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Healthy Eating, Nutrition, and Exercise Plan

Essay by   •  October 18, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  1,754 Words (8 Pages)  •  980 Views

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Healthy Eating, Nutrition, and Exercise Plan

A healthy eating, nutrition and exercise plan is something that has to be worked at constantly throughout a person's life. As people age, nutrition needs will change. For instance, a young child needs the fat from whole milk for brain development and calcium to prevent bone deformities, but an older person is better off with milk that is one or two percent fat as the fat is no longer needed for brain development. Furthermore, while the calcium is still essential, it is not needed to protect against bone deformities, but to prevent osteoporosis. For these reasons milk can be part of a good diet throughout life. Alternatively, in the case of someone who has difficulty digesting the lactose enzyme in milk, either due to a lifelong issue with lactose intolerance or as a result of aging, it may become necessary to add supplements such as calcium pills fortified with vitamin D to obtain the health benefits that could otherwise be provided through the consumption of milk (Chapter 9, "Calcium is the Most Abundant Mineral in the Body," 2006). Additionally, to ensure that a variety of vitamins are consumed, it is necessary to periodically review the diet to be certain that all vitamins are represented in the adequate amounts by the foods consumed on a regular basis. This is where a tool such as the SuperTracker, found on the United States Department of Agriculture website, is extraordinarily beneficial (United States Department of Agriculture, n.d.). The program provides information on how many calories people should ingest daily based on their level of activity as well as sections to record foods consumed, exercise routines, and notes on how moods affected or were affected by the foods consumed and physical activities performed. To reap the most benefits from this site, there are reports that can be generated that specifically indicate the exact types of fruits, vegetables, protein sources, grains and dairy products missing from the diet. With these reports, it is easy to compare data from day to day, week to week and month to month, and, if necessary, make changes to nutritional intake and physical activity to achieve optimal health, barring any issues with diseases or conditions that diet and exercise may not directly affect.

Comparisons between Week One and Week Nine: Nutrients

According to the SuperTracker, a person with my active lifestyle should consume 2,200 calories each day, with 10 to 35% coming from protein, 45 to 65% from carbohydrates and 20 to 35% from fat (United States Department of Agriculture, n.d.). Since week one of this project, I have worked hard to get my nutrient intake to the appropriate levels. A review of Tables 1 and 2, found at the end of this report, clearly shows that some necessary dietary changes have been made over the last nine weeks. Total protein intake was in the correct range at the beginning and remains as such. My carbohydrate intake was at 40%, which was under, but is now at 52%, which is right in the middle of the suggested range. The total caloric intake from fat was high at 38%, and is now perfect at 25%. The amount of linoleic acid and α-linoleic acid in my diet remains below the targets and will require monitoring. The final nutrient listed on the report is cholesterol. This should be consumed in amounts not to exceed 300 milligrams per day. In the first week, the daily average was 338 milligrams; however, in the final week this came down to 67 milligrams per day. I am pleased with my progress where the major nutrients are concerned.

Comparisons between Week One and Week Nine: Minerals

Many of the minerals were being consumed in amounts that were below the targets, and remain in the under category. However, there have been improvements, just not enough. Calcium and potassium are still below, but both are better. Iron and magnesium were low to begin with and are actually even lower now, but I have always struggled with iron levels, which is why I take a daily iron supplement. Sodium, copper, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc have always been consumed in amounts that are considered healthy. We only need most of these minerals in small amounts, thus making the adjustments required to reach the daily minimums should not be challenging.

Comparisons between Week One and Week Nine: Vitamins

My vitamin consumption is all over the place. This is one area in particular where I thought I would see vast improvement, but was surprised to learn that I have not made much progress. In fact, I am further away from reaching the targets than I was at the onset. Vitamins A and K are the only vitamins showing some improvement, but they are still not being consumed in high enough quantities. Vitamins B6, C and niacin were represented adequately since day one. Interestingly, vitamin E and riboflavin did not need

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