Your diet, i.e. what you eat on a regular basis is the starting point when it comes to keeping yourself healthy. You have to eat a balanced diet. No one food contains all you need and food contains things that tablets do not. You may need to take vitamins, minerals, etc, but they are not substitute for food. While all foods contain one or more necessary nutrients, some have more than others and are therefore should feature more prominently in your diet.

You must keep in mind that your body is composed of proteins and you need to replace those which have been lost daily. Other foods are also needed for good nutrition.

But you may, like others, have chosen to follow a certain type of diet due to your personal preferences, or because certain foods trigger an allergic reaction in your body, etc.

So let us see what foods constitutes a balanced diet and leads to good nutrition, bearing the above in mind. In every category there are foods which can be said to be superior to others in that category, but which you may not wish to or cannot eat due the fact you are allergic to them.

So what you can substitute for those foods will also be given.
Nutrition: Major Categories

Nutrition: Categories

There are 3 major categories of food:

Proteins, your body is composed of protein so proteins can be said to be essential and if it is missing from your diet is the one that leads to disease

Carbohydrates and Fats. These supply you with energy. Fat contains over twice as many calories as the other 2.

We start with

Nutrition Proteins:

The most dependable sources of protein are meat, fish, eggs, milk and cheese, as they contain all the amino acids that are bodies are composed of. If you are a vegetarian, you can eat eggs and cheese and if you are a vegan you can substitute nuts and pulses. But do not just have one of these, but mix them. Plants do not usually contain all the amino acids that your body needs, but there is one that does, which will be the subject of a later post.
Nutrition: Carbohydrates:

These are divided between starches and sugars. Most people nowadays eat these after they have been processed and all the goodness removed from them. In some cases the nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals have been put back, using artificial versions, which do not contain what they do in their natural form. But more often than not even this is missing.

Many people are allergic to wheat products, but can eat other grains, such as corn, rice, etc.

But if you are allergic to all grain products as some are all you can do is avoid them and make sure that you get your carbohydrates from such sources as fruit and honey. But definitely avoid white sugar, as this contains no nutrients.

Food also contains vitamins and minerals and these are a vital part of nutrition and essential if you are to be healthy. There are twice as many calories in fat as in the other 2 categories and must be eaten sparingly. Fats contain cholesterol which, by some people, is cited as the cause of heart trouble. It is not realized that our bodies produce it, but it is only what we get from external sources that cause problems. What definitely should be avoided is hydrogenated fats, as our bodies are not equipped to deal with them. Oil, particularly olive and sunflower oils are good for you as are essential fatty acids.

If you are a vegetarian, or a vegan it is possible to eat a balanced diet, but you have to be careful not to do what many vegetarians do and eat a lot of pasta, especially if this is not the wholegrain variety. If you make this the basis of your diet you stand the risk of developing anemia, even pernicious anemia. This is because everyone require B12, which your body does not produce and you need to get from food and meat is one of the most dependable sources.

Some vitamins are water soluble and have to be taken daily, but other are oil based and can be stored by your body. This post has looked at nutrition and what we eat on a regular basis, in other posts specific aspects of nutrition will be looked at, starting with the next one when we look at Vitamins.

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