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March 20, 2014

Nutrition Basics: A Simple Guide

Our bodies require a combination of nutrients for optimal health and wellness. Sometimes it’s helpful to refresh our knowledge base with some basic nutritional facts. Since everyone’s needs can vary, you can work with your registered dietitian to determine your unique needs.

What Does My Body Need?

  • A multitude of nutrients, including carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. You need a variety of foods to get these essential fuels.
  • A balanced intake of grains, protein, fruits, vegetables, milks, fats, and desserts can provide your body with all the nutrients you need—and please your palate at the same time!

The Basics

Carbohydrate (Grains): Provides your body’s main source of fuel, along with B-vitamins and iron. Your body stores carbohydrates in your muscle tissue, helping to provide energy between meals and snacks.

Protein: Helps your body resist infection, recover from illness, and promote optimal growth. Your body needs protein to grow and maintain muscles, bones, blood cells, skin, and nerve tissues.

Fruits and Vegetables: Provide many vitamins and minerals that complement the other nutrients your body needs. Eating at least 5 fruits and veggies a day can help reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Calcium (Dairy products): Helps prevent osteoporosis and promote optimal dental and bone health. Dairy gives your body essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, phosphorus, and vitamin B12.

Fat: Keeps your cells functioning normally, so your body can send messages to the brain and the brain can interpret these messages properly. Your body also needs fat to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. Including fat in your diet promotes satiety.

Dessert: Adds interest and variety that your body and your diet need. They also provide carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and other nutrients that your body needs on a daily basis.

If you are working with your treatment team and have been asked to keep a food journal, click here to download additional records. And work with your registered dietitian—they can answer questions and help guide you to ensure your unique needs are being met.

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