Nutrition and Dieting

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The teen years are hard ones, emotionally and physically. Your body is changing from a child into an adult, sending the body into a seven year battle with itself. You've got so many new things to deal with, learn about, experience, control, and stay away from. It's tough being a teenager.

You shouldn't have to worry about weight on top of everything else. Unfortunately, many teens are worried about weight. But the question is, why are teens worried about their weight? Is it peer pressure? Those TV commercials and ads we all see with tiny thin, to die for, model bodies? Mom and Dad telling us we're overweight and need to loose a few pounds? A new boyfriend or girlfriend that we want to impress? Or our own self-image of ourselves?

Guys, let me let you in on a secret. Thin is not in! While it is not healthy to be grossly overweight, like 100 pounds overweight or more, there is nothing at all wrong with having a bit of substance to your body. I can hear them gasping now, as they read this. (Grin)

You've heard the saying that everyone is not created equally. This is true for our bodies, too! There is entirely too much emphasis placed on being thin and tiny. TV, film, and advertisements have only added to the myth that thin is in.

If you look around you on a normal day, you'll see that most people are not the model type. Most people have normal bodies, with different shapes and weights. Most people are not thin! Join the real world and be yourself.

So you're jealous of the drop dead gorgeous blond that's dating that hot guy. You think to yourself, if only you were that thin. You weigh yourself, and are shocked to find you're 20 pounds over what the books say should be your ideal weight for your height. Baloney!

Let me assure you of one thing. Weight is not where it's at. I firmly believe in a person taking care of their body, and not being grossly overweight. That's not healthy. But if someone is only looking at the outside of you, and not the inside, pass them by. The real you is on the inside, not what you look like on the outside!

Nutritionists often offer conflicting advice from each other. Many guidelines are similar. Guidelines may vary, but they often overlap. Every food provides something different. Foods that are rich sources of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are the powerhouses of a successful nutrition plan. Experts claim that the trick is to include a variety of the best "super" or "power" foods in a nutrition plan.

5 Benefits of Proper Nutrition:
Heart Health:
A diet low in fats, cholesterol and sodium can lower your risk of heart disease. The types of fat in your diet play a major role in your level of risk. Saturated and trans fats - commonly found in red meats, fried foods, coconut oils, palm oils, margarines and packaged snack foods -- increase your risk and should be avoided. Diets that reduce your risk of heart disease are rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Aim for four to five servings of fruits and four to five servings of vegetables per day.

Bone and Teeth Strength:
A diet rich in calcium keeps your bones and teeth strong and helps prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis. Low-fat dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt; dark green vegetables, such as bok choy and broccoli; and fortified foods, such as soy products, fruit juices and cereals are good sources of calcium. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily for average adults ages 19 to 50. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium; choose products fortified with vitamin D to balance your nutrition.

Higher Energy Levels:
Increased energy levels are the immediate benefits of switching to a healthy diet. Eliminating excess fats, sugars and refined carbohydrates helps prevent blood sugar fluctuations. Examples of refined carbohydrates include candy and white breads. Unprocessed carbohydrates including whole grains, fruits and vegetables are most nutritious. This allows you to maintain steady blood sugar and constant energy levels as a result. Small, frequent meals also help maintain energy. In addition, eating a healthy breakfast helps keep you energized throughout the day. The American Council on Exercise recommends breakfasts, such as oatmeal with fruit, or a light sandwich.

Brain Health:
Proper nutrition increases blood flow to your brain, protecting brain cells and helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. For a brain healthy diet, avoid fried foods and favor baked, steamed and grilled foods. Also, eat dark fruits and vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, prunes, raisins, blueberries, raspberries, plums and cherries. Almonds, walnuts, pecans and other nuts are great sources of vitamin E, which along with other vitamins, also helps fight Alzheimer’s disease.

Weight Control:
To prevent weight gain, you must eat no more calories than you burn each day. For weight loss, you must eat fewer calories than your body burns daily. Healthy and nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, typically contain fewer calories than sodas, sweets and fast food meals. Shedding excess pounds reduces your risk of obesity-related conditions such as type-2 diabetes, clogged arteries and thyroid dysfunction.

Nutrition Dieting