Back to Basics-Or how to unconfused the confusion about food choices

Posted Aug 7 2012, 12:01 am

We’re so bombarded—daily, as a matter of fact—about what to eat and why that it’s sometimes hard to know what’s in our own best interest. In a nutshell, our bodies need three main building blocks to keep and maintain good health: carbohydrate, fat and protein.

Carbohydrates-Carbs are the gas which make the engine that is our body go. Everything from manufacturing new cells to running a marathon requires the energy carbohydrates provide. The best sources are fresh fruits and veggies as well as whole grains. You also should consider carbs “brain food.” Studies show the brain needs at least 75 grams of carbohydrates each day. Just another reason to forgo any anti-carb diet.

Fats-Fats are crucial for our bodies to be able to absorb nutrients like vitamins A and E, for maintaining healthy hair and skin, for cell function, for padding vital organs and for protecting our bones. The fat component, glycerol, can also be broken down into glucose, another fuel for our “gas tanks.” Of course, we must avoid bad, saturated fats and concentrate instead on good, monounsaturated fats found in nuts, fish, avocado and olive oil.

Proteins-AKA as amino acids, protein is best identified for its muscle building benefits. But protein is also part of organ and tissue cells throughout the body. Proteins keep our immune systems up to snuff and help to manufacture essential hormones and enzymes. Good sources of amine acids include lean cuts of meat, seafood, low-fat dairy products, nuts and legumes.

So how do you know if you’re getting the right balance of carbs, fats and proteins? Generally speaking, your diet should consist of 50 % carbohydrates, 20% proteins, and 30% fats. The percentage pretty much stays constant for either a guy or gal, but your exact amount will depend on your activity level and the total number of calories you consume.

But what about calcium and fiber? Both are needed for good health, right? You betchum. However, neither are considered “building blocks” for the body. If you eat a generous daily portion of fresh fruits/veggies, whole grain and low-fat dairy, you should have an ample supply of both fiber and calcium. But, if you find yourself falling short, over-the-counter dietary supplements are a good alternative to Brussels sprouts and nine-grain bread.

I hope I helped to unconfused some of the confusion about food choices. If not, shout out a question or comment and I’ll do my darnest to answer you. Here’s to good eating and good health!

L.

5 Comments

Comments

5 responses to “Back to Basics-Or how to unconfused the confusion about food choices”

  1. Donnell says:

    Lynda, thank you for the percentages. Awesome information.

  2. Gillian says:

    I think it all gets pretty hard to follow, I like your explanation. We try to emphasize protein a bit more as one of my daughters has that metabolic syndrome and was told protein was important, but I think fruits and vegs remain very important as well.

    • Lynda Bailey says:

      Gillian~

      Yes, the whole eat this not that thing can get very confusing. I’m glad I was able to clarify it a bit for you.

      Take good care of your kiddo and follow her doctor’s advice. Here’s to her good health, and yours!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Diana Sprain says:

    One must also remember that supplements (vitamins, etc.) can only help to a certain point. No pill takes the place of actual food. Always keep in mind that the vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluable verses the other common vitamins (i.e. vitamin C). Fat-soluables aren’t absorbed as easy as other types and need bile to break down. They travel in the bloodstream. The ADEKs are stored in the body. Unlike B or C, which are water-soluables (any excess is quickly released), the ADEKs need to be kept to a manageble level.

    Always tell your doctor about the type, dosage, and frequency of any supplement (including homeopathics & ‘naturals”) you take. Even the so-callde ‘safe’ supplements can have severe interactions with medications.

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