Quality beats quantity when it comes to nutrition
We eat food for two main reasons – energy and nutrients.
Taste, happiness and the social aspect of food are also important factors, but they are secondary to our health.
Most of us understand the important role of calories and macronutrients in determining our appearance. No wonder these aspects of nutrition are given the most attention.
It is also important to consider how the food we eat affects our internal environment. Nutrients – vitamins, minerals, enzymes, essential fatty acids and fibre – present in food can affect our health.
For optimal health, it is important to receive the right amount and combination of essential micronutrients because it controls many important biological processes and bodily functions, including:
- Muscle, tissue and cell repair mechanisms
- Hormone production
- Our immune response
MORE BANG PER GRAM
The best way to get the nutrients your body needs without additional calories is to eat natural nutritious foods as often as possible. In addition, there should be a variety of raw vegetables and fruits with a focus on so-called superfoods.
Nutritional density is a measure of the ratio of nutrient content (in grams) to total energy content (in kilocalories or joules). Nutritious foods have higher nutritional levels relative to the number of calories present in the food.
Buying nutritious food will give you a lot of nutrients per gram. This means you can eat fewer calories and still get all the nutrition your body needs – you lose weight, improve your fitness and enjoy more vitality!
In general, living raw foods are the richest source of micronutrients and enzymes.
While this is not always the case, natural foods often have better nutrient densities because they contain more vitamins, minerals, fibre and water than processed, ready-made and fast food, which provides more calories but small amounts of nutrients.
A nutritious diet should therefore consist of an abundance of colourful plant foods that provide many healthy phytochemicals. Other nutritious foods include salmon, tuna, trout, oatmeal, soy, legumes and beans, which provide many sources of important amino acids.
Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese are also a valuable source of protein and nutrients, including vitamin D and calcium. And skimmed and low-fat milk, yoghurt and cottage cheese have fewer calories per gram than energy-rich products.
And whole grains usually retain more nutrients, fibre and protein than more processed varieties. Whole grains also have little effect on blood sugar levels, promoting fullness, healthy digestion and sustainable energy levels. Examples of nutritious whole-grain foods with low energy density include 100% whole-grain bread, steel or rolled oats, quinoa, cherries, and long-grain brown and wild rice.
Originally published on Dis-Chem Living Fit.