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The Essence of Nutritional Health

The Essence of Nutritional Health

  • May 19, 2022

It is a fact that the basics of healthy eating are well documented in academic textbooks, scientific journals and government literature. However, this basic knowledge has not yet been conveyed to the general public in an understandable and comprehensive format that would enable individuals to make informed decisions to change their eating habits and lifestyle. Despite the vast amount of information available, there is a huge knowledge gap among those who need to know.

Advice on diet and health is often incomplete or biased, leaving people confused or unsure of how to put the concept of healthy eating into practice. Understanding such a message is only one side of the story; putting it into daily practice is another matter. Over the years I’ve come to realize that while people are familiar with general healthy eating messages like “eat less fat and more fiber,” people don’t have a clear understanding of what makes up a healthy diet. One of the many reasons these healthy eating messages remain simply messages is that they are preached everywhere and by everyone. For example, filling a shopping cart with fat-free or low-fat products does not guarantee freedom from disease and chronic degenerative diseases unless the overall diet is balanced.

While people are busy achieving life goals and developing their careers, the insidious process of narrowing and hardening of the arteries can take place. This is particularly likely in individuals who are inactive and/or care little about their diet. Diet-related diseases, now referred to as noncommunicable diseases, are very different from infectious diseases; They take a long time to become known and by the time they are diagnosed it may be too late to undo the damage. Surprisingly, most obesity-related diseases, including coronary artery disease and diabetes, are often only recognized when a nonfatal heart attack or angina occurs, or when people are in the hospital for other reasons, including annual checkups. An interesting point is that most of these health problems could have been avoided if some time had been invested in evaluating and maintaining nutritional health before they became a reality. Means of assessing nutritional status, such as cholesterol and blood sugar tests, should be sought by everyone.

Today there is great interest in the relationship between diet and health and increasing efforts are being made to improve the health of the nation. Of particular concern are fat, sugar, salt, fiber and calcium, but the science of nutrition is much broader. The main objective of this article is to inform and shed light on the main components of food and how to achieve a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet. This is not only for the purpose of losing weight, but also for achieving and maintaining good health. This article is for those who are “health conscious” and therefore want to appreciate the role of diet in overall health. It goes beyond the brief and often incomplete message of “eat less fat” and “high-fiber diets” to uncover the practicality of starting fresh and eating healthily.

Only in the last two centuries, with the advent of nutritional science, has it become possible to accurately quantify the content of optimal nutrition for maintaining health. Food provides energy and nourishment for survival and enjoyment. Too little food can make you ill, but too much of it can also be harmful to your health. Therefore, it is important to find the right balance between the amount and type of food we eat.

Recent decades have also brought notable changes in eating habits and eating habits. There is now a huge range of affordable groceries available all year round. But the fact that it’s easier to get quality food doesn’t always guarantee a healthier choice. Indeed, the bewildering array of foods available may make it difficult for some people to select the components of what is considered a healthy and balanced diet. As a result, the prevalence of the so-called diseases of affluence has increased drastically, particularly in Western society, although developing countries are now following the same trend. Many common health problems such as obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes, arthritis, and various forms of cancer (endometrial, breast, and colon) are either directly or indirectly linked to diet.

The fast-paced world around us seems to have left us no time for food preparation, and the allocation of specific times for meals is rare. Despite the flood of information about nutrition and health, people are becoming fatter and unfit. Such a trend could be caused by the availability of a wide range of ready meals in both supermarkets and takeaways. In addition, this type of food is often promoted through heavy advertising in all types of media. The modern kitchen is well equipped with all sorts of appliances (food processors, microwaves, etc.) and such appliances make food preparation a simple, quick, easy and certainly more enjoyable task compared to a few decades ago. But cooking is fast becoming one of our last priorities and the younger generation seems to have forgotten how to cook.

I believe that understanding the basic principles of nutrition and the impact of food and its nutrients on health will equip individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to choose, prepare and consume better food and lead the way to a healthier life and pave a better quality of life. Also important is people’s willingness to change their eating habits and lifestyle to reap the health benefits of food.

The way in which the adequacy of a diet can be assessed is part of nutritional science. Knowing their principles is therefore important, especially for those who plan and provide meals. Before proceeding further, it is necessary to define the sources of energy in the diet.

Thanks to Asma B Omer

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