What are diet and nutrition?
A person's diet is made up of the food they eat. Nutrition is the way that the food people eat nourishes their bodies.
Good nutrition means your body is getting all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work at its best level. Eating a healthy diet is your main way to get good nutrition.
Most people know that a balance of good nutrition and physical activity can help them reach and maintain a healthy weight. But the benefits of good nutrition go beyond weight. Good nutrition can also:Improve cardiovascular and other body system functions, mental well-being, school / cognitive performance, and wound healing or recovery from illness or injury.
Does everyone need the same things for good nutrition or a healthy diet?
No—A number of factors impact a person's nutritional and dietary needs.
Different age groups have different nutritional needs, and people's diets should meet those specific needs. For example, an infant needs a different diet and nutrition than a teenager. Likewise, the nutritional needs and diet of a pregnant woman are different than those of an elderly man.In addition, factors such as a person's height and current weight, current health status, and activity level also affect what kinds of nutrients they need and how much they need.
What are some tips for healthy eating?
Some general tips for healthy eating include:
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables – Eat fruit that is fresh, frozen, canned, or dried rather than fruit juice for most of your fruit choices. Eat dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, and beans and peas.
Get your calcium-rich foods. Get 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk, or other dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese. You can also try dark green, leafy vegetables, lactose-free milk products, and calcium-fortified foods and beverages for your calcium needs.
Make half your grains whole. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day. Look to see that grains such as wheat, rice, oats, or corn are referred to as "whole" in the list of ingredients.
Go lean with protein. Choose lean meats and poultry. And vary your protein choices with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
Know the limits on fats, salt, and sugars. Read the Nutrition Facts label on foods. Look for foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. Saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol tend to raise "bad" (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood, which in turn increases the risk for heart disease.
How do I know if I'm eating a healthy diet?
In general, a healthy diet—one that gives your body balanced nutrition—includes these actions:Make smart choices from every food group
Find your balance between food and physical activity
Get the most nutrition out of your calories
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans—a report published every five years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture—explains how you can accomplish these actions. The report recommends a general diet that can help lead to good health and reduce risk for diseases for people two years and older.
How is physical activity related to diet and nutrition?
Another important part of good nutrition is creating a balance between the food you eat (ENERGY IN) and physical activity (ENERGY OUT).For ENERGY IN, choose foods and amounts of foods that will help you and your family maintain a healthy weight and provide the nutrients they need while keeping their calories under control.
For ENERGY OUT, get moving! Adults 18 and older need 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days a week to be healthy; children and teens need 60 minutes of activity a day for their health.
Combine healthy eating with a balance between food and physical activity to improve your overall health.
How is obesity related to nutrition and diet?
Good nutrition requires a balance of food, vitamins, and minerals (from eating a healthy diet) and physical activity. Overweight and obesity can result if things get out of balance—such as eating too much food, not getting enough physical activity, or having too much of one or more nutrients in the diet.