Understanding your food, part four

By Gregory Whyte

Cultural Center of Charlotte County

In this, the final part of my article, I will present a number of important principles and tips that can help most people eat healthier. These principles and tips are in no particular order and are extracted from areas such as food selection, food safety, food preparation and food consumption.


An understanding of nutrition is important if one is to choose food items that are capable of providing the nutrients important to good health. Keep in mind that approximately 50 nutrients are required each day to ensure optimum health.

A problem that many people encounter when trying to meet their nutritional needs is securing the required nutrients from the food items that are available to them. Eating a wide variety of foods is one way to solve this problem. Another way is to make use of the four food groups (milk group, meat group, fruit and vegetable group and the grain group) when planning meals.

If you are an athlete or an extremely active person you should know the types and amounts of foods that are specific to your needs. A woman who is pregnant, a mother who is lactating or a person in his/her senior years will all require varying amounts of specific nutrients.

A great way to ensure that you are getting most or all of the vitamins and minerals you need is to add to your regular diet, a variety of “loaded” foods. By “loaded” I am referring to foods that yield a large number of nutrients or a high concentration of a few. When these foods are consumed daily, you are ensuring the consumption of important vitamins and minerals. The following is a short list of “loaded” foods for you to consider:

a. Brewer’s yeast (may not be suitable for some)

b. Blackstrap molasses

c. Fresh vegetable salad consisting of four or more vegetables of varying colors

d. Fresh fruit salad consisting of four or more fruits of varying colors and taste.

Although the nutrients you need is best from food, making use of vitamin and mineral supplements are OK, especially if you are unsure as to whether or not you are getting all of the important vitamins and minerals from your diet.

Today, the need to know all things about what one is consuming has prompted the creation of food labels that are both comprehensive and user friendly. These labels offer a wealth of information and make it easier for consumers to get important information on specific foods.

For answers to your fitness and health questions, contact the Cultural Center of Charlotte County’s Fitness Center by calling 941-625-4175, ext. 263, or visit the Fitness Center at 2280 Aaron St., Port Charlotte.


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