The food pyramid plays an important role to help guide and educate people of healthy lifestyles and eating habits among the majority of people in the United States. Throughout the United States, this guide is meant to show the public how to eat healthy and continuously stay healthy. Also, the United States Department of Agriculture established a ChooseMyPlate.Gov to help individuals choose healthier foods regarding their diets, specific needs, and allergies. To this day most of society does not know how to choose foods that are considered a part of a well-balanced diet. Often people will choose foods that are more fattening and greasy foods that are supposed to be good for our bodies and health. When trying to eat healthy it is not about how people look or depriving ourselves of the foods we enjoy the most, it is often about having enough energy to do daily activities and function property, having a positive outlook on our health and moods while feeling great about our future and health. Maintaining a healthy diet can help prevent major health scares or potentially becoming overweight. Having the ability and will-power to maintain a healthier diet, can make our everyday lives richer and more fulfilling going forward through General Recommendation of food, Functional Foods, and Vitamins as helpers and deficiencies.
Having the recommended intake of food each day is a way for our bodies to potentially stay healthy. As stated by Davidson and Penny, “MyPlate formula makes general recommendations in five categories: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy and protein” (933). Common grains consist of barley, cornmeal, oats, and rice. Grains that people may be unfamiliar with are buckwheat, millet, rye, quinoa, sorghum, and triticale. Pasta, grits, oatmeal, bread, crackers, tortillas, and other foods are part of the grain family. Grains can be divided into two groups whole grains and refined grains. Also mentioned by Davidson and Penny, “MyPlate recommends that at least half of the grains that individual eats daily be whole grains” (933). Some examples of whole grains consist of whole wheat cereal, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta. Refined grains use vitamins B and iron to help replace what is lost by the removal of germ and bran in foods. Examples of these foods include: white rice, crackers, flour tortillas, grits, pasta, corn flake cereal. The Vegetable category is divided into five different groups. As referenced by Davidson and Penny, “MyPlate recommends that people eat vegetables from all five groups over the course of a week” (934). First group Dark Green Vegetables which include: spinach, kale, turnip greens, broccoli, and collard greens. Second group Orange Vegetables including: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and acorn squash. Third group Beans and Peas include: black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lima beans, peas, and chickpeas. Fourth group Starchy Vegetables including: potatoes, corn, green peas, string beans, and finally the group Other Vegetables: artichokes, cauliflower, mushrooms, bean sprouts, onions, tomatoes, celery, and lettuce. Another category mentioned is Fruits, which can be either fresh, dried, canned or frozen. Most common fruits that people eat are apples, bananas berries, citrus fruits, grapes, pineapples, and mangoes. In addition, Dairy is another group which uses vitamin D as a source of protein and calcium. The milk group consists of these foods: yogurt, cheese, and desserts that use milk, ice cream, and pudding. Unfortunately, some people are lactose intolerant and can only eat lactose-reduced and lactose-free foods. The final group consists of a protein which includes four groups. Meats including: beef, pork, lamb, rabbit, and organ meat. Group two Poultry includes: chicken, turkey, and goose. Group three Fish and Shellfish the foods included are: catfish, salmon, tuna, and anchovies. Finally, Seeds and nuts included are: almonds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. These different food groups help people to stay on track by eating food that is beneficial for our bodies. These categories are a way for people to keep track of how they eat and what group it comes from.
