YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
DID YOU KNOW?
Every 28 days your skin replaces itself. Your liver, 5 months. Your bones, 10 years. Your body makes these new cells from the food you eat. If you nourish your body with the right ‘fuel’, it will perform better.
Eat a Variety of Foods
Foods contain combinations of nutrients and other healthful substances. No single food can supply all nutrients in the amounts you need. For example, oranges provide vitamin C but no vitamin B12; cheese provides vitamin B12 but no vitamin C. To make sure you get all of the nutrients and other substances needed for health, choose the recommended number of daily servings from each of the five major food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans.
Vegetarian Diets and Nutritional Requirements
Some Americans eat vegetarian diets for reasons of culture, belief, or health. Most vegetarians eat milk products and eggs, and as a group, these lacto-ovo-vegetarians enjoy excellent health. You can get enough protein from a vegetarian diet as long as the variety and amounts of foods consumed are adequate. Meat, fish, and poultry are major contributors of iron, zinc, and B vitamins in most American diets, and vegetarians should pay special attention to getting these nutrients from vegetarian sources.
Vegans eat only food of plant origin. Because animal products are the only sources of vitamin B12, vegans must supplement their diets with a source of this vitamin. In addition, vegan diets, particularly those of children, require care to ensure adequacy of vitamin D and calcium, which most Americans obtain from milk products.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
It is important for people of all ages to maintain a healthy weight. People who are overweight increase their risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, breathing problems, and other illnesses. To maintain a healthy body weight, people must balance the amount of calories in the foods and drinks they consume with the amount of calories the body uses. Physical activity is an important way to use food energy. Extreme thinness is also unhealthy. People who eat very little or diet excessively may not get the calories and other nutrients they need for good health.
Aerobic exercise, such as walking, running, swimming, inline skating, and playing soccer, burns fat and calories. Try to do 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity on most—preferably all—days of the week.
Avoid Too Much Sugar
Sugars are simple carbohydrates. Dietary carbohydrates also include starch and fiber, which are complex carbohydrates. During digestion, all carbohydrates except fiber break down into sugars. Sugars and starches occur naturally in many foods that supply other nutrients. Examples of these foods include milk, fruits, some vegetables, bread, cereals, beans, and grains. Some sugars are used as natural preservatives, thickeners, and baking aids in food. The body cannot tell the difference between naturally occurring and added sugars because they are identical chemically.
Because maintaining a nutritious diet and a healthy weight is very important, sugars should be used in moderation by most healthy people and sparingly by people with low-calorie needs.