One of the most important factors in determining the health of our society is our diet. What we eat directly affects the health of our body, which in turn influences our performance at work and at home. According to leading researchers, what we eat determines how much energy we use and whether or not we have a sedentary lifestyle. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that studies have shown that dietary intake of a specific group of antioxidants may be an effective modifiable strategy to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. The antioxidants can be found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
DescriptionThe word “diet” simply means the food that a person consumes on a regular basis. Food is any material consumed to supply nutrition to an organism. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungus origin, and has necessary nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates or fats, to function normally. The modern day American diet is often deficient in calcium, magnesium, potassium and other minerals that are crucial to the proper functioning of the human body. The recommended daily amount of these nutrients is established by the United States Department of Agriculture, but studies have indicated that the average American diet does not meet the recommended daily intake.
Dietary guidelines provided by the government and the Department of Health recommend that people should eat at least six servings of fruits and vegetables per day. However, studies indicate that only about half of the population meets this minimum requirement. One reason for this is that many people eat more foods that are rich in sugar and fat than they do those that are rich in vitamins and other minerals. According to the USDA, five major food groups are considered to be the top sources of dietary fiber in the diet of the average American.
Types of Vegetablesand Herbivores Eat omnivores or eat plants and fungi such as corn, beans, peas, broccoli, squash, spinach, carrots and celery. The beans are the most common source of protein in America’s diet. Animal products are another large source of protein in the diets of many Americans. According to the USDA, beef, chicken, fish and turkey make up the largest portion of the meat-based diets, with beans, peas, nuts, eggs, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and grains making up the rest.
Legumes, beans and nuts are a good source of fiber, but can be combined with other foods to make up a complete meal. According to the USDA, whole grain breads, crackers, cereals, pasta and teas are acceptable snacks between meals. However, studies indicate that most Americans eat very little on a daily basis that is rich in nutrients. Most Americans eat very little olive oil, mayonnaise, vinegar, butter and other “artery clogging” ingredients. They also eat very little garlic, one of the most important natural cures for hypertension. The average American eats less than two ounces of legumes a day, less than a half cup of yogurt and about a quarter teaspoon of garlic (sometimes more) a day.
About a quarter of Americans have a problem with compulsive overeating and are classified as obese. In addition to eating a low quality diet, they may consume one or two alcoholic drinks every day. Approximately half of those who are obese consume a high calorie diet consisting of junk food, soda and other packaged beverages. Those who are obese are at higher risk for serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and premature death. Normal-weight people rarely have problems with compulsive overeating. However, for those who are obese, the added stress and tension associated with being overweight, along with the poor quality food and lack of exercise leads to an escalating problem with self-esteem and eating habits.