How Nutrition Improves Your Health and Well-Being
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Written by: Sabrina Sourjah
Date Updated: 8/11/2021
Reviewed by: Patrick D. Randolph, Ph.D.
Nutrition and eating right is one of the best ways to take care of yourself.
Your body is a magical machine that generates energy for your day-to-day activities and heals from wounds and diseases. It is only right that you give your body what it needs to perform at its best.
Although munching on a bag of potato wedges or onion rings may seem like a great idea after a long day at work, it can leave you groggy and unmotivated. You may even feel guilty afterward because you’re well aware of the adverse impacts of fast food.
Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.
Definition of Nutrition
Nutrition is defined as “the process of taking in food and using it for growth, metabolism, and repair.” The right nutrition fuels us and impacts how we face each day.
What Are the 7 Elements of Nutrition?
The seven elements of nutrition are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water. It is crucial to consume these elements daily to keep our bodies healthy.
A diet with all these components is called a Balanced Diet and includes fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and a source of protein. On the other hand, unhealthy foods are refined grains, excessive sugar or salt, alcohol, trans fats, processed red meat, and highly processed food.
Types of Nutrients
There are two types of nutrients: macronutrients and micronutrients. As the names imply, macronutrients are required in large quantities, while micronutrients are required only in smaller quantities.
The main macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and micronutrients are vitamins, folic acid, calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, zinc, and water.
Nutrition and Health
1. Overall Health
The Center for Science in the Public Interest links 4 of the top 10 leading causes of death to diet and nutrition in the US. These causes are heart disease, cancer, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Nutrition can also help manage weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
2. Surgery Outcomes
There is a close connection between what you eat and your recovery after surgery. Certain foods like berries, eggs, probiotics, bright-colored fruits, whole grain, water, lean meat, dark leafy greens, and healthy fats are generally recommended for faster healing. It is also recommended to avoid red meat and processed sugar and go with omega-3 fatty acids found in deep water cold fish such as salmon. You can confirm your diet with your doctor to ensure no interference with specific diseases or conditions.
3. Mental Health
Researchers have found that low levels of nutrients such as folate, iron, zinc, vitamins, and magnesium are connected to mood disorders, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, food like dark chocolate, fatty fish, bananas, fermented food, oats, berries, nuts, coffee, and beans are known as mood boosters.
Scientists confirm that nutrition can increase lifespan. A diet that consists of whole grains, vegetables, nuts, and coffee can improve your longevity. The study also states that consumption of excessive red meat and processed meat can shorten your lifespan.
5. Life Satisfaction
A study of older adults in Norway has found that adults with healthy food patterns have more satisfaction with life when compared to adults with unhealthy eating habits.
Another study found that “better diet quality and more frequent family meals seem to be related to higher levels of satisfaction with life and family life in parents.”
One of the easiest ways to maintain your health is to keep track of what you eat. You can work with a nutritionist to design a diet that’s best for your needs, age, and health conditions.
If you are using food as a distraction or coping mechanism, please work with a mental health professional on exploring your underlying causes.