Last Update:Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Importance of Nutrition for Living


Why nutrition is important?

Nutrition is the supply of quality food required by human cells to stay healthy and alive. All the organs in our body perform the desired function due to the presence of healthy cells that are constantly being repaired, replaced and rejuvenated by circulating stem cells in our blood stream.Good nutrition strengths the human cells to perform their functions in our body. 

Importance of nutrients in our body is a great topic to be understood by many in our modern society. One of the most critical issues faced in modern civilization is malnutrition.

Be it malnutrition due to poverty and shortage of food as faced in poor countries, or witness substandard nutrition problems common to the other parts of the world, we find horrible sufferings caused by the way we consume food ourselves.

Therefore, due to ignorance and lack of interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle standard of our own bodies, we are slowly bringing ourselves to the point of lower life expectancy

For the past fifty years, medical science has had an upper hand in the civilized world where any nutrition claim not proved scientifically, it is treated as invalid and unworthy of anyone’s attention.

Foodstuff manufacturing giant organisations have taken advantage of this phenomenon and flooded the markets with tasty artificial foods. Thus most of us had fallen prey to these so called quick readymade processed foods.

There is now a gradual shift in the thinking. People have understood that the only person responsible in each one of us is our own self, and that consumer realises that he is what he eats.

Consumers have also realised that food does not nourish the physical body alone, but also mind and consciousness which cannot be divided from the physical self.

Fortunately, our modern society has now realised the importance of nutrition for healthy life and with this in mind we now would like to elaborate about what nutrition is and why is it important to all of us.

So let us get in to much more details on,
The Importance of Nutrition for living…

Nutrition for our body is derived by consuming a balanced diet containing all the needed nutrients by our body in a day that helps us stay mentally and physically healthy.


Remember….

What you eat today

                      Walks and talks

                                         Tomorrow…..
   
Therefore, nutrition is the study of nutrients in food, how the body uses these nutrients, and the relationship between diet, health, and disease.

Nutritionists recommend that in order to stay healthy one need to have a balanced diet. It is a diet selected to give the daily requirements of the following nutrients to our body.

What nutrients are included in a healthy diet? (Fast facts on nutrients)


Nutrients are classified into two categories like Micro Nutrients and Macro Nutrients.


Micro Nutrients

They are nutrients required in very small quantities. This is because our body uses them directly without breaking them down. Whereas the nutrients like proteins and carbohydrates are essentially broken down. Our body does not manufacture them and is required to consume through our daily intake of food. They are Vitamins and minerals.


                   Micro Nutrients like         
·         Vitamins – Provide a source of materials for growth and repair   
·         Minerals – Provide nourishment for healthy teeth, bones, muscles etc. 

Macro Nutrients

They are nutrients required in large quantities to our body for delivering the necessary energy and calories. This helps growth, metabolism and for other functions of our body. They are Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats and dietary fibber.

Macro Nutrients like
·         Carbohydrates – Provide the source of energy.
·         Proteins – Are building blocks for growth and repair.
·         Fats – Provide energy and absorbs certain fat soluble vitamins to maintain the body temperatures.
·         Fibre – are required to help your intestines function correctly; it is not digested
·         Water – helps body from dehydration.



Micro nutrients – Vitamins

There are so far 13 vitamins identified that are essentially required by our body on a daily basis. There are two types of Vitamins.

v  Fat soluble vitamins



Vitamins

Benefits
Vitamin AGood for eyes, growth, bone development
Beta carotene acts as a powerful antioxidant
Vitamin DBone development and stronger teeth
Helps calcium absorption
Vitamin EAntioxidant - protects body cells from damage
Helps maintain normal RBC
Vitamin KHelps blood clotting
Bone development


v  Fat soluble vitamins


VitaminsBenefits
Vitamin B-B1,B2,B3,B5,B6,B9,B12Helps in breaking down of Carbohydrates and proteins and fats and energy production
Maintain a healthy skin
Maintain health nervous system
Helps develop Red Blood Cells.
Vitamin CHelps body cells to grow and stay healthy
Stronger defence system
Helps faster healing process
Acts as an antioxidant

