Food is Fuel: Why it Matters What You Put into Your Body
September 16, 2020
Beyond being heavily associated with weight loss management, our food choices play a crucial role in our emotional stability, energy levels, and physical health. This is why healthy eating is so important.
In order to achieve a healthy lifestyle, we must reshape our relationship with food by making choices that will nourish our bodies. Here are a few important things you need to know about healthy eating and why it matters to you and your body:
There is a strong misconception about how weight loss isn’t achievable without lots of exercises and some form of starvation. Unfortunately, these misconceptions are neither truthful and/or can jeopardize your health. In contrast to these unhealthy habits, wholesome diets focus on maintaining long-term, optimal health — including a healthy weight — by choosing to nourish your body with nutritious whole foods.
How do I start a wholesome diet?
To commit to a sustainable healthy diet, as well as understanding how healthy eating works, we must first learn the nutritional value of food.
Food’s nutritional value breaks down into two main factors: Micronutrients and Macronutrients.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that can only be obtained through food or supplements because they are not produced in our bodies. While our bodies only require small amounts of micronutrients, its deficiency can lead to severe health repercussions.
Micronutrients provide many benefits to our bodies, such as:
- Generate energy
- Build and protect bones
- Regulate blood pressure
- Contribute to cell production and communication
- Influence muscle and tissue growth
- Regulate blood sugar
- Aid in motor and cognitive development
Essential micronutrients that contribute to a healthy immune system include:
- Iron: Found in dark green leafy vegetables, potatoes, cashews, beets.
- Iodine: Found in cod, seaweed, tuna, dairy products, shrimp.
- Folate: Found in dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, lentils.
- Zinc: Found in oysters, beans, nuts, whole grains.
- Magnesium: Sources include green leafy vegetables, chickpeas, beans, salmon, tuna.
- Vitamin B.: Found in whole grains, eggs, dairy products, avocados.
- Vitamin E.: Found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds.
Macronutrients are the fats, protein, and carbohydrates that we need to consume in large quantities to reach the optimal development of our bodies.
Some benefits that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats provide to our bodies are:
- Prevent heart disease
- Regulate blood pressure
- Boost your immune system
- Provide energy
- Enhance nervous system functions
- Improve organ function
Healthy fats are necessary for our bodies to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, E, K, and D. Some healthy foods that are rich in fats include avocados, dark chocolate, oils (olive, avocado, flaxseed), as well as nuts and nut butters, cheese, and eggs.
Our bodies need protein to perform certain functions such as:
- Build and repair tissues (such as bones, cartilage, muscles, skin, and blood)
- Make hormones, antibodies, and enzymes
The amount of protein that your body requires depends on your age, gender, and activity levels.
Protein can be found in both plant and animal sources. Some protein rich foods include the following:
- Lean meat (chicken, pork, turkey)
- Dairy products (cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, milk)
- Seafood (salmon, tuna)
- Seeds and nuts
- Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas)
Carbohydrates are just as essential to our bodies as they are our main source of energy. Additionally, carbs help prevent stomach or intestinal problems due to being rich in fiber.
There are two types of carbohydrates: refined and unrefined. However, only unrefined carbohydrates provide the nutrients and fiber your body needs.
Foods rich in unrefined carbohydrates include:
- Whole Grains (whole-wheat bread, oats, whole-wheat pasta)
- Vegetables (carrots, potatoes, broccoli)
- Fruits (apples, bananas, oranges, berries)
- Legumes (black beans, lentils, peas)
Let Z.E.N. do all of the work for you
With Z.E.N. Foods, you are able to receive your wholesome meals in the comfort of your home. We collaborate with our in-house nutritionists to build a healthy and delicious meal plan, designed specifically to you. Reach out to us with any questions or concerns, and let’s get you back to your healthiest and happiest self!