What do humans need to stay healthy?

Your body is amazing! Find out how eating well and staying active can make us feel good and help stop us getting sick.

Searcher, one of the Eat Move Learn team, dressed up as a doctorGet ready to learn about some of the amazing parts of your body, from the clever brain that helps you think and learn, to the powerful heart that pumps blood to every corner of your body.

But that’s not all. You’ll also learn about keeping all these parts of your body healthy. So let’s dive into what humans need to stay healthy.

How can I keep my brain healthy?

Your brain is like a super-smart computer inside your head. It’s in charge of making sure your body works smoothly, even when you’re fast asleep!

Your brain helps you think, learn, talk and remember things. It even controls important jobs like breathing, digesting food and pumping blood around your body. Plus, it releases special chemicals called hormones that help you grow and develop.

You can keep your brain healthy by eating a balanced diet filled with:

  • At least 5 portions of different vegetables and fruit every day. The different vitamins and minerals help your brain to work at its best.
  • Starchy food such as wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta, brown rice, and oats – they give your brain energy.
  • Oily fish such as salmon, and some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts. They’re full of omega-3, which your brain loves.
  • At least 6–8 glasses of water every day. Drinking water helps your brain stay sharp and focused. Otherwise, you might feel tired and forgetful.

And guess what? Exercise is just as important for your brain as it is for the rest of your body. It helps you concentrate at school, remember things and feel good.

How can I keep my heart healthy?

Did you know your heart is a muscle? Yep, that’s right! Your heart pumps blood around your body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to your organs and other muscles to help them work properly.

Your heart is around the size of your fist and can beat more than 110,000 times a day. It may be small, but it works hard.

Because your heart is a muscle, it needs exercise to be healthy. So make sure to exercise for 60 minutes every day. You can do fun activities such as skipping, dancing, playing sports, running around or walking to school.

Eating the right food is also important for your heart:

  • Eat at least 5 portions of different vegetables and fruit every day.
  • Don’t eat too many foods with a lot of saturated fat (a type of fat you should eat less of) because this is not good for your heart. Saturated fat is found in foods such as crisps, biscuits, chocolate, milkshakes, ice cream and fried food such as chips.
  • Eat more food with unsaturated fat (a type of fat you should eat more of) because this is good for your heart. This fat is found in food such as nuts, seeds, avocado and oily fish such as salmon.
  • Don’t drink energy drinks – choose water as your go-to drink.

How can I keep my lungs healthy?

Your body is made up of trillions of cells that need oxygen to work properly. And the job of your lungs is to breathe in oxygen and take it to all of your cells to use! Your lungs also remove carbon dioxide from your body, making them your body’s own air cleaners!

Keeping active helps your lungs stay healthy, so play and move for at least 60 minutes every day. You can walk or ride your bike to school, skip, dance, play sports or just run around and have fun.

How can I keep my digestive system healthy?

Your digestive system is like a team of workers in your body that help break down what you eat and drink into different nutrients. Your body uses these nutrients for energy and to help it work at its best. It all starts in your mouth by chewing, then the food travels down a tube called the oesophagus, into your stomach, then through your small intestines and finally into your large intestines. Along the way, your body absorbs the nutrients it needs. Anything leftover is removed through your poo.

Did you know that you have a community of trillions of bacteria in your digestive system? They are there to support your health, especially your tummy. They love to snack on fibre from all the high-fibre foods in your diet such as vegetables, fruit, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, seeds, brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta … cool right?

But what is fibre? It’s a type of carbohydrate that helps keep your tummy healthy. You can keep your digestive system healthy by eating a balanced diet filled with high-fibre foods.

It is also important to drink 6–8 glasses of water a day, and exercise. Water and movement help your food move through your digestive system more easily.

How can I keep my muscles healthy?

You have more than 600 muscles in your body? How amazing is that!

Muscles support different parts of your body to move, such as helping you kick a ball with your legs, or catch with your arms.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet with lots of protein can help your muscles stay strong and healthy. Protein that your muscles LOVE is found in:

  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Tofu
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt

Plus, running, playing sports, dancing and lots of other activities help keep your muscles strong. Don’t forget to stretch too – stretching stops your muscles from feeling too tight or achy.

How can I keep my bones healthy?

Do you want to know something super cool? Babies are born with around 300 bones. But as you grow into an adult, these bones join together to make around 206 bones!

Your bones are strong and help to hold your body together. The bones in your ribcage support your organs, such as your heart and lungs, keeping them protected inside your body.

To keep your bones healthy and strong, it’s important to eat a special mineral called calcium. Calcium is found in:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Figs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Tofu
  • Leafy greens such as spinach and kale

And don’t forget about vitamin D, which helps your body use calcium properly. You can get it from being in the sun in spring and summer (April to September). But always remember to wear sunscreen and a hat, and seek shade when you’re outside. You can also get vitamin D from eggs and oily fish.

Another important thing you can do is stay active! Running, jumping, dancing and playing sports help keep your bones strong. Remember to warm up before you exercise.

How can I keep my skin healthy?

The largest organ in your body is … your skin! You may not think of your skin as an organ, but it’s super important. It wraps around and guards everything inside you. Imagine if we didn’t have skin – your muscles, bones and organs would be all over the place. Plus it:

  • Protects your body from germs and stops other harmful things getting inside your body.
  • Helps you stay the right body temperature.
  • Lets you feel things with your sense of touch.

To take care of your skin, it’s super important to put on sunscreen when you’re outside. The sun is awesome because it helps plants grow and gives your body vitamin D, which is great for your bones and overall health. But sometimes it can be too strong and hurt your skin. Wearing sunscreen is like a magical shield that stops your skin from burning under the sun’s powerful rays. So put on that sunscreen and have a blast outside.

Eat Move Learn logoFrom brain to skin, your body has lots of different parts that all team up together to make sure you are a healthy human! Eating a healthy diet, staying active and keeping safe in the sun is super important for helping all the different parts of your body work well AND to make sure you become a healthy adult one day.