Micro Nutrients – Minerals
  
Minerals are also required in small quantities for our body. Our body relies from external source. Therefore, it is essential that our food intake contain the necessary minerals required by our body. Listed are the minerals required on a daily basis to aid some

Minerals Benefits
IronCarrier of oxygen to various tissues
MagnesiumFor muscles, nerves and strengthen immune system
Stronger bones
CalciumStronger bones
ChromiumGlucose metabolism
PotassiumEssential for muscles and nervous system
Essential for heart and kidney function
Body fluid regulation
PhosphorousStronger bones and teeth
Converts the food in to energy
ZincQuickens healing of wounds
Supports body enzymes
SeleniumPrevents cell damage
CopperNecessary for iron absorption and works with iron to form red blood cells. Helps maintenance of bone, connective tissue, brain, heart, and many other body organs,
ManganeseIt helps formation of connective tissues, bones, initiating blood-clotting, and sex hormones and major contributor in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese also helps normal brain and nerve function.
ChromiumChromium helps form useful compounds with fatty acid and cholesterol that are important for brain function and other body processes.
MolybdenumIts main function is in removing toxins particularly from the metabolism of sulphur containing amino acids.


Macro Nutrients

Macro Nutrients are further classified under those that provide energy to our body and those that do not provide energy to our body.

Carbohydrates an energy macro nutrient (gives 4kcal per gram)

Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy. They contain the elements Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Most of the carbohydrates obtained from starch. Our digestive system converts the starch in to glucose. The tissues in our body use glucose. There is also another kind of carbohydrate called sucrose. These are bigger molecules and needs digestion and converted in to glucose.

Proteins an energy macro nutrient (gives 4kcal per gram)

These constitute 20% of our body weight next to water. Proteins are the body builders in our body. Our body cannot directly absorb proteins being macronutrients. Our digestive system converts them to amino acids that are absorbed by our body. These acids once again re-converted to proteins.

There are 22 different amino acids. Out of these 13 acids, our body makes without our knowledge. The balance nine relied from external sources. These are the essential amino acids. We must eat protein rich food to get these essential amino acids.

Our body needs on daily basis sufficient amount of proteins. Proteins meant for

  • Replacing old tissues  
  • Regulate water balance
  • Transport of nutrients
  • Creation of antibodies
  • Carry oxygen through blood.

Your daily requirement of proteins is equivalent to your weight in grams. This is the right amount of protein intake daily for every individual.  For instance, your weight is 70 kilograms; you need to consume daily 70 grams of protein.

Fats an energy macro nutrient (gives 9kcal per gram)

Fats are required for overall heath. They help in repair of old cells, hormone production, Vitamin D and bile acids.

There are two types of fats.
  • Bad Fats – Saturated fats
  • Good Fats – Unsaturated fats (essential fatty acids) Omega – 3 and Omega – 6
Our body can synthesize only the saturated fats where as the unsaturated fats need to be obtained from food source. Hence, we need obtain from food source.  

Fibre a non-energy macro nutrient

Fibre is equally essential to improve our intestinal health. Fibres are mostly available in plants. In plants, it is a carbohydrate to make their cell walls. It is roughage. You need to essentially consume foods; materials with higher fibre content or else you might end up with problems of constipation leading to problems of colon and rectum. The absence of fibre in the food creates problem of smooth movement of digested food through the intestines. The result is obvious discomfort in our bellies.

Relying on fresh fruits and vegetables is the best way to get all the above nutrients. We need to add servings of fruits in such a way that it comprises a minimum of five different coloured fruits. Include daily half-cooked or raw vegetables. Over cooked and spiced vegetable, destroy the phyto-nutrients present in them. This might sound impractical, but imagine the cost involved otherwise.

