How’s Your Daily Nutrition? While people in some countries did fine for centuries on a few staple foods, we Americans have been forerunners in fatty, fast and indulgent goodies. Take the Orient, for example. Since our burger franchises went to cities like Hong Kong, we’ve been luring the natives away from their rice and fish nutrition; some heart diseases and cancers common in Americans due to meat and fat consumption have found their way to Asians who’ve moved here and those in their own countries’ westernized cities.
Eating our way to poor health
As illustrated in the unexpectedly hit movie “Supersize Me”, we get in trouble with greasy foods, high animal protein and a lack of vegetables, fiber and water. After a 30-day indulgence, the star’s health went straight downhill.
Granted, few people eat fast food all day for 30 days! But it demonstrates the influence television ads carry (especially on children, who watch 10,000 commercials yearly), and how we succumb to unhealthy eating on the run. Two other habits of poor nutrition are common:
- Highly processed foods with lots of additives and little nutrition (boxed cereals, microwavable dinners and breakfast pastry for example).
- Huge portions of food in restaurants with frothy drinks not available at home.
This carries a lot of “weight” in America – pun intended. Obesity has sky-rocketed. 60% of Americans are overweight or obese. Juvenile and Adult Diabetes is on the rise – and although Diabetes is partially genetic and not mostly due to sugary foods, obesity contributes to Diabetes (I threw this in because March 27 is American Diabetes Alert Day!).
On the other hand – some people try losing weight on a diet that eliminates one of the daily nutrition classifications completely, rather than eating in moderation. We need 6 major nutrients:
These facts are pretty well-known, but here are a few nutrition tips that may surprise you:
- Don’t consume liquids during a meal or for 20 minutes before and after! It interferes with digestion, which begins at chewing (digestive enzymes are in saliva). If medication must be taken with meals, wash pills down with as little water as possible.
- Not all carbohydrates are bad for nutrition. There are complex and simple carbohydrates:
- Complex: starches (like potatoes, pasta, bread, beans) – sugars bonded together to form a chain. Digestive enzymes must work harder to break the chain for intestinal absorption. Digestion takes longer, but slow absorption provides more energy and converts less sugar into fat.
- Simple carbohydrates like pastries, cakes, chocolate are considered “empty” nutrition. They are individual sugar molecules which digest and absorb quickly. Rapid absorption increases chances of sugar converting to fat. Some fruits are simple sugars, but are also high in fiber.
- Consumption of soda pop and chicken usurps bone calcium; the effect is cumulative over time.
- After dark green vegetables, beans and lentils, the best food to eat is sweet potatoes or yams. Yes! These yield valuable antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, calcium, protein, fiber and balanced carbohydrates. They’re filling, so a large sweet potato can replace a meat or poultry entrée.