• Health Corner: What is the Nutrition Pyramid?

    Friday, November 24th, 2017

    by Kathy Williams, Diet Counselor

    For those who don’t know, the nutrition pyramid is an easy-to-understand nutrition guide shaped like a triangle and divided into different categories showing the recommended amounts to be eaten for each food group.

    nutrition-pyramidThe nutrition pyramid is a simple and straightforward approach for learning about recommended healthy food items and number of servings to be eaten per day.

    The typical nutrition pyramid contains five main food groups along with listings of the minimum recommended servings per day for each. The pyramid format makes dietary guidelines easy to understand for everyone.

    The fundamental idea of this system is to encourage people to eat an abundance of green vegetables, whole grains and fresh fruits. When people can understand basic nutrition guidelines through the use of a pyramid diagram, they are more inclined to follow its recommendations.

    Typically, these food guide charts lay out in specific terms the amount of calories per serving of food. Following the recommendations of the nutrition pyramid can make it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

    People can feel more at ease when they use a nutrition pyramid, because it’s recommendations are the result of years of research into the best dietary guidelines. Many health experts advise their clients and patients about the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and obesity through the use of a food chart or pyramid.

    A nutrition pyramid diagram is an easy and reliable means of improving your eating habits and health. Of course, proper nutrition must be combined with regular exercise in order to achieve the full benefit of better eating habits.

    A Food Pyramid for Better Nutrition

    Most food pyramids that you see these days divide nutrition in to protein, grains, fruits, and vegetables and fats. These food groups are categorized in an easy-to-understand order for the benefit of those people who lack knowledge about the calorie content of many foods.

    food-pyramidIn order to lose weight effectively and develop a healthy body, simply following the advice of a nutrition chart in pyramid form won’t be enough. Getting healthy requires a long term plan and the discipline to stick with it.

    Unhealthy habits like eating sweets, drinking too much and smoking cigarettes are all obstacles to better health. Adopting healthier lifestyle habits is a major step forward if you want to live a long and disease-free life.

    Try to drink eight glasses of pure mineral water per day to help flush out toxins and waste products from your body. It’s also vital that you get enough sleep each night, as a good night’s rest prepares you for the day ahead.

    Eating a raw foods diet is another good way to lose weight and improve your overall health. Your digestion will improve and your hair and skin will look much better when they receive the important vitamins and minerals they need.

    Harvard University’s Healthy Eating Pyramid

    The Healthy Eating Pyramid designed by Harvard University is a simple, easy-to-follow and trustworthy guide to creating a healthy diet for you and your family. Its basic foundation revolves around daily exercise and weight control, since these two factors strongly influence a person’s chances of staying healthy.

    harvard-healthy-eating-pyramidThe Healthy Eating Pyramid teaches people to eat more foods from the bottom part of the pyramid (e.g. whole grains and vegetables) and fewer from the top part (e.g. red meat, potatoes, refined flour, sugar and salt).

    Most of us use a plate to eat our meals. Therefore, in tandem with the Healthy Eating Pyramid comes the Healthy Eating Plate.

    Think of this plate as a road map for creating a healthy meal. Start by filling half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables – the more variety, the better. Reserve a quarter of your plate for unrefined whole grains. Good sources of protein like poultry, fish, beans, or nuts can make up the final quarter.

    The glass bottle on the Healthy Eating Pyramid is a reminder to use healthy oils like olive and canola. This goes for cooking or in salad dressings.

    The healthiest beverage is a glass of pure water. For those who prefer something else, tea or coffee with little or no added sugar is OK.

    One other important thing to keep in mind: staying active is half the battle in your quest to stay thin and maintain a healthy weight. The other half is consuming a healthy diet with portions that meet your calorie needs without overeating.

    Portion control is another important aspect of successful weight loss. Avoid eating from a plate that’s too big. Simply put, it’s easier to control your portions when eating from a smaller plate.

    In summary, understanding the importance of proper eating habits through the use of a nutrition pyramid is vital to living a healthier lifestyle. There are many sample nutrition charts online and other health web sites can provide you with greater details on this basic yet indispensable health tip.

    (published November 10, 2011)