Healthy Living - Why is Proper Nutrition so Important?

By Liza Maricle, BSN, RN
Supervisor, Clinical Support

For many, gone are the days of sitting around the table to a fresh home-cooked meal. Due to the high demands on our time, rushing here and there, many individuals and families have little time to plan and prepare a healthy home-cooked meal. The answer to this may be a quick trip through the drive-thru at the nearest fast food establishment to grab a quick bite while driving to the next scheduled event. You may ask yourself, “What’s the harm in this? At least I am eating.” Our bodies need more than the quick, often greasy meals that fast food has to offer. Our bodies run more efficiently with proper nutrients found in fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables.

There is a long-time saying that “you are what you eat.” The same saying could be said that “you feel as good as the food you fuel with.” For example, did you know that many foods cause inflammation? According to Medical News Today, there are several food items that lead to inflammation, such as the processed foods acquired from fast food restaurants that are fried during preparation, food that contains sugar, and processed carbohydrates¹. The inflammation that is caused by these quick and easy fixes can lead to discomfort in the joints and many other preventable health-related issues. So, what can be done to prevent this? Plan and prepare for the week ahead.

Because poor nutrition can leave you feeling tired and worn out, not to mention achy with each movement, it seems worth the while to spend a little bit of time and invest in proper health.

  1. Begin with planning ahead. Your planning may start with looking at the week ahead and asking yourself what meals and cook time would work best for each day.
  2. Take that list and break it down into ingredients to pick up at the grocery. You may also choose grab-and-go items, such as nuts and fruit, healthy proteins, and vegetables to take on the go.
  3. If time allows, prepare a few meals over the weekend, or you can even prepare enough food in one meal for leftovers.
  4. Be sure to select healthy food items, staying away from processed foods. These items can include healthy oils such as olive, avocado, and coconut oil, fresh or frozen vegetables, nuts like walnuts and almonds, leafy greens, fish and chicken, and fruits. There are so many options it is almost impossible to get bored with healthy eating!

As a Nurse Educator at VMS, I see the negative impact of those easy-to-obtain meals that are consumed out of convenience. Although I do not desire to spend my entire day in the kitchen, I do understand the need to fuel my body with what it needs. I try as much as possible to share with others the major difference of how my body performs when I eat well: my mind has clarity, I sleep better, and my physical performance is enhanced during exercise. Furthermore, I know that I am doing well to keep the parts of my being on the inside – such as my heart, joints, and digestive tract – healthy so I can avoid the chronic diseases that accompany poor eating habits. Happy eating!

Liza Maricle has been a registered nurse for over 16 years and has been a member of the VMS BioMarketing team for five years. She received her BSN from Walden University and is currently pursuing an MSN in nurse education

Resources

¹ Medical News Today. Everything You Need to Know About Inflammation. November 2017.
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php Accessed January 29, 2019