Fuel for life

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS -

FOOD is one of the most vi­tal things in your life. With­out proper nu­tri­tion, your body can’t sur­vive. When you eat a bal­anced diet, your body ob­tains the fuel and nu­tri­ents it needs to per­form var­i­ous bod­ily func­tions like build­ing bones and reg­u­lat­ing your heart­beat.

For all this clever stuff to work, your body needs fuel to cre­ate en­ergy that the body then uses. This fuel en­ergy comes from the food and drink you con­sume in your diet.

Our food fuel com­prises the pro­teins, car­bo­hy­drates and fats (macronu­tri­ents) we eat and drink.

Car­bo­hy­drates are sug­ars the body uses for en­ergy. Sim­ple car­bo­hy­drates or sim­ple sug­ars pro­vide the body with quick en­ergy. They are found in fruit, dairy and su­gar. Com­plex car­bo­hy­drates, known as fi­bre and starch, are bro­ken down in your body more slowly. They are found in veg­eta­bles, bread, rice and grains.

Pro­teins are es­sen­tial for grow­ing and main­tain­ing healthy cells in your body. Pro­tein-rich foods in­clude meats, eggs, some dairy foods, av­o­cado, nuts and beans.

Fats: Your body needs fat to grow and process vi­ta­mins. There are many kinds of fats. Polyun­sat­u­rated and mono-un­sat­u­rated fats are good for your body. These fats in­clude nuts and fish, as well as olive, peanut, saf­flower and canola oil. Other kinds of fat, in­clud­ing sat­u­rated and trans fat, can in­crease the risk of cer­tain dis­eases. Sat­u­rated and trans fats are found in but­ter, fried foods, baked goods, fast food, whole milk and meat.

Your body burns the food fuel in an or­der. Car­bo­hy­drates are the body’s pri­mary source of en­ergy and the eas­i­est for the body to use. There are dif­fer­ent types of carbs. Sim­ple ones get used first, com­plex ones last.

Next, your body burns pro­tein. If you have not con­sumed enough pro­tein, your body starts to use the pro­tein stored in mus­cles.

Fi­nally, when the body is all out of carb and pro­tein en­ergy to use as fuel, it will seek out fat to use. It is more dif­fi­cult for the body to metabolise fat, which is why fat is used last.

Food is fuel, so make sure you are putting the right things in your body at the right times to max­imise en­ergy and keep you feel­ing healthy.

For more recipes and ideas, check out www.chang­ing­habits.com.au

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