What are some ways that people can help heal the planet through their food choices?
Proper nutrition is vital to the overall health and wellness of humans. Good nutrition and dietary choices play a core role in the prevention, control and treatment of numerous diseases that affect man as well as significantly contribute to the improvement of the quality of life. The paper aims at determining the various strategies and techniques that can get applied in promoting good health through dietary choices. The research paper also develops a suitable action plan for promoting healthy eating practices and dietary choices so as to enhance human fitness and health. A well-balanced diet that supplies all the required nutrients to the body comprises of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamin and water intake. However, some dietary issues such as excess alcohol consumption, heavy smoking, high sugar intake and fats should get avoided so as to reduce and prevent different diseases. The action plan developed in this paper is adequate and appropriate for good health maintenance, longer living and illness prevention, control, and treatment.
Proper nutrition is vital to the overall health and wellness of humans. Proper nutrition entails the consumption of foods that supply the required nutrients to the body for healthy food functioning that includes normal tissue growth, repair, and maintenance. The food choices should also provide enough substrates to produce the energy necessary for daily activity such as work, physical activity, and relaxation. Different foods have different nutrients and provide varying benefits to the body for persons of different age groups. The most common nutrients required by the human body are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates get classified as fuel nutrients since they supply the body with energy (measured in calories), whereas vitamins, minerals and water get classified as regulatory nutrients since they do not have caloric value but are necessary to the human body.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of calories that the body uses to provide energy for work, maintain cells as well as produce heat. Carbohydrates are critical in the brain, muscle, and nervous system function and assist in the regulation of fat and metabolize protein. Each gram of carbohydrates supplies the body with four calories. The major food sources of carbohydrates are cereals, fruits, vegetables, milk, bread and other daily products. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole-grain cereals provide the human body with fiber that is essential in minimizing the risk for diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and other disorders such as constipation, respiratory diseases, infections, and obesity.
Proteins are the main nutrients that the body utilizes in building and repairing tissues such as blood, muscles, internal organs, hair, skin, nails, and bones. Proteins form a part of the hormone, antibody and enzyme molecules. Enzymes provided by proteins are crucial in all body processes as they ensure normal body functioning. Proteins also assist in the maintenance of the normal balance of body fluids and a source of energy. The main foods that supply proteins to the body include milk, eggs, meat and meat alternatives and other daily products. Excess proteins in the body get converted to glucose or fat or even excreted in the urine.
Fats are the second source of body energy and also supply essential fatty acids necessary for proper growth in children. Other functions of fats in the body include maintenance of body temperature, promoting healthy skin, cushioning organs, assist in the regulation of metabolism of cholesterol in the body and also assisting in carrying fat-soluble vitamins throughout the body (Robertson, 2015). The major sources of fat in the body are red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk products, corn, canola, palm, olive, coconut oils, and safflower, and in children, they include grain desserts, pizza, and regular cheese. However, care should be taken when consuming fats since saturated fats contribute to high blood pressure.
Vitamins play an essential role in normal body metabolism, growth, and development. Vitamins get grouped into two that is fat soluble and water soluble. Vitamins A get produced from betacarotene obtained from carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes, Vitamin D is found in certain foods and sun, and vitamin K gets created in the body by intestinal bacteria.
Most minerals have an essential role in the body functioning such as maintenance of water balance and the acid-base balance. Minerals are also vital components of respiratory pigments, enzymes, and enzyme systems, and they regulate muscular and nervous tissue impulses, blood clotting and normal heart rhythm. Minerals also constitute the inorganic substances that get contained in all cells, especially those in hard parts. Some of the mineral necessary for the body are calcium, potassium, iron, sodium and selenium. Calcium deficiency in the body may lead to osteoporosis; iron is crucial in oxygen transport, brain development and enhancing the immune system and selenium can exert chemoprevention cancer functions at supranutritional levels (Insel, Ross & McMahon, 2013). Iron can get provided from sources such as beef, oysters, clams, liver and legumes. Natural sources of selenium include the weathering of selenium-containing rocks and soils.
Water is a very significant nutrient since it gets involved in almost every critical body process that includes digesting and absorbing food, generation of energy, regulation of body heat, in the circulatory process, removal of waste products, building and rebuilding of body cells and transportation of other nutrients. In men, it is estimated that the percentage of water in total body weight is about 61 percent, and in women the proportion of water in total body weight is 56 percent.
Nutrition is a crucial component of the healthcare and wellness of infants, children, youth, adults and the elderly. Infants grow rapidly and have high requirements for protein, energy, and other vital nutrients that are higher per unit of body weight than at any other time in childhood, making them vulnerable to dietary deficiencies and growth failure. Breast milk is a protective component during the initial year of life and beyond since it can adequately provide food energy and protein and also enhance the immune system and protect the body against various infections. The diet choices of toddlers also contribute to increasing or decreasing obesity and overweight, dental caries, serum cholesterol, and blood pressure of children in later life. Children and youth are in a period of development and growth and also increased physical activity thus have high nutrient requirements for energy and protein. Adolescence involves various emotional, physical, biologic, social and educational transitions hence characterized by weight concerns, eating disorders, alcohol abuse, and other poor diet choices. Poor nutrition in adults has a negative impact on their health status and consequently the mental and physical performance. The elderly in the society have a reduced physical activity lifestyle, however, are susceptible to health problems thus require proper nutrition to lessen the risk of getting ill. Good nutrition and diet play a core role in the prevention, control and treatment of numerous diseases that affect man as well as significantly contribute to the improvement of the quality of life.
