About Nutrition, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

Living a healthy life involves making many choices. Choosing a balanced diet and healthy eating plan are the key to successful nutrition.  Nutrition can affect the body’s ability to conduct itself and manage the risk of disease. Eating unhealthy foods occasionally is not likely to cause major health problems. However, constant poor diet can lead to many health problems. A healthy eating plan helps one to manage weight. A healthy plan must include a variety of foods. There are so many fad diets that promise immediate results, but to maintain a healthy life there must be a lifestyle change. These are changes that one can live with. Along with proper nutrition, one must include adequate exercise. Several nutritional contributions can cause bodily ailments; some chronic ailments can eventually lead to death.  Obesity in is set on by lack of physical activity to burn off calories a body takes in. Excess calories can come from sugar, starches, and or fat. Obesity is an epidemic in most parts of the world today. Obese individuals have an increased amount of atherosclerotic lesions.  Early on scientists have linked diet and heart disease. They have found that people who eat diets that consist of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, and olive oils are less likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke. Almost a third of the population suffers from hypertension. The regulation of sodium intake is the key to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.  Poor nutrition can impede the daily health and wellbeing on an individual which can lead to health issues and death.

Malnutrition

Malnutrition is one of the major contributors of illness, disease, and early death. 925 million people around the world were undernourished in 2010. Malnutrition can lead to low birth rates, growth stunting, anemia, and blindness.  For example, “Approximately 171 million children around the world are stunted, 13 million children are born prematurely and 2 billion people do not receive enough of the essential vitamins and minerals vital to immune system health. Furthermore, a staggering 10% of the global burden of disease can be attributed to maternal and child under nutrition.” People suffering from malnutrition are at risk of contracting infectious diseases. Receiving proper nutrients is essential to boosting ones immune system.  This is very important to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. According to, McGill HC Jr, Geer JC, & Strong JP, “If all mothers were to have enough nutrients to successfully breastfeed their children, then 20% of deaths in children less than 5 years of age could be avoided. Individuals who grow up with sufficient levels of vitamins and nutrients are able to be more productive in society and are more able to create opportunities to break cycles of poverty, hunger and disease.”(McGill HC Jr, Geer JC, & Strong JP, 1963).

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women around the world. Nonetheless, it can be prevented through healthy diet. According to McGill HC Jr, Geer JC, & Strong JP, 1963, “Weight control and regular exercise are critical for keeping your heart in shape—but the food you eat may matter just as much. A heart-healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke by 80%.” Understanding which foods are best to eat and the proper way to prepare them can produce a healthy heart. By eating properly, one can prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, and other diseases that are linked to obesity and improper diet. By doing this, one can live a longer life.  Walsh adds, “Of all the possible improvements you can make to your diet, limiting saturated fats and cutting out Trans fats entirely is perhaps the most important.”  (Walsh, 2011). Being label savvy is important when trying to eat better. Check the labels on any prepared foods. Sometimes even foods labeled low fat or reduced fat may still contain

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is low in saturated and Trans fats, but high in fiber. One must limit salt intake and fill up on fiber. Healthy diets consist of fish that contain Omega-3 fatty acids.  High intake of saturated and Trans fat can cause one’s cholesterol levels to go up. An ideal fat cap on meals would be between 25 and 35 percent per meal. The saturated fat level should be about 7 percent a day. Foods that are heart healthy are a must. Salmon, olive oil, and avocados, and nuts are good sources of nutrients. The average healthy adult should only intake about 1500 mg of salt per day. Too much salt can lead to hypertension, heart disease, and kidney stones. A good way to watch ones sodium intake is to substitute low-sodium versions of one’s favorite dishes and seasonings. Fiber plays a significant role in a healthy diet. 25 to35 grams of fiber a day is sufficient. Adequate fiber can lower one’s risk of diabetes. Fiber is found in items such as: beans, oats, flaxseed, and some fruits. Diets that contain plenty of fiber can also reduce blood pressure, and inflammation.  Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. It is recommended that one eats at least five fruits and vegetable a day.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best. Steer clear of fried fruits or fruits and vegetables that have added sugar or sauces. (American Heart Association Nutrition Committee)

