Maintaining a healthy lifestyle all about nutrition and exercise

A substantial nutritional diet might just be the secret weapon that you have been craving to make it through your hectic day with energy and enthusiasm.

According to the article titled, Food Rx The Natural Way to Health, printed in Natural Awakenings, a local health guide, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is all about nutrition and exercise.

The Food Guide Pyramid, which was updated in April 2005 by the United States Department of Agriculture, is now referred to as My Pyramid food guidance system.

According to the USDA Web site, the Pyramid is an easy guide to help people know the amount of each food group you need daily.

Many of the USDA’s top officials have worked to develop a pyramid that best represents the truth about healthy eating.

Maurice Muia, 22, a junior computer engineering student from the island of St. Thomas said he follows the food guide pyramid, especially the “five-a-day for better health,” which refers to having at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

The USDA Web site states eating an abundance of vegetables, fruits and other plant foods may protect against heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension and birth defects.

Kerstin Thompson, 21, a SBI graduate student from Tallahassee said she does not follow the food guide pyramid but know she needs to have a little of everything in moderation to maintain a healthy nutritious diet.

Nutrients are said to fight diseases of the heart, help prevent cancer and sharpen the brain.

“Foods for treatment and prevention of disease is an exploding area,” said Andrew Weil, M.D., director of integrative medicine at the University of Arizona, in the Great Awakenings magazine article.

In reference to the same article, Walter Willett, M.D., Ph.D, Harvard School of Public Health, nutrition department chair, said, “we are learning that foods have many more important functions than we have recognized earlier.”

Weil, the author of the upcoming book, “Healthy Aging,” said, “essential fatty acids improve mental function and protect against heart disease and inflammation.”

The Florida Department of Education Web site states, “When you exercise, your whole body feels great you get lots of oxygen to your brain, so you can think clearly and do your best.”

A report on the Florida Department of Education Web site said running, walking, biking and other physical activity keeps your heart healthy and strong. Physical activity builds strong muscles and bones.

Being active also gives your skin a healthy glow and it keeps you in shape and at a healthy weight.

The International Food and Information Council Foundation Web site said children and teens should eat at least three meals a day, to meet energy needs, beginning with breakfast.

Studies by the IFIC show eating breakfast affects both cognitive and physical performance; meaning that if a child eats breakfast, he or she will be more alert in school and better able to learn and to perform sports or other physical activities.

Muia said he eats breakfast about five days a week and he has noticed a big difference in the days he has breakfast compared to those he doesn’t.

“I don’t feel as good throughout the day when I don’t have breakfast and then I end up eating a big lunch,” Muia said.

A complete and balanced breakfast has proven to be the best remedy for students to start off their day.

The study always said breakfast-eaters are able to concentrate better, make fewer errors, score higher on tests, are more creative and work faster.

Thompson, who eats breakfast 1-2 days a week, said she functions the same whether or not she has breakfast.

Nutritious foods in combination with a consistent exercise program will result in a healthy mind and body.

According to Natural Awakenings, the foods we eat are a power-source that helps our bodies resist disease and experience improved mood.

It is important to consult your doctor or a nutritionist before making major changes in your diet.

(5) Easy Nutrition Tips

Improving your nutrition does not have to be difficult. Start with one of these suggestions.

1. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit available. If it’s there, you’re more likely to eat it.

2. Eat breakfast. Spreading your food intake over the day is the best way to burn calories.

3. Plan ahead for routine meals and snacks. People who eat regular meals get a more balanced, healthier diet and are closer to their goal weights.

4. Pack your lunch the night before. If you don’t eat breakfast or pack a lunch because you rush too much in the morning, set everything up the night before.

5. Buy a healthy cookbook or food magazine. If you like to cook, this can help inspire you to cook healthier foods and meals.

Source: WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: “Easy Ways to Improve Your Nutrition.”

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