What is healthy nutrition? If you're trying to find out and feel completely confused about all the different answers you are getting, here is help.
What Is Healthy Nutrition? It's Simple!Depending on whom you ask, you get to hear healthy nutrition is eating low carb, low fat, Caveman, organic, vegetarian, vegan, unprocessed and many more. Most of these come with a labyrinth of instructions that require very careful planning.But in reality, healthy eating doesn't need an advanced degree in nutrition. It's simply a style of nutrition that does two things:
- deliver all necessary nutrients to your body in the right amounts, while
- keeping your body weight in a healthy range
The Big And Awesome MacronutrientsThe biggest group of nutrients in human nutrition are the so-called "macronutrients" (as in the opposite of "micro") fat, carbohydrates and protein:
- Fat is your body's fuel reserve and energy source for low maintenance tasks. Whenever you eat more calories than you burn, your body stores the excess as fat, which it will use in time of need (when you eat fewer calories than you burn). As it can form fat itself, the body's need for dietary fat is low, with the only exception being the so-called "essential fatty acids" - a form of fat the body can't produce itself.
- Carbohydrates are the fastest energy source available to the human body. They fuel activities where you need a lot of energy at once (heavy weightlifting, fast running etc.) and are the primary energy source for the brain, central nervous system and heart. They consist of chains of different types of sugars and depending on the length of that chain are then called simple or complex carbohydrates.
- Proteins are molecules that form muscles, bones, cartilage, skin and blood, build antibodies that defend against infections and a lot more. They consist of even smaller molecules called "amino acids," of which there are 20 different kinds. Of these, the body can build 11 by itself, the other 9 (called "essential" amino acids) have to come from the food you eat. A food that delivers all nine essential amino acids is a "complete" protein source.
The Tiny And Sleek MicronutrientsIn the other group we find the "micronutrients," vitamins and minerals. The body needs them as well, but in smaller quantities:
- Vitamins are organic compounds which the human body mostly can't build itself, and are divided into two sub-groups: fat-soluble (A, D, E, K) and water-soluble (B and C). They play a crucial role in many of the body's mechanisms, among them cell growth (vitamin A) and building red blood cells (vitamin E).
- Minerals are chemical elements that like the vitamins above take part in a lot of processes within the human body. Calcium, for example, helps build bones, while potassium and sodium lend a in transmitting nerve impulses. The minerals are either in the sub-group "major," of which the body needs comparatively higher amounts (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine and magnesium), or "minor" ( iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, molybdenum, iodine and selenium).
How Much You Need Of EachFor the macronutrients, the rule of thumb is to go for a 50/30/10 ratio, meaning
- 50% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates
- 30% from fat
- 10% from protein