Nutrients: Weight Control & Healthy Living Basics

It is important to make sure you are getting enough of the right nutrients to stay healthy and to achieve, or maintain, a healthy body weight. Your body uses nutrients from your food and vitamins to promote normal growth, maintenance, and repair.

Major Nutrients Your Body Needs

The major nutrients your body needs to maintain good health are:

  • carbohydrates
  • protein
  • minerals
  • fats
  • vitamins
  • water

You can get most of the nutrients you need by eating a balanced diet featuring healthy foods from each of the basic food groups on the food pyramid: dairy, grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, beans, and healthy fats. If you feel you need extra nutrients in any specific areas, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider about nutritional supplements, multivitamins, or special diets.

Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight

To maintain good health and a healthy body weight, it also helps to limit alcohol, salt, saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, preservatives, and sweeteners. Also, choose lean, low-fat, or nonfat meat, poultry, beans, and dairy products, and limit your total fat intake to between 20 and 35 percent of your total calories. Most of the fats you consume should come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils found in fish, nuts, and olive oil or canola oil for optimal health.

Exercise for Good Health and Weight Control

Regular exercise will also help you look and feel healthy. Exercise is a must for long-term weight control. Daily physical activity will help you stay fit and healthy, whether you choose:

  • Pilates
  • yoga
  • martial arts
  • team sports
  • jogging
  • cycling
  • swimming
  • walking

Exercise not only tones your body by burning up stored fat, it also strengthens your muscles, keeps your bones strong, and improves your skin. By building more muscle, which in turn burns more calories, exercise helps increase your metabolism. Regular exercise can also minimize mood swings and help you sleep and relax.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet can also reduce the amount of stress hormones in your body. Less stress often means a slower heart rate, relaxed blood vessels, and lower blood pressure. Regular exercise may also reduce symptoms of moderate depression. This is because exercise boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin in your brain, and serotonin is effective in relieving depression.

Overall Healthy Living Basics

Exercise and nutrients are the keys to good health. And good health can boost your immune system so you will get fewer colds, flus, and other viruses. Nutrients and daily exercise will help you to feel as good as you look at your healthiest body weight!


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