Nutrition is a relatively new science. In early 1800 it was discovered that foods are composed mainly of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and smaller amounts of other elements.
Science interprets nutrients and other substances of food in relation to the maintenance of the health of the human body.
Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, fats/lipids. In 1912 vitamins and minerals were added to the list as micronutrients. Water and air are essential to nutrition and are often not listed.
Remember human beings can survive without food for about 50 days, without water for about 3 to 5 days and without air 30 to 90 seconds!
Ancient wisdom cultures were aware of the relationship between health and food quality, quantity, and source.
“Let thy food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates in 400 BC emphasizes the importance of nutrition to prevent or cure disease.
Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group of doctors in modern times are promoting awareness about the prevention of illness and reverse of chronic conditions by choosing between different food sources: animals, plants, or a mixture of the two.
Our balanced daily food intake is suggested to be the following percentages of the macronutrients: carbohydrates 40 ~ 50 %, proteins 20 ~ 30 % and fats 10 ~ 20 %
The main function of these nutrients are:
- carbohydrates provide energy for body functions
- proteins provide building blocks for the repair of the cells
- fats/lipids provide energy and storage of energy
Vitamin and minerals support the body’s various chemical functions (hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, etc).
A Plant-Based Diet would be that the food choices mostly come from fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and seeds, nuts and oils.
Food groups and their general benefits in relation to health and wellness:
- Fruits are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and beta-carotene.
- Vegetables are packed with carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins, and minerals.
- Grains: bread, pasta, rice, cereals, corn, millet, buckwheat, quinoa. Good source of fiber, complex carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
- Legumes are another name for beans (soy, garbanzo, aduki, etc) peas, lentils.
They provide fiber, complex carbohydrates, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B
- Seeds, nuts, olives, olive oil are fats/lipids and very important to store energy, assist cellular metabolism, absorb vitamin A, D, E, K reduce inflammation, and provide antioxidants.
In each food group there are superstars which are named “Superfoods” and it is a good reason for this nickname! Consume them as often as possible.
Blueberries and cherries are a very good source of antioxidants (combat oxidative stress)
Bananas are magnesium-rich
Apple pectin is a natural detoxifier
Broccoli is high in Vit C, K, folic acid, carotenoids
Leafy greens (chard, kale, spinach) are packed with Vit A, C, K, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, lutein and fiber
Sweet Potatoes provide carotenoids, potassium, Vit C and fiber
Avocados contain all 3 macronutrients and various vitamins and minerals!
Quinoa – has been cultivated for thousands of years in Bolivia, extremely rich in nutrients, and it is gluten-free!
Garbanzo Beans – they are rich in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc
Chia seeds – means strength in the Mayan language. Warrior’s and runner’s favorite food for high energy and endurance. Other benefits are strong bones and muscles, healthy digestive system, anti-aging, healing diabetes, heart-healthy, and reduced oxidative stress.
Flaxseed is a 6000-year-old superfood! Number one source of omega 3 fatty acid. One of the most nutrient rich foods on the planet in the company of chia.
Grind and eat every day!
Walnut is the best brain food for clear thinking and a great memory!
Olives and olive oil are part of the Mediterranean Diet, which is well known about promoting health and longevity.
Consume as much locally and organically grown food to support your local farmers! The following websites have a wide variety of information about health, wellness, vegetarian, and vegan eating habits.