Eat better, live longer!

Eli Anton, Staff Writer

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What is nutrition? Generally, it refers to how we consume certain foods in an effort to reach a happy, healthy middle ground to sustain our bodies. More scientifically, it refers to how we metabolize nutrients to convert them into cells and then energy.

We hear the word “nutrition” all the time, but how often do you take time to not only research the topic but also practice it? Whether you are a fitness, health guru or someone just seeking to improve their daily health through simple means, the following information is valuable and useful to anyone who wants to be healthy.

Since about 1977, many have been chasing after diets. Previously, Americans were over-consuming bad fats and getting closer to heart disease, so low-fat products were made to reverse or stop this damage. For those who were truly consuming too much, this may have helped.

However, everyone else and anyone who came after the matter suffered as they were now lacking the healthy fats they needed and instead consuming more salt and sugar. Salt and sugar were put in products as a substitute, often so the product didn’t taste bland. The irony is that the low-fat diet was meant to reduce calorie intake while the sugar just raised it. (Hypertension was also a rising health issue, so the added salt wasn’t helping.)

Due to this old misconception, this continues on for generations, as to this day, companies are making these low-fat products, leading many to believe we need to cut fat out of our diets to be healthy. This has been proven wrong many times. (Such as the “Lancel PURE study”, a UK medical journal.)

Humans need fat (and the oils from these fats), from the surface reasons (healthy skin and hair) to the more biological levels in consuming fat-soluble vitamins and promoting hormonal balance. Ironic to the name, eating fat promotes weight loss, including the loss of the type of fat on our bodies. It also helps us store and use energy, along with satiate our hunger so we don’t feel like eating more after a meal.

So what fats are healthy? Unsaturated and saturated fats are both healthy as long as they are not processed, and are consumed in reasonable amounts, meaning that you’re not letting it overrun the rest of your daily diet.

Unsaturated fats are primarily liquids at room-temperature such as olive oil, fish oils and avocado oil. Saturated fats are primarily solid, such as coconut products, meat fat and cheese. Trans fats are an absolute no! They don’t do any good for humans but do act as a preservative in our food.

Something to note: Avocado is a “funky” food because as a fruit it is both a carb and fat, which breaks no-sugar/carb diets. Aside from that, it is completely healthy to consume on its own. Don’t be afraid of the good fats in our food like yogurt, because they are beneficial to consume.

Speaking more on fruit, it is best to consider that there is sugar in fruit. It’s not the same and not as bad as the sugar consumed in sweets, but it still affects your body. So as good as it is for other things, it’s best to limit fruit consumption and go for fruits that are low glycemic such as berries, green apples and citrus fruits.

The most underrated of all foods are vegetables. They offer so much more than most people realize. Fiber, vitamins, and most importantly, antioxidants.

Our body consumes and, with unhealthy habits, creates these cells called free radicals. These cells are, to put it simply, broken because they are missing electrons or sometimes they carry one too many and seek to resolve their issue.

Naturally, they steal from other, healthy cells, turning them into free radicals as well. It’s as though the free radical is blindly running around, looking for an electron, leaving behind a trail of corrupt cells.

Antioxidants are important because they are “free” electrons. They add or remove electrons, resolving the free radical’s issue. So, more antioxidants mean less corrupt cells in our bodies, which is good. Free radicals come in multiple forms and do different things but primarily attacks DNA. To offer perspective, having so many damaged cells could lead to you healing slower, having a lower immune system, or aging faster.

Most vegetables, like cucumbers, carrots, spinach, bell peppers and radishes, are better off eaten raw to get the most benefits. However, some vegetables are better eaten steamed or marinated, like cauliflower, broccoli, kale, cabbage/sauerkraut and asparagus, because they have a harder outer layer that can be hard to digest. So if you’re not eating vegetables daily already, start doing it. They’re helping us live better lives. 

There’s much more to nutrition than counting your calories. Extensive research exists out there that has proven that point, but it’s up to you if you want to take the time to learn about it.


[Disclaimer: Given the massive amount of information and how a lot of it overlaps between sources, individual mentions throughout the article are hard to implement. Instead, I’ve included all the references by website and article/journal name that I used here at the end. If this field of information interests you, I implore you to read through these sources to get a better understanding of the things I’ve tackled in this article.]

Medical News Today – Nutrition: What is it and why is it important?

Oxford Academic – How the ideology of low-fat conquered America

Natural News – Why you should reject all those low-fat eating plans

Healthline – 6 Graphs That Show Why The “War” on Fat Was a Huge Mistake

Dr. Becky Fitness – Balance Hormones by Eating More Fat

The Telegraph (UK) – Low-fat diet could kill you, study shows

Dr. Mercola – All about antioxidants: an important dietary component

Natural News – Antioxidant extracts maximize clean energy