Nutrition is a study of nutrients in food, how the body uses them and the it affects our health and the disease development. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is vital for good health and well-being. Our body needs a wide variety of different foods to provide the right amount of nutrients so we have enough energy, protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals to live, grow and function properly.
Gaining weight results from eating more energy than we expend which is a very simplified explanation. However, calories obtained from different types of foods affect our body differently and there are many other factors which can cause our weight gain. A calorie is a measure of how much energy food or drink contains. Every calorie is utilised differently depending on whether it comes from carbohydrates, proteins of fats. Each macronutrient requires different amount of energy to digest and metabolise the nutrient. In addition, proteins and healthy fats keep you fuller across a longer period of time because they promote more stable blood glucose levels. Recommended daily calorie intake is around 2,000 Kcal for women and 2,500 Kcal for men, however these values also depend on age, metabolism and levels of physical activity.
Eating a healthy, varied diet does not mean that you need to buy the most expensive foods. By planning your meals, make a grocery list and shop wisely you can cut down on expenses and eat healthy, cheap and delicious foods. Food labels provide a lot of useful information about what foods and drinks contain. Using the food labels can help you make healthier choices, for example by choosing foods and drinks that are lower in fat and saturated fat, lower in sugar, lower in salt and lower in calories.
Nutrition and physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight, but healthy nutrition can result in greater benefits than just a healthy weight. Diet and nutrition play an important role in the development of various chronic diseases and disabilities which are the major causes of death, such as: coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, atherosclerosis, obesity, cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. In addition, it improves the overall well-being, ability to recover from illness or injury and increase energy levels.