Eating Healthy Food
Healthy Food is What Growing Bodies Need
Written for the KidsKnowIt Network by: Meredith Tennant
Your body is made up of billions of individual cells,each specially designed to perform its own job. Whether it is a liver cell, a skin cell, a nerve cell, a blood cell or any other type of cell that exists in your body, it needs to be well nourished in order to do its job to the best of its ability. Every one of your cells needs water, oxygen, and nutrients in order to live and work.The nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. These essential ingredients are carried in the blood to your cells, but where do they come from?
Well, water comes from water, obviously. And the best drink for you is plain, clean water. Sugary drinks like sodas give you water but also processed sugar, which contains many calories. We need calories, which are units of energy that our bodies burn, but taking in more calories than we need will make us fat.
Oxygen comes from the air that you breathe. It passes into the lungs as you breathe in, and from the lungs it goes into the blood. Each drop of blood contains millions of red blood cells and every one of those red blood cells carries molecules of oxygen that get transferred to all the other cells in your body. Running around in the fresh air is the best way to fill your body with great oxygen. Stale air in closed rooms has less oxygen, so isn’t as good for you to breathe.
Carbohydrates come mainly from grains like wheat or rice, and from beans. The body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars. Your brain runs on sugar, so it makes sense to give it the best kind, the kind that is naturally in foods like rice, potatoes,whole grain bread, and vegetables and fruits. This type of sugar, known as complex sugar, is absorbed into the body slowly, which gives you energy over a long time.Simple sugar, like the white sugar you see in most sugar bowls, has been processed.The body uses it up immediately. It doesn’t do you any good.
Proteins come from meat, fish, poultry,milk, and eggs. Your body uses protein to build new cells,particularly muscle cells, so, if you want to be strong, you know what to eat!
We need a certain amount of fat to keep our internal organs warm, and to provide energy when we exercise. We can get good fats from nuts, avocados, olives, milk, cheese, and some types of fish, but it is important not to eat too much as it can make us overweight.
Vitamins and minerals are found in most foods, especially vegetables and fruits. Our bodies only need small amounts, but they tend not to stay in the body long, so we needto eat foods containing lots of vitamins and minerals everyday.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘junk food’. Can you guess what it means?
It means food that has had most of the goodness taken out of it before it even gets to your mouth. Your poor cells: there they are, eagerly waiting to receive some great nutrients so they can make you strong and healthy, but what happens when all you give them is junk? They can only build junk.
So, eat that spinach! Ignore those chips! Give your body something good to work with!
Do you know all the food groups?
Which healthy food is your favorite?