Concept Essay – Importance of Eating Healthy
When thinking of the concept of “eating right” many people think it simply means consuming tasteless foods and useless fruits and vegetables. But eating healthy is much more than that. Eating healthy means more than consuming the recommended fruits and vegetables, but it also means having a balanced diet that is right for the body; for eating healthy is not one size fits all. By eating healthy, people are able to: supply their bodies with the nutrients needed to grow and develop; reduce their chances of developing chronic illnesses and diseases; and maintain a healthy weight.
Eating healthy provides the human body the nutrients needed to grow and develop. According to Dr. David Tayloe of Parenting Magazine, eating healthy starts in the infancy stage of our lives and continue into adulthood. Dr, Tayloe (2011) outlines the most important nutrients babies need: iron, calcium (helps strengthen our bones), zinc (works to improve our immune system and optimize our cell growth and restoration), and vitamins A (helps our vision), B (enhances our immune and nervous systems, helps improve our skin and muscle tone, and regulates our metabolism), C (improves iron consumption and prevents body from bruising), D (helps with bone growth), E (facilitate cell growth and work to improve our nervous system) and K (helps our blood clot).
The minerals and nutrients that are needed for our bodies are derived from many foods, such as breast milk, baby formula, vegetables, meats, whole grain, fish, eggs, fruits, whole milk, cheddar cheese and fortified cereal. Without the recommended servings of these nutrients, our bodies will not be able to grow and function properly. Making important decisions during meal time is essential to our daily life functions. For example, having a breakfast that is low in fat but rich in healthy nutrients can help improve overall thinking, help us remember more things, stimulate our creative thinking, give us energy and help our overall mental state. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (2013), our food choices each day affect our health — how we feel today, tomorrow, and in the future.
When we do not eat healthy, we are more susceptible to certain health risks.
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition reports the major health risk associated with unhealthy eating habits includes “heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer” (2013). Eating one candy bar does not make a person have bad eating habits; just like eating one serving of broccoli does not make a person a healthy eater. Eating unhealthy foods on a consistent basis is what leads to chronic health problems. In his article, John Phillip (2010) provides a list of food additives that should be avoided.
This list includes artificial sweeteners, Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG, and Trans and hydrogenated fats. Foods that contain artificial sweeteners can lead to diseases such as lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The foods that fall under this list include sugar-free drinks, foods found in bakeries, and even gum. Phillip (2010) reports that these foods can increase brain aging. MSG is found in many foods, as it enhances their flavor.
On many food labels, instead of MSG, the term “natural flavor” will be used; though MSG is not a natural ingredient. High consumption of these foods can lead to depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue and headache. Trans and hydrogenated fats are found in fried foods and commercially baked foods. According to Phillip (2010), these foods can increase the chances of heart attack by 25%.
There are many factors that affect one’s body weight, including stress, genetics and hormones. However, large consumption of foods that are high in calories and fat can lead to obesity as well. When a person eats too much of the wrong food, or foods high in calories, without burning those calories by being physically active, then those calories are stored in our bodies as fat. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, eating the wrong foods has created an obesity epidemic in the United States: “about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese” (2011).
Although exercising is good for combating obesity, making good eating choices can help combat obesity. In addition to watching calories intake, there are several ways eating healthy can be beneficial to combating obesity. For example, eating breakfast daily can provide us with energy to burn the calories that we will intake throughout the day. Eating smaller, low calorie meals throughout the day can combat obesity; instead of eating three really large meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Avoiding drinks that are high in sugar and calories, such as juice and soda can aid in combating obesity. Finally, eating smaller portions can help ward off obesity. By making these few changes in their diet, one can be on the road to eating healthier and becoming a healthier person.
There is an old cliché that says “we are what we eat”. If we eat healthy, then we are healthy; however, if we eat unhealthy, then overall we are unhealthy. If we eat foods high in fat, cholesterol, calories we will find ourselves at risk for developing diseases that are linked to those eating choices. Getting on the road to healthy eating can be as simple as cutting back on all the junk we eat that is high in salts, fats and sugars. It is important that we make good food choices so that we may live happier and healthier lives.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011). . U.S. Obesity Trends. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html Phillip, J. (2010) Top food additives you really need to avoid. Healthy Lifestyles. Retrieved from http://technorati.com/lifestyle/article/top-food-additives-you-really-need002F President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. (2013). Eat healthy. Retrieved from http://www.fitness.gov/eat-healthy/why-is-it-important/ Tayloe, D, M.D. (2011). The 5 nutrients all babies need. Parenting. Retrieved from http://www.parenting.com/article/the-5-nutrients-all-babies-need#comments
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