One of the severe health problems that can get managed using proper dietary choices is the risk of chronic diseases such as overweight and obesity, stroke some types of cancer and diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and hypertension, chronic respiratory diseases, etc. Overweight and obesity get attributed to excess weight created by the energy imbalance. The amount of energy consumed through foods (calories) gets metabolized and expended through the body’s work such as involuntary body actions such as breathing and also voluntary actions such as physical exercise. When more energy gets taken in that is put out, it leads to an imbalance, and the excess energy gets stored as body fat. Obesity and overweight highly affect the health of children and enhances the risk of adult morbidity and mortality. Children who are overweight or obese have high levels of lipids or blood cholesterol and also high blood pressure. Obesity and overweight are a serious public health concern in the United States with over 12 million children and adolescents being obese and over 24 million being overweight (Robertson, 2015). Overweight and obesity is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. Excess weight, high sodium intake and a low intake of potassium can lead to high blood pressure. Hypertension is a serious health concern since it causes the heart and blood vessels to overwork and result to stroke, heart failure and damage to the eyes and other organs over time. A suitable way of improving the risk factors for cardiovascular illnesses and hypertension is proper nutrition and diet. In Children the fat intake should contain between 25 and 35 percent of their total daily calories, saturated fats should be below 10 percent of total calories depending on child’s age, and sodium intake should be decreased. For children below two years, they should be given low-fat or nonfat dairy products such as milk. Children should also eat diets that have higher carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, and grain products. Promoting health eating habits by consumption of a well-balanced selection of foods can lower in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Maintaining a healthy weight, intake of healthy foods, and regular physical exercises reduce the risk of hypertension for most of the adults (Dunford & Doyle, 2011).
Another function of proper nutrition is improving the immune system of the elderly in the society. The consumption of foods that are adequate in both quality and quantity is crucial in maintaining good health in humans and also may influence the development of diseases linked directly or indirectly to the immune system such as cancer, infections, and cardiovascular diseases. The administration of sufficient amounts of antioxidants in the diet choices, and also physical and mental activity improve the functions of the immune cells, decreasing their oxidative and inflammatory stress and eventually increasing human lifespan (Rahman & Bagchi, 2013).
The consumption of excess sugars has severe adverse consequences to human health and wellness. Dietary intake of excess sugars includes in foods such as cakes, biscuits, ice-creams, jams and other sweetened foods and beverages. High-sugar intake is associated with weight gain since they have high energy content (17 kilojoules of energy per gram). Excessive sugar consumption also leads to poor dental hygiene hence contributing to tooth decay and elevated blood glucose levels. Excess sugar consumption also gets attributed to suppressed immune system, upset of the body’s mineral balance, production of an acidic stomach, increased risk of host diseases such as diabetes, and also depression and fatigue.
Other lifestyle behaviors and dietary choices such as excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking also contribute significantly to health issues and reduced overall health. Excessive consumption of alcohol has detrimental impacts to the heath of a person since it leads to increased risk of liver disease, stroke, and hypertension, some cancers and long-term effects such as dementia and memory loss. Excess alcohol drinking also enhances some behaviors such as violent behavior; drunk driving that may lead to accidents and suicide. Tobacco smoke contains a myriad of chemical compounds such as nicotine, thiocyanate, carbon monoxide, tar, and 3-hydroxypyridine. Hence, heavy smoking has numerous adverse impacts such as increased risk of coronary heart diseases, respiratory health problems, some cancers and can lower thyroid-stimulating hormone levels. According to Detels, Gulliford, Karim & Tan (2015), in the West the combined effect of tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption gets attributed to 80 per cent of the cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx. Alcohol drinking in pregnant women gets associated with healthcare complications such as premature placental separation antepartum bleeding, alcoholic ketoacidosis, anemia, titanic uterine contractions and amniotic fluid bacterial infections. Smoking in pregnant women results in increased risk of low birth weight and prematurity and increased pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.
The safety, environmental conditions, handling of foodstuffs and quality of foods and beverages taken is also an essential element to the health and wellbeing of a person. Poor environmental conditions, inadequate sanitation, and poor kitchen hygiene can result in health issues such as food poisoning. These concerns can get eliminated through hygienic practices such as proper kitchen hygiene, proper storage of foodstuff, washing of vegetables and fruits before consumption, washing of hands before handling foodstuffs and food hygienic legislation.
