Thursday, February 09, 2006

Nutritional Advice - The Basics

You are what you eat... A good diet is central to overall good health. But which are the best foods to include in your meals, and which ones are best avoided? This section looks at the facts, to help you make realistic, informed choices.

The basics:

Bread, cereals and potatoes

This food group also contains pasta, rice and noodles and is full of starchy carbohydrates - your body's main source of energy.

Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are brimming with fibre, plus a whole range of vitamins and minerals, and because they're low in calories, they make an important and healthy addition to any diet.

Meat, fish, eggs and alternatives

This food group includes poultry, pulses, beans, nuts, seeds, soya products and vegetable protein foods such as quorn and seitan. They're grouped together because they're all rich in protein.

Milk and dairy

This food group includes milk, cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais - but not butter, margarine or cream, which belong in the fat and sugar group. The foods in this group contain many different types of nutrients but are particularly rich in calcium.

Fats and sugar

The foods in this group are best eaten sparingly because, although an energy source, they contain few nutrients. Don't be fooled into thinking they're entirely 'bad', though. Fat is an important contributor to good health.

The digestive system

Ever wondered what happens to your food once it passes your lips? Well, once you've taken a mouthful, your food embarks on an incredible journey......

You have roughly 10,000 tastebuds on your tongue, which come alive the moment you put food in your mouth. As nerve endings, they're responsible for sussing out the chemicals in the food you've eaten and transmitting messages to your brain. Without them you wouldn't be able to experience salty, bitter, sweet or sour sensations. While your tastebuds are busy at work, your teeth grind the food into easily digestible pieces and your saliva moistens everything, so it doesn't scrape your digestive (gastrointestinal) tract on the way down.Nutrition