Nutrition Basics

Eating Food For Pleasure, Health and Energy

 The key to eating well is to enjoy a variety of nutritious foods. The key to everything is enjoy your food. No matter what you eat if you do not enjoy it, you get less value for anything you put in your body.


Grains or Carbohydrates food group is composed of two subgroups: whole grains and refined grains. The best way to maximize the body’s potential for energy is to eat a combination of complex and simple carbohydrates. Carbohydrates include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals, is often the largest category in nutrition guides

  • Complex carbohydrates Whole grains and their products, including brown rice, quinoa, oats, muesli and whole-wheat pasta, potatoes, squash, pumpkin, and carrots and celery. Complex carbohydrates are slow burning, should make up about a third of the carbohydrates we eat. The  USDA recommends that at least half of the grains you consume should come from whole-grain sources.

  • In the body, fiber helps the carbohydrates from grains and other food are converted into glucose and sustain blood sugars levels. The body then keeps more energy longer, sugar circulates the blood until the hormone insulin directs energy-hungry cells to absorb it. The nutrients in grains can help maintain a healthy weight, blood sugar, blood pressure and triglyceride level due to the abundance of fiber and minerals.

  • Grains are a significant source of iron, which is needed to transport oxygen through your blood. Grains also contain a high amount of folate, which prevents neural-tube defects during pregnancy.

  • Many processed carbohydrates, such as white rice, white bread, and pasta, contain little or no fiber, resulting in expending energy at a rapid rate. Most refined grains have been enriched, however, and are high in B vitamins and iron.

  • Simple carbohydrates are a faster burn, such as those found in fruits, vegetables, sugar and honey. They can provide an immediate source of energy.

Vegetables and Fruit and occasionally inclusive of Legumes. This large category second only to grains.  Vegetables and fruits are full of minerals.


  • The vegetable food group includes an array of fresh vegetables and vegetable products, including frozen, canned and dried vegetables, as well as 100 percent vegetable juice. The main group is divided into subgroups composed of nutritionally similar foods, including dark green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, starchy vegetables, other vegetables and beans and peas. The purpose of these subgroups is to promote eating a wide variety of vegetables.

  • Vegetables contain antioxidants such as beta-carotene and lycopene, which strengthen your immune system against disease. They also contain minerals and vitamins such as potassium and vitamin K. Potassium can help manage blood pressure and heart health while vitamin K helps your blood clot when you are hurt.

  • Due to their low-calorie and high-fiber content, vegetables can create a sense of fullness while you are trying to lose or maintain body weight.


  • Fruit includes apples, oranges, bananas, berries, lemons and including dried, frozen and canned fruit, and 100 percent fruit juice.

  • Fruits are simple carbohydrates, like sugar, dairy, refined grains, and starches.

  • Fruits- berries and melons, tend to be particularly nutrient-dense.Vitamin A and vitamin C are antioxidants in fruits that can enhance your immune system and protect you against heart disease and cancers. Vitamin A is also important for regulating and improving your eyesight.



  • Dairy includes milk and dairy foods-Cheese, milk, butter, yogurt and cheese. Dairy is typically a very small category in nutrition guides.  All types of yogurt, most cheeses and all liquid milk products are part of the dairy group, as are calcium-rich milk-based desserts such as ice cream and pudding.

  • The USDA counts calcium-fortified soy milk as part of the dairy group, it does not include cream cheese, cream and butter, because they’re not significant sources of calcium.

  • The main nutrients provided by dairy are calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D are responsible for strengthening your bones and teeth. Calcium also aids in weight loss and reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

  • *The categorization of dairy as a food group with recommended daily servings has been criticized by, for example, the Harvard School of Public Health. The HSPH points out that “research has shown little benefit, and considerable potential for harm, of such high dairy intakes. Moderate consumption of milk or other dairy products—one to two servings a day—is fine, and likely has some benefits for children. But it’s not essential for adults, for a host of reasons.


