it comes to food, more is never better, with one exception; more variety.
Variety is the single best advice that can be followed for healthy eating.
And there is plenty to choose from. There is no such thing as the single
best diet or a special ingredient that fixes problems. There are hundreds
of healthy ways of eating, one meal at a time, and within the caloric
limits of one's life style. Variety makes sure that one gets all the amino
acids, all the vitamins, and all the minerals needed to stay healthy;
without counting them. It is important to note that during growth, illness,
and for weight control sensible adjustments of one's diet may be necessary
and some of us have to avoid certain foods due to allergy and intolerance.
This section provides information
about macronutrients, their calories and the nutritional role of
proteins, carbohydrates, & fats. How is
the energy contained in these nutrients converted into movement
and growth? What other important roles do these nutrients play,
and how do they work together?
Micronutrients are non-caloric
essential elements like vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty
acids. Essential nutrients are all those, which our body cannot
synthesize on its own. Some micronutrients are non-essential, such
as cholesterol and mono-unsaturated fatty acids. If the latter are
not part of the diet, our liver will make them from scratch.
Dietary supplements usually
contain vitamins and minerals, but also non-essential elements from
plants (phytochemicals) such as antioxidants, fibers, probiotics
and prebiotics. What is the role of each of these elements? Can
they be combined? Is it better to use supplements or get essential
nutrients from whole foods?
Additions to our diets
of nutrients and components that provide health benefits beyond
a natural diet are called nutraceuticals or functional foods. They
are usually phytochemicals or products of microbial systems that
are not necessary for a healthy life style, but can improve the
physiological performance of the body. In order to have such a stimulating
effect, they need to be extracted and/or enriched from plant or
Genes and Food
Our genes affect how our
body processes our food and we also know more about how certain
nutrients influence our genes for better or for worse. The latter
is a novel science known as nutrigenomics and is based on the observation
that each one of us is genetically a tiny bit different.