Water a non-energy macro nutrient    

Water occupies about 70 % of the non-fat mass of the body. Water is used by our body for performing various other processes.

There are no definite guide lines for the amount of water that need to be consumed by our body daily. The amount varies between 1 litre to 7 litres. This quantity is dependent on the individuals  body size, age, environmental temperatures, physical activity, different states of health, and dietary habits; for instance, somebody whose daily intake of salt is greater than 3.75 grams of salt or 1500 mg of sodium or 0.75 teaspoons, will have to drink more water than any other similar person.


You get all these nutrients by eating …..

  1. 30 whole eggs
  2. 4 avocados
  3. 150ml milk
  4. 1 cup lentils
  5. 1 cup cauliflower
  6. 2 cups green peas
  7. 7 oz. beef
  8. .66 cup sunflower seeds
  9. 0.5 of one prune
  10. 0.75 cup sweet potatoes
  11. 5.5 cup broccoli
  12. 10 whole dried apricots
  13. 1 orange
  14. 100 cups yoghurt
  15. 3 oz. almonds
  16. 0.5 cup spinach leaves
  17. 9 cups of cooked rice
  18. 2.5 pounds of chicken meat
  19. 3 cups of oat meal
  20. 1.25 pounds of white cheese
  21. 2 cups of peanuts

Above is the list of foods needed to be consumed in a day to satisfy the daily requirement of macro nutrients and micro nutrients for our body. This is considered as the balanced nutrition.


Just imagine the calories intake and the cost involved in getting these items. This is a hard way of eating.

So,    
                                                      
        “All foods contain nutrients but all nutrients are not present in one food”

You may manage to eat a “healthy” diet; however studies have indicated that it is absolutely impossible in a modern lifestyle full of activities, to get all the required nutrients, vitamins and minerals only from food we cook and eat. There was a paper byscientists from the food council in United States that the majority of the foodsconsumed by Americans had micronutrient insufficiency. 

How do we get all the macro and micro nutrients?


In order to minimize the nutrition gap created in our diet and build an optimal health we need to rely on natural nutrient supplements. 

Who needs nutrition supplements?


If you are healthy and eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and fish, required by your body daily, then you do not need supplements. 

But if your diet is not a nutritious one then you need to rely on supplements or fortified foods. Consumption of supplements might also be appropriate in some cases like:

-          Women who may become pregnant should consume at least 400 micrograms a day of folic acid from fortified foods or supplements, in addition to eating foods that naturally contain folates.

-          Women who are pregnant should consume vitamin that includes iron or a separate iron folic supplement.

-          Adults of age above 50 should eat foods fortified with vitamin B-12, such as fortified cereals, or take a multivitamin that contains B-12 or a separate B-12 supplement.

-          Adults above age 65 should consume 800 international units of vitamin D daily to reduce the risk of falls.


Dietary supplements also may be appropriate if you:

-          Are poor eater or in the habit of eating junk foods containing lesser calories than needed
-          Are a vegetarian who has the habit of consuming few varieties of vegetables and stick on the same type of preparation.
-          Follow altogether a different type of diet which is lacking a specific essential nutrient in their daily foods
-          Do not obtain two to three servings a week of seafood, which supplies omega-3 fatty acids for heart health
-          Have limited or no milk at all due to lactose intolerance or milk allergy. If you are staying away from enough dairy foods
-          Have heavy bleeding during your menstrual period
-          If you have problems, such as chronic diarrhoea, food allergies, food intolerance, or a disease of the liver, gallbladder, intestines or pancreas that normally has varied absorption levels of nutrients.
-          Have undergone any critical surgery on the digestive tract which prevents proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Finally

Whatever changes in the type of supplements you decide to consume make sure to consults your doctor or a dietician. Enquire about which supplements and doses are appropriate for you. Also ask about possible after effects that can occur by consuming such supplements with clear direction of remedial measures.



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