I had to write this essay for my Health Wellness and Nutrition class and wanted to share it:

Nutrition is the most important system that we can control to prevent health risks within our own body. It has been a debate for many years, in terms of a national nutritional model. Our body is both a complex mechanical and chemical system, which our organs work together that enables us to enjoy our everyday life. This guide will introduce the concepts of nutrition and explain what foods should be consumed within the basic food groups. The United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services has released a new and improved “Food Guide Pyramid” (Stampfer, Willett, 2002).

Within the Pyramid there are food groups that include Grains, Vegetables, Fruit, Dairy, and Protein which is vital to a balanced diet. The Food Pyramid actually goes a step further and includes fats and oils which should be avoided. The most important component is getting exercise to burn off the food that you have eaten according to your body’s recommended serving size. The main problem that could be argued is that “Americans eat way too much sugar” within their every day diets that can lead to serious health risks increasing their body to diseases like Diabetes type 2 (Stampfer, 2000). Therefore, in this model we will assume that a person being a male ranging within 19-30 years of age should intake the following daily recommended food serving.

Grains are a very important staple within our everyday diets, and are the most abused food group that is easily over consumed. Grains are a type of carbohydrate scientifically, named a polysaccharide that is essential to our body to provide the correct glycogen levels within our blood. This food group provides our body with many nutrients including “dietary fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, and selenium” (MyPlate, 2011). The daily recommended amount to consume for men is 8 ounces per day.

Vegetables provide our body with vitamins when consuming the daily recommended serving of 3 cups which is important to our health and most are low in fat. However, the most advantageous benefits of vegetables are eating fresh produce instead of the most convenient method either frozen or canned. When manufactures mass produce products such as frozen or canned vegetables they must be preserved adding more salt or chemicals within the food that has a negative impact on our body. Moreover, when packaging vegetables the packaging company with blanch the produce at a high temperate allowing beneficial nutrients minimize or become depleted within the food that includes “potassium, folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C” (MyPlate, 2011).

It has been proven that we tend to intake less fruit within all food groups within the pyramid. Fruits are also low in fat, sodium, and calories. Essential nutrients found is fruit including “potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid” (MyPlate, 2011). While consuming fruit we should intake 2 cups daily and vary the items that we eat instead of eating the same fruit. Another food group is Dairy, which is important to our body’s skeletal system to maintain healthy bone mass. Dairy provides our body with “calcium and vitamin D” that maintains proper levels of “calcium and phosphorous” which are building blocks to bone cells, when consuming 3 cups per day (MyPlate, 2011).

Lastly, Protein provides our body with trace minerals that are important for a healthy balanced diet when consuming the daily recommended value of 6 ½ ounces. Nutrients contained in protein are “niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, B6, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium”(MyPlate, 2011). Another added benefit within this food group when consuming seafood provides your body with “EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids” (MyPlate, 2011). Protein also aids in muscular creation within our body, which must be added because the lack of use or insufficient protein is not maintained will cause our body to break them down.

In conclusion, we cannot solely rely on hearing what is right or wrong for our body when it comes to nutrition. Rather we must stay informed and become self-conscious about our own health and well-being. The new and improved pyramid is a stepping stone in the right direction when seeking a healthy lifestyle change. If proper diets are maintain our body will forever reward use and a physical appearance will reflect our hard work. Nutrition is the most important system that we can control to prevent health risks within our own body.

Stampfer, 2000. What’s Wrong with this Pyramid. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ats/Jul21/
Stampfer, Willett, 2002. Rebuilding the Food Pyramid. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=rebuilding-the-food-pyram
United States Department of Agirculture, 2011. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/index.html