Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Have you ever heard the saying you are what you eat? In some sense, this is true, because if you eat unhealthy foods you are prone to be an unhealthy person. The foods we ingest are extremely important to our ability to grow, maintain function, and prevent illness. Therefore, if you value your health, you should learn as much about healthy eating as possible.
Healthy eating is important from the day we are born. As a child, we grow quite rapidly and this is due in part to the foods we eat. Foods all contain nutrients that provide us not only with fuel to live our daily lives, but also with the very substances that build our bones, muscles, and organ tissues. Not getting enough of one nutrient or another can cause a variety of problems, including stunting our growth. For mothers who are nursing, nutrition is important because breast milk contains the nutrients a child needs to grow and develop properly. Upon growing older, these nutrients are then found in food, but don’t think that healthy eating isn’t important for growth after you’ve gone through puberty. Cells continuously break down and rebuild, so healthy eating for growth continues to be important until the day we die.
Healthy eating is also important for maintaining body function. In out daily lives, we use energy to think, walk, talk, breathe, and perform any other action. The energy it takes our body to do these things comes from two places: fat reserves in the body or our daily food intake. If you don’t eat healthy foods, you will find that you are storing more fat than necessary or that you aren’t getting enough and you feel sluggish or weak. Along with energy-providing nutrients, like fats and carbohydrates, we also need the right nutrients to allow our organs to do their jobs. Hormones and other substances in the body make sure that everything is working properly. If you don’t eat the right nutrients, your body cannot produce these hormones and, as a result, cannot function properly.
Lastly, healthy eating is important in order to prevent illness. When we do not get the right nutrients, our body’s natural defense system against diseases weakens, allowing viruses and bacteria to attack the body. It’s like a well-trained army—if the army doesn’t have enough to eat, it will not do well in battle. Without healthy foods and plenty of water, our bodies simply could not operate on a day-to-day basis. Learning how to eat healthy foods is therefore and important lesson, and one which we should begin learning as children.