You Are What You Eat: Learning Good Nutrition
St Merkorious Charity is passionate about relieving food insecurity, and more importantly, relieving food insecurity with healthy, delicious and nutritious food. Maintaining good nutrition will feed the body, mind, and spirit, and provide health benefits that will extend into far into the future. We understand that for many of vulnerable individuals and families, accessing fresh and nutritious ingredients can be expensive and unaffordable.
Additionally, for those who don’t speak English well, or who have just arrived in Australia, knowing where to buy traditional or cultural ingredients can prove to be additional challenges to maintaining their diets and ensuring proper nutrition.
But why is maintaining good nutrition so important?
Nutrition as the Master Key to Human Health
Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. There is no question that good nutrition is the key to a long and healthy life. Making smart nutrition choices will not only improve your overall health, but reduce your risk of developing major diseases in the future.
What you eat affects everything in your body, from your appearance to your health. This is why sustaining your body with the right nutritional needs is crucial. Nutrition promotes the overall well-being of your body by providing it with the energy it needs to support growth, healing, and all body systems. A healthy diet has more impact than you might think; keeping your body healthy means keeping your body nourished!
Our food should be our medicine, and our medicine should be our food. – Hippocrates
The Definition of Good Nutrition
Good nutrition means your body gets all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work its best. Feeding your body with things that will give it the fluids, protein, fats, vitamins, fibre, and food energy that it needs is the first step to ensuring that you can function at 100% at all times.
In the community, mentions of ‘healthy diets’ usually refer to a diet filled with fibre, vegetables, fruits, protein and healthy fats. In recent years, the Mediterranean diet has often been referred to as the best diet for healthy eating due to being rich in fresh and flavourful ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, nuts, and heart-healthy fats, and avoiding fried, highly-processed foods, added sugars, and red meat.
The Benefits Of Good Nutrition
The first step many nutritionists will tell you to maintain good nutrition is to avoid red meats and processed meats. Studies have indicated that these increase the risk of diabetes, with eating just one 3-ounce serving of red meat daily increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes by 20%. Eating just two slices of bacon increases the diabetes risk by 51%.
Moreover, eating a balanced diet can also lower cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cardiologists often refer to the Mediterranean diet as the best diet for heart health because it lowers the risk of having a stroke and coronary heart disease.
Along with increasing your heart health, a balanced diet also supports a well-built immune system. If you don’t have the right balance of nutrients in your diet, your risk of developing certain conditions and illnesses increases.
Providing Good Nutrition through Food and Classes
For the past few years, St Merkorious Charity has been providing nutrition and health classes in Arabic to our clients before our Fairfield community meal, inviting a professional nutritionist to teach our mainly Arabic-speaking community members how to maintain good nutrition and a healthy diet.
This is especially important for many newly settled migrants and refugees, who are unfamiliar with our Australian staples compared to their native foods and markets. Our classes helped them avoid experiencing bad nutrition because they are unaware of how to buy, cook and eat Australian ingredients and food. Our classes also helped many find ways to purchase foods that they needed to maintain their culture and religion, such as Halal or kosher ingredients.
We want to continue supporting our community, and we look forward to increasing our classes and including education in diabetes, heart disease, mental health and family harmony. Eating well is a form of self-respect, and we want to empower our clients to confidently maintain good nutrition for better health and a brighter future!