Eating Well for Good Health

Did you know you grow fast during your teen years? In fact, you grow faster during your teen years than any other time of life except infancy. Your body needs good nutrition during these years. You need to give your body the right kind of "fuel" to grow on.

Good nutrition means eating nourishing foods. These are foods that give your body what it needs. There are more than forty nutrients that are needed for good health. Different nutrients help you in different ways. Some give you energy. Others help your body work properly. Nutrients can be grouped into six main groups. They are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. In addition to these six, your body also needs fiber.

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body. Simple carbohydrates, or sugars, are found in fruits, milk, and table sugar. Starchy foods such as bread, rice, and pasta are complex carbohydrates. Digestion breaks them down into simple sugars. The fiber in starchy foods helps the digestive process. To give your body the good food it needs, choose lots of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Choose food and drinks that have little or no added sugar. Adding sugar adds calories but not much else. Eating whole fruits is better than drinking fruit juice. Your body needs the fiber found in whole foods.

Fiber is needed by your body in quite a few ways. It keeps your heart healthy. It can reduce your risk of getting diabetes later in life. Doctors believe it may reduce your risk of getting other diseases, too. It makes you feel full so you eat less. This helps you keep a healthy weight. It helps your intestines process your food more quickly and easily.

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