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Nutrition for Greater Health

Focus on Macronutrients

Macronutrients and how to modulate your nutrition for greater health and cognitive function.

Healthy Nutrition Basics

What comes to mind when you think of your basic needs? Perhaps you think about things like air, food, water, shelter, or sleep. While everyone’s nutritional needs and circumstances are different, there are a few “healthy basics” that are important for most people, regardless of dietary approach. We talk about some of these elements in more detail in the following section.
Select each healthy basic to learn more.

Water is the nutrient we need to consume the most. In fact, the human body is made of around 60% water! Adequate hydration is important for bodily fluid formation (e.g., saliva), nutrient and waste transport, temperature regulation, and joint lubrication. There’s no exact requirement for daily water intake, but aiming for eight 8-ounce cups of fluid per day is a good rule of thumb. It’s important to honor thirst cues as well as replace any fluids lost after illness, extreme heat, or intense physical activity. Focus on hydrating with several caffeine-free beverages daily. Herbal teas and water infused with fruit or herbs are delicious options to try.

No single food can provide all the nutrients your body needs. That’s why it’s important to eat a variety of foods across all food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy (if consumed), and protein. In fact, dietary diversity is linked to an abundance of health-boosting bacteria in your gut.

Variety also adds more enjoyment to meals. Imagine all the possible new dishes and flavors! To start, perhaps consider the foods you eat most often. Are there other fruits, vegetables, grains, or protein sources you’d like to taste? The next time you purchase food, take these ideas with you and choose one or two new items. If you’re unsure how to prepare them, there are many free recipes and resources available online.

Diversity In Vegetables, Not Quantity, Is The Key To Gut Health PDF

Nutrient density is the amount of nutrients a food has in comparison to the amount of energy, or calories, it contains. For example, one cup of blueberries and one serving of crackers (about five) both contain approximately 85 calories. While the crackers provide carbohydrates, they don’t compare to the nutrition offered by the blueberries, which contain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. This highlights the importance of “eating the rainbow PDF,” or including a variety of colors in nutrient-dense plant-based foods.

A nutrient-dense diet includes macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and phytonutrients (such as the carotenoids in carrots and spinach). All these nutrients provide significant health benefits, including protection from disease.

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Nutrient Density Basics PDF

Eating The Rainbow PDF

Focusing on hydration, dietary variety, and nutrient density will build a strong foundation for the body’s immune system. An added layer of immune support is gained with key vitamins and minerals that promote immune cell growth or regulate the immune system. For instance, studies have linked vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin found in egg yolks and fatty fish, to a reduced risk of autoimmune conditions and illnesses like the flu. Another way to support immunity with nutrition is via the gut microbiome, the primary location of immune cells. For most people, eating foods that contain prebiotics and probiotics is a great place to start.

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Gut Microbiome 101: Improve Your Gut Health to Improve Your Immunity PDF

Nutrition For Immunity PDF

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