  • Protein is essential for processing your body’s daily regulating functions and is also the building block for your muscles and bones and your immune system. It also helps your body grow and repair itself.  It is also one of the most abundant sources of B vitamins, which form your red blood cells, maintain your nervous system. Protein helps regulate the release of energy power from carbs. Protein maintains cells, assists in growth, transports hormones and vitamins, and preserves lean muscle mass. Muscles and many hormones are made up of protein. You need proteins for

  • Protein sources include meat, legumes, eggs, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, soy products and beans and peas sometimes dairy make up the protein food group. When you eat these types of foods, your body breaks down the protein that they contain into amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Some amino acids are essential, which means that you need to get them from your diet, and others are nonessential, which means that your body can make them.

Fats and Oils:

  • Fats and oils are essential elements in all diets.   They make foods feel and taste rich and satisfying. They signal stomach that enough food has been eaten. You find them in dairy products, red meats, some poultry and fish, eggs and nuts.

  • The types of fats are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, or saturated.

  • Monounsaturated These fats tend to lower the levels of certain types of cholesterol in the blood and raise others. They lower levels of serum cholesterol and reducing the development of atherosclerosis. Nuts, and olives and the oils made from those foods  are monounsaturated.

  •  Polyunsaturated- Oils made from corn, safflower, and canola and other vegetable . oils do not have the same benefits as monounsaturated fats.

  • Vegetable oils are  used to make shortening and margarine in a process known as hydrogenation, which changes the overall structure of the fat.

  • Saturated fat- These fats are found in animal foods including, butter, meat fats, bacon, chicken skin and eggs. also coconut and palm oils. Saturated fats have been linked to increase levels of serum cholesterol and increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.


  • Water is treated in very different ways by different food guides. Water is the center or foundation of the food guide it is a non caloric essential nutrient. Two-thirds of your body is made up of water. Without water, you will die in  a few days.

  • The water helps control body temperature through sweat, moves food through the intestines, and greases the joints. It’s also an essential ingredient in the production of energy molecules. Water is sometimes categorized with tea, fruit juices, vegetable juice and even soup and is typically recommended in plentiful amounts.

  • Dehydration is one of the leading causes of a lack of energy. If you’re not well hydrated, your body puts its resources into maintaining your water balance instead of into giving you energy.Make sure you stay hydrated in general by drinking six to eight glasses of fluid a day, preferably water, milk or fruit juice. Frozen juice bars or icy treats are also a good idea.

  • Water is especially important after exercise, with certain medicines, and with a high-fiber diet.


 Everyone, no matter the age, needs to be physically active every day to promote improved general health, healthy growth and development. At least 60 minutes of physical activity every day ranging between moderately intense to vigorous intensity activity is recommended dependent upon the age.

Exercise guidelines

Everyone can benefit from regular exercise. When you are active will:

  • Learn new skills while having fun

  • Build confidence, improve self-esteem and memory

  • Better focus and concentration.

  • Strengthen the heart, muscles and bones and lungs and arteries, improve the immune system, possibly lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.

  • Have a healthier weight range because exercise helps control body fat.

  • Release tension, manage stress, and improve the ability to sleep and to relax.

  • Decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

  • Have a better posture, and balance.

The Three Elements of Fitness

  1. Endurance

    Endurance or aerobic activities for both adults and kids involves continuous movement of the large muscle groups- increase heart rate, causing you breathe hard and fast, to quicken your heart rate, and make you work up a sweat. You won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath. Aerobic exercise, when done regularly and for extended periods of time, strengthens the heart and improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells. Aerobic exercise can also help to lower blood pressure. These activities are fun and that is the key, they don’t have to be competitive.

  1. Strength

Improving muscle strength helps everyone build stronger muscles but doesn’t have to mean lifting weights. Adequate muscular strength allows you to be stronger without excessive stress on joints and muscles.  Activities that build strength promote strong bones, muscles and good posture, improve the ability to lift and maneuver objects and obstacles and enhance healthy growth and development. This strength also helps agility to prevent many accidents from falls and sprains.

 3. Flexibility

Stretching exercises help improve flexibility, allowing muscles and joints to bend and, stretch and strengthen the bones. Adequate flexibility allows you to participate in daily activities without pain or restriction from their muscles or joints. Being flexible promotes good posture, reduces muscle stiffness and soreness, increases relaxation and minimizes risk of injury. Bone-strengthening activities produce an impact or tension force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength.

Please share or comment on this post.