Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Currently, the relationship between nutrition and the development of major chronic non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular and some oncological diseases, which are the leading cause of premature mortality in the world and in Canada, has been scientifically proven.
The diet of a modern person is extremely unbalanced. Our diet lacks plant and animal proteins, useful dietary fiber, micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), but there is an excess of fats, especially animal fats, cholesterol, sucrose. At the same time, the daily diet is often high in calories. An unbalanced diet contributes to overweight and obesity, which are risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases.
Nutrition is the process of consuming food, as a result of which the body receives from the products the substances necessary for vital activity, receive chemical energy.
Nutritional science is the science of nutrition. Nutrients are compounds in foods essential to life and health, providing us with energy, the building blocks for repair and growth, and substances necessary to regulate chemical processes. They are divided into macro and micronutrients. Basic nutritional components: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, water.
The content of vitamins and microelements plays a huge role in human nutrition. Vitamin translated from Latin means “minimum life” (“vita” – life, “min” – minimum “).
Vitamins that a person needs are divided into fat-soluble: A (retinol), D (colecalciferol), E (tocopherol), K (phylloquinone) and water-soluble: C (ascorbic acid) and 8 vitamins combined into group B: B1 (thiamine) , B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cobalamin). Water-soluble vitamins are excreted by the kidneys, while fat-soluble vitamins are deposited in the liver and adipose tissue.
Vitamins are not burned in the body as fuel, but they contribute to the most important chemical reactions that support life.
The body is not able to synthesize them on its own in sufficient quantities, so it gets them from food. In contrast to synthesized ones, the vitamins that enter our body with food are the most useful. Their lack leads to a weakening of immunity, the appearance of various diseases, metabolic disorders, excessive obesity, and premature aging. But it should be said that the body does not need a lot of vitamins! The body takes vitamins from our ration. Take additional vitamins in pills only if they are deficient! An excess of them works well against cancer cells.
B group vitamins contribute to the regulation of metabolism, have a beneficial effect in the treatment of skin diseases, strengthen the respiratory system, restore peripheral nerve endings, and prevent aging. Their overdose can lead to allergic reactions, increased heart rate, nervous excitement.
Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, prevents blood clots, participates in the synthesis of collagen, thyroxine (thyroid hormone). Its large amount is found in citrus fruits and berries. Lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy, a disorder of the nervous system, that shows itself in irritability and insomnia, and premature formation of wrinkles.
If we talk about fat-soluble vitamins, then vitamin A supports the function of vision, skin, participates in the synthesis of proteins, is responsible for human growth and reproductive function. Due to its lack, cracks (seizures) form in the corners of the lips, skin problems appears – redness, cracks on the hands.
Vitamin D participates in the exchange of calcium, phosphorus is responsible for growth, emotions, and prevents the development of osteoporosis. It is formed in the body with the participation of sunlight. Therefore, it is recommended to walk and spend more time outside!
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin K takes part in the blood clotting process, its deficiency leads to hemorrhages.
Let’s don’t forget about water. It is an important nutritional component that is often overlooked and accounts for up to 60% of body weight. This is a kind of “broth” in which all chemical reactions take place. Water is responsible for the water and electrolyte balance in the body. If the water amount decreases drastically, then the reaction rate slows down and dehydration occurs. It is recommended to drink 8 glasses of pure water daily. Drinks (tea, coffee, juice) are not included in this rate.
Sodium is found in table salt, soda, glutamate. Various cuts, sausages, canned food contain excess salt. The more sodium we consume, the higher our blood pressure. Calcium is our bones, prevention of rickets, osteoporosis. For persons under 50 years old, the norm of calcium is 1000 mg per day, after 50 years – 1200 mg. With hypertension, it is necessary to increase the potassium content in food. Iron affects the health of the heart, nervous system, skin, stomach, hair, nails. Without iron, muscle problems can arise as they contract weakly. It is known that the heart, all the sphincters of the hollow organs are muscles. Iron deficiency also causes anemia.
It should be said about the non-nutritive components of food, of which there are more than 4 thousand (pectins, indoles, probiotics, etc.). All of them are important for our body, we can get them only with food.
What is the conclusion? Our food should be varied and balanced, rich in vegetables and fruits, whole grains, dietary fiber. Most vegetables and fruits are high in nutrients, low in calories, and high in fiber.
Consequently, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits meets the body’s needs for macro-and micronutrients, fibers without a significant increase in the total calorie content of the daily diet. A diet high in fruits and vegetables has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve other risk factors. In long-term studies, when people received such a diet, there was a decrease in the risk of developing cardiovascular complications, in particular, stroke.
A variety of vegetables and fruits of bright colors are recommended. Spinach, carrots, peaches, berries are especially recommended as they contain more phytonutrients (lycopene, folate) than other vegetables and fruits such as potatoes and corn. Fruit juice, unlike whole fruits, does not contain enough fiber, therefore it is not recommended for use in large quantities. Especially important is the way food is cooked to preserve nutrients and fiber without adding excess calories, saturated and trans fats, sugar, and salt.
A diet that is high in whole grains and fiber is associated with improved nutritional quality and, as a result, decreased cardiovascular risk.
Consumption of fish is very important, especially fatty varieties such as salmon, herring, river trout, sturgeon, anchovy, sardine. These fish varieties are rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated acids. Eating fatty fish twice a week has been associated with a reduction in both the risk of sudden death and death from coronary heart disease in adults. As for the method of cooking fish, it should exclude the addition of saturated, trans fatty acids, as well as sauces, and margarine.
In the end, we will share with you 10 foods that slow down aging: avocados, green vegetables, berries (half a cup a day), nuts (10 kernels a day), whole grain and wholemeal foods, ginger, watermelon, legumes (chickpeas, beans, beans) and water. Garlic is a champion anti-cancer, anti-atherosclerosis, and anti-thrombotic product (1 clove per day).
Stay healthy and eat well!