Nutrition Knowledge We All Need

An array of vegetables in trays

Do you really know what’s going into your body? Each day every person across the world intakes hundreds if not thousands of calories. This caloric supply provides the energy that your body needs to function properly. But all calories are not created equal. There are dozens of vital nutrients that need to be accounted for in your daily consumption, and leaving some out of your diet could cause some serious repercussions for your body. Read on to learn more about what you should have in your diet. 

Macronutrients: Go Big or Go Home

Carbohydrates. Protein. Water. Fats. These are the big four of nutrition because you need relatively large quantities of each in your diet. A lot of people will be familiar with these categories, as they are featured callouts on any given nutrition label. Some of them — like water — might be obvious. We all know we need water to survive because an adult’s body is made of up to 60% water. Others are more controversial and have been subjected to criticism in the age of fad diets and restrictive eating. Reducing fats and/or carbohydrates has become a hallmark of diet culture, an overgeneralized recommendation for losing weight.

What many people fail to realize is how important these nutrients are and how unsustainable it is to remove them from the body long-term. Carbohydrates are essential in providing energy and fats can help absorb vitamins, reduce inflammation and preserve brain health. When looking to make major changes for any of these macronutrients, be sure to do so safely and consult a licensed professional.

Micronutrients: Small but Mighty 

There are way more nutrients than just the big four. But is it really worth it to sweat the small stuff? While way less of them are needed, micronutrients are still essential for the body and neglecting these key vitamins and minerals can cause a wide variety of serious negative implications.

So what exactly are these mysterious micros? Some of the most common ones include calcium, potassium, sodium, and vitamin C. But there are also lesser-known nutrients that are just as important, like selenium, manganese, and eight — yes, eight! — forms of vitamin B. It’s a lot to keep track of, but striking the right balance of micronutrients can be a key component of improving your healthy lifestyle. A professional can help identify which areas are lacking and provide tools to ensure your body is getting everything it needs, including options for FDA approved supplements and multivitamins. 

How to Find a Helping Hand 

That’s a lot to digest. If you need someone to guide you through the ins and outs of nutrition, you’re not alone. Many people seek help from an experienced professional when faced with questions or concerns about their eating habits. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN) is an expert in the field who has attended an accredited university with an approved curriculum, completed a rigorous internship and gained their license. These certified providers are able to cater to your personal experiences with nutrition and answer questions regarding: 

  • Digestive problems 
  • Gaining or losing weight 
  • Diabetes, high blood pressure or other chronic diseases
  • Maintaining a healthy pregnancy
  • Practical lifestyle advice 
  • Cooking simple, healthful meals 
  • Specialized treatment for an aging parent or teenager
  • Care for eating disorders 
  • Support with gastric bypass surgery 
  • And more…

If you’re looking for compassionate guidance from a registered dietitian in Southern Maryland, UM Charles Regional is accepting patients as young as 5 years old at locations in La Plata and Waldorf. Learn more online or call 301-870-4100 to make an appointment. 

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