Diet for Good Nutrition

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Choosing a diet for good nutrition comes down to learning a few basic principles. An understanding of the basics of carbohydrates, fats and protein will help create healthy eating habits for a lifetime, and effectively establish a foundation for good nutrition. Once you grasp the principles of good nutrition, maintaining a healthy diet becomes easier.

  1. Carbohydrates

    • Carbohydrates, or "carbs," have been targeted with many diets in the past several years. Rather than eliminating carbs altogether, knowing the right carbs to choose can help you develop a healthy diet. Carbohydrates are your body's fuel--they provide the energy your body needs to function. When developing a diet for good nutrition, it's important to understand that there are "good" carbs and "bad" carbs. Good carbs come from whole-grain sources and tend to be higher in fiber because all their nutritional content is still intact. Bad carbs are all of the "white" bread, pasta and rice products that have been stripped of their nutritional value through the milling and refining process. It's more important to focus on what carbs you're eating than how much.

    Fats

    • Fats are essential to many bodily functions and it's important not to cut fat out of your diet. Like carbs, there is a difference between good and bad fats. Good fats are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated and come from sources like olive oil, canola oil and nuts. These fats can actually provide heart-healthy benefits. Bad fats are saturated fats and trans fats, and these can lead to health concerns. Make sure the majority of your fats are coming from healthy oils and nuts, instead of butter, cream and fatty meats.

    Protein

    • Protein is important because it is the building block of muscle in your body and the more muscle you have, the more fat you're able to burn. Most of your protein intake should come from lean meat sources like fish and poultry or low-fat dairy, whole grains and nuts. For the average person, make sure you're getting at least 60 to 80 grams of protein each day.

    Healthy-Eating Pyramid

    • Following the healthy-eating pyramid guidelines is a great way to stay on track with your diet. Choose 5 to 7 servings of vegetables and fruits each day, 3 to 4 servings of lean meat and dairy products, 2 to 3 servings of whole grains and two servings of healthy fats each day. Also, drink 8 to 12 cups of water a day.

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