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Proper nutrition is the keystone of a healthy and productive life. When you take in the nutrients your body needs, you provide the raw material for all the processes your body performs on a daily – and nightly – basis. Your nutritional choices have a profound influence on the level of well-being you can achieve.

Vitamin B12 is an important part of a healthy diet. It plays a role in releasing energy from the fat, carbohydrates and protein that you eat. Vitamin B12 also helps in the formation of blood cells, nervous system maintenance and bone metabolism. You can find this vitamin in dairy products, eggs, fish, meat and poultry.

When choosing foods, think about nutrition. Green beans seem nutritious, for example, but broccoli is a knockout in terms of nutrients, so it is better to pick broccoli for dinner. Potatoes are yummy, of course, and quite innocent, when they’re not slathered in butter or cream, but if you want to pack a truly nutritive punch, swap them out for sweet potatoes from time to time. They’re jam-packed with vitamin A and C and fiber. It’s said that sweet potatoes (NOT sweet potato fries, sorry!) are so nutritious, that you could survive on them alone.

Make sure that you are getting enough calcium in your foods. Calcium is an important mineral that helps in building strong bones and teeth, and in preventing osteoporosis. A deficiency in calcium will lead to brittle bones, which will result in serious bone fractures during a fall. So, calcium is essential is maintaining a healthy body.

When shopping for food, try to stick to the perimeter; or around the edges of the store. This is usually where the fresh produce is, as well as the meats and dairy products. These are the things to stick to in a healthy diet. By sticking to the perimeter, you’ll only buy things that support a healthy diet.

A protein shake is possibly the best thing to take after a long workout. But what most people do not know if that you should add milk to your shake instead of water. This is because it not only tastes better, but each serving contains about eight more grams of protein than water will have.

Write down and collect healthy recipes. Cook books are expensive and seldom have much useful information. Make your own instead. Buy a pack of index cards and use them to copy down any healthy recipes you try and enjoy. Replace all those high calorie, unhealthy recipes you had been saving with the new ones.

Make good use of your daily caloric intake by eating wholesome foods. Your body is going to respond better to 1800 calories of wholesome foods, like lean meats and proteins, than to 1800 calories of unhealthy fats and sugars. You are what you eat, no matter how much.

To maintain better nutrition, be sure your meals are nutritionally balanced properly. Humans require many key nutrients if they are to function efficiently, including minerals, vitamins, essential acids, and fats. Even though you can use supplements to get these nutrients, it is much better to get your intake through food.

If you are a big coffee drinker, try switching to decaf coffee. Decaf coffee is low in calories and can help you with your coffee cravings. If you need to add items to your coffee, such as sugar or milk, be sure to use the healthiest options available: for example, skim milk or sugar substitute.

Turn pizza from a very unhealthy choice into a more nutritional meal. A couple of little tricks are to load your pizza with vegetable toppings or if you are a meat lover, make sure to use lean meat like chicken or turkey.

Good nutrition can go a long way in relieving some of the common discomforts of pregnancy. Avoid fried foods, excessive spices and too many fatty foods to help combat the heartburn that often comes along when you are pregnant. Eat fiber rich foods to increase intestinal movement and avoid constipation.

Try to eat foods that are high in fiber right before eating full meals because they will help you to eat much less than you would have otherwise. A good example of that is eating an apple before each meal, since apples are very high in fiber.

Cobalt is an important part of any diet, as it helps the body metabolize B vitamins. It can be found in dark green leafy vegetables like spinach. If you can stand to eat them, organs such as kidneys, hearts and livers are the best source for cobalt.

Going fishing in waters that one knows are free from pollutants and are clean can be a fun way to yield fresh fish to supplement ones diet. The fish which can be eaten that day, frozen, or preserved are a healthy food to supplement ones diet with a good nutritional option.

When trying to diet, an easier way to do it is to add fruit and vegetables rather than trying to remove other foods. Nutritionists recommend 5-9 servings of plants every day, which will get your body the vitamins it needs and satisfy hunger that might otherwise have been filled with fast food.

Slow down and savor your food when you are eating. Eating slowly will allow you to sense when your body is full and let you stop eating. If you eat quickly, you may miss the cues that signal you are full and you will consume too many calories which can lead to weight gain.

Exercising involves mind strength, commitment and endurance. These factors deal more with mental strength, rather than physical. This pretty much means that your mental state plays a major role in an effective exercise regimen. Understanding this will help you to maximize your body physically and mentally.

When you apply the basic principles of nutrition, you maximize the quality of the fuel you feed your body. This is an important step in your overall health and wellness plan. Like using the proper fuel in you car, proper nutrition can optimize the overall performance of your body. Remember, don’t live to eat, instead, eat to live!

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