Furthermore, Functional foods are sometimes believed to provide people with health benefits and nutrition by promoting better health and helping to reduce the risk of certain diseases or conditions. As stated by Alic, “Depending on the definition, functional foods can include various conventional foods containing bioactive component and other products” (568). Fruits include: tomatoes, citrus, grapes and any berries that contain anthocyanins. Vegetables include: garlic, broccoli, and other vegetables. Beans are a good source of fiber, folate, potassium, and protein. Nuts help control blood sugar levels and contain high magnesium levels, which can help lower blood pressure. Fish which include salmon and sardines have extremely high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce the risk of heart disease, joint pain, and improves the brains development and function. Other types of functional foods may include certain foods and beverages which are enriched and possibly modified with bioactive compounds. Sometimes certain foods may have synthesized ingredients which could result in health benefits or are components of health benefits. As stated by Alic, “In plant foods phytochemicals or phytonutrients are also functional constituents” (570). These constituents consist of Carotenoids, and flavones which can help protect people against heart disease and cancer. Another type mentioned is Flavonoids and include: flavors of antioxidants, which can be found in: onions, broccoli, grapes, cocoa, and chocolate helps with heart problems along with berries and grapes which support brain function and stability. Phytoestrogens help with bone, brain and immune health, and in menopausal women. Phenolic acids have caffeic and ferulic acids which are in apples, and pears and help support healthy eyes and heart. Lignans found in flaxseed, rye, other nuts, carrots, and lentils help the heart to stay healthy and protects our immune system. Finally, Sugar alcohols in some of the foods may help in possibly reducing the risk of gum disease later in life. These foods are a way to help improve a child’s diet or help someone who is overweight or facing obesity. Consuming more nutritious foods than junk food can help everyone to have a more balanced diet.
In addition, Vitamins are considered chemical compounds that can be used to help us grow and help with our metabolism. As stated by Kim, and Jeffery, “There are thirteen vitamins, which may be divided into two groups:” (92). The first group consists of fat vitamins known as A, D, E, and K. Plus, the nine water vitamins, B and C. Vitamin A helps supports healthy teeth, soft tissue, and skin. Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine” vitamin is very important if a person unable to get the weekly recommended amount of sunshine, 15 minutes, four days a week. Vitamin E is also a factor in helping form red blood cells. One essential vitamin is Vitamin K because it works closely with vitamin E to create good blood health. Vitamin B6 helps in forming red blood cells and the maintenance of brain function, while Vitamin C helps our gums and teeth to be healthy. Also, when cooking it can destroy water vitamins faster than then fat vitamins which could be a major problem later in life. Also, stated by Kim and Jeffery, “With the depletion of water vitamins levels in the body it can lead to vitamin deficiency if the nutrients are not replaced daily” (92). These deficiencies might be the result of inadequate intake, and other unrelated foods. Although with vitamin K and biotin they are both produced by bacteria which live inside our intestines, deficiencies can result if the bacteria is removed by antibiotics. A deficiency of vitamin A can result in rough and dry skin and difficulty seeing in dim light. Another deficiency of vitamin D is deformed bones, stunted growth, and soft teeth. With adults, they might experience softened bones, spontaneous fractures and decay of teeth. Vitamin E deficiencies can result in malnutrition. Finally, Vitamin K has bleeding tendencies, anemia, and hemorrhages. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) includes: burning feet, rapid heart rate, and fatigue. B2 (Riboflavin) includes: corners of mouth becoming sore, appetite loss and fatigue. B3 (Niacin) includes: diarrhea and stomatitis. B5 (Pantothenic acid) includes: tingling of feet. B6 (Pyridoxine) includes: Nervous system disorders, sleeplessness, confusion, and depression. B9 (Folic acid) includes: anemia, weight loss, and redness of mouth. With Vitamin C gum deficiency infection can happen, dry eyes, hair loss, joint pain, cavities, and wounds healing slower. Other results of vitamin deficiency may include pregnancy, newborn development, drug interactions, and disease. These vitamins are used to help protect our bodies, keep us healthy and live longer. Without these specific vitamins, our bodies would be in a terrible state and our bodies would not be as healthy.
Overall, having set groups for different types of food educates people with options on how to live a healthy life. By knowing the benefits of foods being consumed on a daily basis, this can help in achieving a nutritious diet. Vitamins are the nutrients necessary to support growth, psychological functions, provide energy, strong bone health, and heart functions. Vitamins are a crucial part of our balanced diets in every food consumed and without them, our lives would be in jeopardy. By eating healthy and keeping the weight off people can potentially live longer and feel better about themselves and be able to start the day off right. With the consumption of these foods, everyone can learn to eat healthy by taking the time to see what products and ingredients they are ingesting into their bodies. How and what we eat is up to consumers who take the time and want to learn how to eat right. Americans tend to eat foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients. The importance of a nutrient-rich diet is invaluable.
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