrition by heavily processing it to the point where the body has absolutely no use for it.

Consider this, in some places people eat dirt or clay and most of us would cringe at the idea of eating these things. The sad part is the fact that the people eating dirt are probably getting better nutrition than we get from eating fast food.

I'm not saying that everyone should quit eating fast food and start eating the dirt on the ground, but at the same time I wouldn't recommend letting Burger King become your kitchen. Now don't think this is a Hub all about why you shouldn't eat fast food, because I have to give some of these places credit for offering healthier choices and the grocery store is probably more to blame than the fast food industry for our lack of nutrition.

There are 6 nutrients the body needs to survive. The nutrients that the body needs are water, which is the most important nutrient, I'll quote a song in saying "If you got no water how you gonna survive". The other nutrients are carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

Most people don't get the amount of nutrients they need or get them from poor sources. Here's an example, if you were going to get a used car, you'd want something reliable, with quality, you wouldn't spend the same amount on a car with smoke spewing out of the engine. In the same sense grilled chicken breast is going to have much more quality protein than a fried chicken patty.

To break it down, the following is a list of good sources of each nutrient:

1. Water:

The best source for water is water, but since bottled water is expensive and is usually just glorified tap water, I would recommend a water filter if your faucet water isn't good. Water can also be obtained from fruits and vegetables as well as 100% juice, when it comes to fruit, pretty much if it is juicy, it’s a good source of water (at least in my opinion).

2. Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates can be either simple (easily broken down in the body) or complex (slowly broken down by the body). The best source of simple carbohydrates would be fruit and I put apples and berries at the top of that list. For complex carbohydrates the best ones are from grains (e.g. long grain rice), bran (e.g. bran cereal), and oats (e.g. oatmeal).

3. Fats:

When most people think of fat, they think of what they want to keep out of the diet, but fat is a necessary part of daily living and is used by the body as an energy source when you're not eating. The best fat sources are from omega-3, which can come from fish such as salmon and tuna, or nuts such as almonds and walnuts. Stay away from hydrogenated/trans-fats at all cost, these are harmful not beneficial

4. Protein:

Protein is highly important in the growth of body tissues, such as muscle. Many people who frequent the gym know they need protein to build muscle, but instead of getting the proper amount, they incorporate high doses of protein powders and end up with too much protein, which the body then converts to fat. The best protein sources are from nuts (e.g. almonds), beans (e.g. black beans), and at the top of the list meat such as fish, chicken, and steak.

5. Vitamins:

Vitamins are essential for normal body function. Many people believe vitamins provide energy, but since they contain no calories, they don’t supply energy. Vitamins work to help the body utilize the energy which is supplied in our food. There are fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and there are water soluble ones (C and 8 B vitamins). Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body and can be harmful if too many are taken. Water soluble vitamins are needed in greater amounts because they are not stored in the body. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamins

6. Minerals:

This is in my opinion the most complicated of all the necessary nutrients because there are so many, they are obtained from various sources, and are needed in varying amounts. To start, the minerals needed in the greatest amount are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulfur. The rest of the minerals are needed in small amounts and are as follows: iodine, iron, zinc, selenium, fluoride, chromium, copper, manganese, molybdenum, boron, cobalt, nickel, and silicon. See, I told you there were a lot. Minerals are necessary for proper muscle contraction, cardiovascular function, and protein usage. Calcium is usually the most common when it comes to people not getting enough; the best source comes from milk. A balanced diet of meat fruits and vegetables usually helps one get the necessary minerals he or she needs.

Clearly there is more to be said about the 6 essential nutrients than what I have just listed, but I just wanted to touch on each one for now. For more information, please feel free to follow my Hubs as I will be posting more about fitness and nutrition in hopes of giving vital information to many others.

As always,

Thank you for reading and please leave feedback in the comments section


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