If these numerous diseases associated with what we consume were prevented, controlled and treated, there would be a significant impact on the health of the world. Most of the cases of health problems would be reduced or eliminated. It is, therefore, necessary that individuals, policy makers, and governments formulate proper strategies and interventions to manage diseases associated with wrong, improper and inadequate dietary choices. Every person should adopt a suitable action plan for themselves concerning dietary choices so as to enhance their body fitness, wellness, and health. Parents should also watch what their children eat so as promote healthy living today and in the future.
- The paper aims at determining the various strategies and techniques that can get applied in promoting good health through dietary choices.
- The research paper aims at developing a suitable action plan for promoting healthy eating practices and dietary choices so as to enhance human fitness and health.
- The paper identifies the benefits associated with proper nutrition and a healthy diet
The formulation of an appropriate action plan that suits a person’s needs is crucial in maintain and enhancing good health. Different persons especially those of varying ages have different nutrient requirement, hence would be suited by different nutritional practices. This section creates an action plan that aims at enhancing the health and wellness in relation to preventing, controlling and treating diseases.
|Ø Assess personal diet by keeping a diet record for a few days||Ø Assists a person in identifying the nutrients supplied in excess or deficit thus causing health problems
Ø Assists a person in prioritizing on certain foods for specific nutrients
|1 – 2 weeks|
|Ø Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables to half a plate once every day
Ø Have at least one cup of vegetables (cooked or raw) at dinner
Ø Take whole fruits instead of fruit juices
Ø Add fruits to muffins and pancakes
|Ø Reduce excess weight
Ø Control overweight and obesity
Ø Whole fruits provide the body with fiber necessary for many functions
|Ø Drink water (Average 8-12 cups of water daily for adults)
Ø Prefer drinking low-calorie beverages instead of sugary drinks
|Ø To avoid dehydration
Ø Improves many body processes and normal body functioning
Ø Reduce many diseases such as hypertension, fatigue and headaches.
|Ø Eat more whole grains (100 percent whole wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, breads, etc
Ø replace one-third to one-half of all-purpose flour in favorite recipes with whole-wheat flour
|Ø Supplies the body with vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber
Ø Increases fiber intake
Ø Reduces body weight and minimizes risk of hypertension
|Ø Take approximately one gram of protein per day for each kg of body weight
Ø Avoid excess protein intake per day
|Ø Enhances body functions, supply energy and assist in building cells
Ø Reduces health issues such as low immune resistance, slow wound healing, and mental depression
Ø Controls overweight and obesity
|Ø Take unsaturated fats such as vegetable oil, nuts and seeds
Ø Avoid saturated fats such as butter, red meat, and cheese
Ø Avoid fatty meat and processed meat such as sausage, bacon, and hot dogs
|Ø Reduce risk of chronic diseases, overweight, and obesity||Daily|
|Ø Reduce or stop excess consumption of alcohol and smoking
Ø Avoid excess sugar consumption
|Ø Assists in reducing body weight and control of obesity
Ø Minimizes risk of high blood pressure, cancers and liver disease
Ø Reduces risk of physical injury or death from accidents or fights
|Ø Take at least 20 minutes to eat every meal||Ø Allows for proper digestion of food||All meals|
|Ø Monitor weight on regular basis||Ø Allows an individual to determine the progress
Ø A person can supplement dietary nutrients necessary to improve a condition
A nutritional survey will get undertaken to determine the effectiveness of the action plan in enhancing good health. The sample population selected for the survey will be chosen through random sampling and will comprise of adolescents, adults and elderly. The data obtained will get analyzed to determine the efficiency of the action plan. The findings of the survey will get interpreted to determine the dietary choices that provide significant health benefits.
It is crucial to take care of a person’s health so as to live better and longer through undertaking all necessary measures. The action plan identifies various dietary choices and nutritional practices that promote good health and fitness. Through ensuring that a person eats a well-balanced diet every day plays a critical role in ensuring that an individual meets all the required nutritional needs for growth, energy supply and maintenance of good health. Good nutrition provides numerous health benefits that range from reducing the risk of chronic diseases, overweight and obesity to reducing diseases caused by poor dietary choices and practices to avoiding diseases caused by nutrient deficiency. The action plan developed in this paper is adequate and appropriate for good health maintenance, longer living and disease prevention, control, and treatment.
Detels, R., Gulliford, M., Karim, Q. A., & Tan, C. C. (2015): Oxford Textbook of global public health. Oxford University Press.
Dunford, M., & Doyle, J. A. (2014): Nutrition for sport and exercise. (Edition 3): Cengage Learning.
Insel, P., Ross, D., & McMahon, K. (2013): Discovering nutrition. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Rahman, I., & Bagchi, D. (Eds.). (2013): Inflammation, Advancing Age and Nutrition: Research and Clinical Interventions. Academic Press.
Robertson, C. (2015): Safety, Nutrition, and health in early education. Cengage Learning.
Further research and action plan should get developed to suit individuals from different social and economic backgrounds