Mental

There are so many reasons why a person eats what he/she eats .The foods one chose can be driven by physical, psychological, and social factors. Advertisements can influence what a person eats. Cost, availability, habit, and values can also influence the types of food people eat. Cultural and social factors also influence how much and what types of food a person eats. Some people suffer from emotional eating. They eat to make a situation better. People dealing with emotional eating tend to have greater weight gains. Emotional stress like dealing with a break up, loss of job or loved one, and financial stress can cause people to want to escape realty.  Eating out of habit is just another form of emotional eating. Some people feel they must eat three times a day at the same time. The availability of foods will affect the choices a person makes about eating. For example, a person working in a hospital will probably make better food choices than a person working in a fast food restaurant. The best way to have success in eating habits is to pack one’s own snacks and lunch when the availability of healthy foods is not available.  For example, “Advertising can influence what foods you choose by the media persuading you to consume foods that you may not regularly consume. Availability influences you because they are present in the environment and are assessable to you. Cost is a large influence because you purchase what is in your financial means.” (Sizer & Whitney, 2011)  Some psychological factors can cause one to seek comfort foods- foods that contain high amounts of salt, sugar. Ice cream, candy, and fast foods are good examples of comfort foods.  Because eating the proper diet requires a lifestyle change, it can prove difficult for the average person. According to, “Changing one’s diet to include healthier food choices can be challenging, especially for young people. It can take months or even years. Encouraging, celebrating and modeling these behaviors as well as teaching adolescents how to make quick, tasty, healthy foods could be quite beneficial especially as they transition into adulthood.” (Walsh, 2011).

Proper Diet Controls Disease

Following a health diet is important because it will help a person prevent loss of muscle strength, bone, and vitamin deficiencies. It also helps in the prevention of hear attacks, strokes, obesity, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. Finally, it can help control or even treat chronic diseases and conditions such as blood pressure, diabetes, and celiac disease. The body requires many different carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamins to work properly. However, over using any of them can be detrimental to the organs.  Obesity and heart attacks are two of the major diseases that can be controlled with proper diet and exercise. Obesity is commonly caused by eating more calories than one’s body uses. Obesity, in turn, can cause heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, high blood pressure, and many other diseases that could be prevented with proper diet. To loose weight and maintain a healthy weight, one needs to eat lower energy foods. Likewise, one should eat less high energy foods. These foods often have high cholesterol and saturated fat content. Along with proper diet and exercise, there are several other things a person can do to help maintain a healthy body. One, it is imperative to check one’s weight regularly. The scale will keep one alert to any weight gains or loss. It is recommended to see one’s health care provider if there is a drastic change in weight. Being too thin is just as serious as being overweight. A well nourished body can better fight infections. Also, well nourished bodies respond to treatment better than under nourished bodies.  Another important aspect is fluid intake. The body is two thirds water, so it is imperative that a body is hydrated. A common goal for many people is between 6-8 glasses of water a day. (American Heart Association Nutrition Committee).This should not be done at one time, but rather spread throughout the day. A good way to do this is by filling a pitcher with water every day and making sure you empty it by the day’s end. Yet another aspect of healthy living is timing one’s meals. Eat several small meals a day instead of two or three large meals.  Being too full can affect one’s breathing. Over an extended period of time, this can affect the function of the diaphragm.

2010 Dietary Guide

According to the 2010 Dietary Guide, eating and physical activity patterns that are comprised of consuming fewer calories, making better food choices, and being physically active can help people attain and maintain a healthy weight and reduce their risk of disease.  They also noted that people who are successful in maintaining healthy weights are living healthy lifestyles. Americans are consuming too much sodium, calories, solid fats, and sugars. A healthy eating plan should limit the consumption of these. For example, “Poor diet and physical inactivity are the most impor­tant factors contributing to an epidemic of overweight and obesity in this country. The most recent data indicate that 72 percent of men and 64 percent of women are overweight or obese, with about one-third of adults being obese.”(American Heart Association Nutrition Committee).  According to the report, men, women, and children in America consume too much sodium, solid fats, and sugars.  This is so because many people do not include a variety of foods in their diets.  There are three reasons why Americans should consume more fruits and vegetables.  First, foods that contain folate, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K are under consumed by Americans. Second, the consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with reduction in chronic diseases. Third, fruits and vegetables that are prepared without added sugars are low in calories.

Conclusion

A large number of Americans do not eat a variety of foods that can provide the body with the needed nutrients without excessive calories. People seeking health y diets should increase the number of fruits and vegetables they eat each day. Food choices can be determined by many factors from advertisements to financial means of the consumer. Maintaining a healthy diet can lower the prevalence of developing certain disease. Hydration is also very important in maintaining a healthy body. Drinking water is the best way to ensure hydration; sugary and carbonated drinks should be avoided.  Because learning to eat healthy is a life style change, it cannot be done overnight.  Fad diets may produce desired bodily outcomes, but true health begins on the inside. Healthy diets ensure that all of the body’s organs are working properly. Likewise, this produces a better quality of life.

References

American Heart Association Nutrition Committee: Lichtenstein AH, Appel LJ, Brands M, Carnetho M, Daniels S, et al. Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. Circulation . 2006; 114(1):82-96.

McGill HC Jr, Geer JC, Strong JP. Natural history of human atherosclerotic lesions. In: Sandler M, Bourne growth hormone (GH), eds. Atherosclerosis and Its Origin. New York: Academic Press, 1963: 39–65.

Sizer, F. & Whitney, E. (2011). Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies (12th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Walsh, R. (2011). Lifestyle and mental health. American Psychologist, 66, 579-592.

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