Health Food

What is Health Food?

Generally, health food is a term most people use when referring to food that allows a person to live a more healthful lifestyle. Those who choose to live more healthful lifestyles, are often those who make a concerted effort to incorporated a balanced nutritional diet into their lifestyle, take note of portion sizes, have a daily exercise regimen, and try to follow a daily calorie and nutrient intake. While some still believe that health food solely refers to esoteric alternatives and supplements – and yes, those are a form of health food – health food may often be a common food that is nutritionally balanced, and usually lacking or at least minimizing the amount of additives in the food, such as food dyes, preservatives and sweeteners.

Common myths about health food.

For many years, people have been scared away by health food because of all extreme esoteric side of the health food industry. Not everyone concerned with maintaining a balanced diet, or who enjoys eating more healthfully incorporates periodic colon cleaning into their diet; very few drink beet juice mixed with garlic extract, or any such thing. While, there have been many myths created over the years about people who eat health food, for most people, health food is simply a way to begin and maintain a nutritionally balanced diet. Health food does not have to be foreign in taste, texture or consistency: nor does it have to be bland and boring, nor abrasive and unpleasant. In fact, in terms of prepackaged or prepared health food, the same ingredients are often used for common recipes, the only difference is that organic, additive-free ingredients are used.

Aspects to understanding a balanced diet.

In order to understand what a balanced diet is, one must first understand the types of nutrients contained in different proportions in each food. These are the building blocks of nutrition and they consist of the following elements: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, mineral salts, and fiber. Each type of nutrient serves a different purpose when processed by the body.

The purposes of each nutritional element will be summarized during the next few sentences. Carbohydrates, while the most common, also provide the most important source of energy. Generally, most people consume carbohydrates through their starches – potatoes, rice, pasta, bread and cereals. As a nutritional element, proteins are ingested to aid in the growth and repair of the body. During the digestive process, the proteins ingested through meat, dairy, meat substitutes, cheese, beans and nuts, are broken down into amino acids. Fats are also an energy source, but they are stored just beneath the skin to help insult humans during the cold, and as an energy reserve, in case of emergency. Because they are a reserve, fats are more lasting, but this also make them more difficult for the body to break down. As is the case with most of these nutritional elements, vitamins are also present in all food. However, it must be remembered that the body only needs very small daily amounts of each vitamin to work at its optimal performance. While the body needs larger quantities of mineral salts, they are still needed in small portions. Like vitamins, the right proportion of mineral salts aid the body to work at its best. Finally, fiber is the nutritional element that allows the digestive system to work properly and comfortably; if there is not enough fiber in a person’s diet, they could face problems of the colon and rectum.

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