Your quick reference to the basics of nutrition

nutrition 101
Here’s a summary of the basics about nutrition. You can use this chart to learn what each nutrient does and where to find it. For more information about how much to have of each nutrient, talk with your doctor or dietitian.


TypeWhat you need to knowSources
• Carbohydrates are part of a healthful diet. They supply energy to your body.Fruits, Vegetables, Grains • Milk and yogurt • Dry beans and peas.
Fiber• May lower your risk of heart disease and helps your digestive system run smoothly.• Fruits • Vegetables • Whole grains • Dry beans and peas.
Sugars• Some sugars occur naturally in foods that are important in a healthy diet.• Fruits • Milk.
Added Sugars• Some foods and drinks are sweetened with added sugars and syrups. (See page 328 for a list of names of added sugars.) • Added sugars provide calorie and no additional nutrients. • Choosing foods and drinks with little-added sugars may help you reduce calories and help with weight control.• Regular soft drinks • Candy • Cakes, cookies, and pies • Fruit drinks • Ice cream • Sweetened yogurt and sweetened grains such as sweetened cereals (These foods provide nutrients but may not be the best choices because of extra calories from added sugars.)


TypeWhat you need to knowSources
Protein• Plays an important role in many body structures and functions.• Meat • Poultry • Fish and shellfish • Eggs • Nuts • Peanut butter • Seeds • Dry beans and peas • Tofu • Soybeans • Vegetarian burgers

Fats - Heart-Healthy Fats—Unsaturated Fats (Best for Your Heart)

TypeWhat you need to knowSources
Monounsaturated fat• It can lower your blood cholesterol level.• Nuts • Canola oil • Olive oil • High oleic safflower oil (“High oleic” means the oil has a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids.) • Sunflower oil
Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (a type of polyunsaturated fat)• They help your body work well. If you already have heart disease, they may protect your heart.• Walnuts • Flaxseed • Salmon • Trout • Herring • Soybean oil • Canola oil
Polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids (a type of polyunsaturated fat)They help your body work well (when they replace saturated fat).• Corn oil • Soybean oil • Safflower oil

Fats - Heart-Harmful Fats (Worst for Your Heart)

Type of fatWhat you need to knowSources
Saturated fat• It can increase your blood fat levels. This can raise your heart disease risk.• Bacon • Butter • Coconut • Whole milk products • Lard • Fatty cuts of meat • Palm oil
Trans fats, also called trans fatty acids• They can increase your blood fat levels. This can raise your heart disease risk.• Foods made with partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils. • Foods in which trans fats occur naturally, such as butter, milk products, cheese, beef, and lamb
Cholesterol• It can increase your blood fat levels. This can raise your heart disease risk.• High-fat milk products, such as cheese, ice cream, and whole milk • Egg yolks • Liver • Meat • Poultry


NameWhat you need to knowSources
Folic acid (folate)• It helps make and maintain new cells and can help lower the risk of some birth defects.• Fortified foods, such as enriched pieces of bread, cereals, and pasta • Dry beans and peas • Spinach, collard greens, and other leafy green vegetables • Orange juice
Vitamin A• It’s important for your vision. It also helps your body fight infections.• Carrot juice • Sweet potatoes • Carrots • Spinach • Collards
Vitamin C• It helps with repair of your body.• Guavas • Red sweet peppers • Oranges • Orange juice • Green peppers • Grapefruit juice
Vitamin D• It helps your body create and maintain strong bones.• Sunshine. Your body can make vitamin D after your skin is exposed to sunlight without sunscreen for 10 to 15 minutes twice a week. But be sure to use sunscreen after your 15 minutes of exposure and at all other times. Eat foods with vitamin D throughout the year. • Salmon • Shrimp • Milk fortified with vitamin D (Most milk is fortified.)
Previous Post Next Post