Nutrition and YouNutrition is the relationship of foods to the health of the human body .
Proper nutrition means that you are receiving enough foods and supplements forthe body to function at optimal capacity. It is important to remember that nosingle nutrient or activity can maintain optimal health and well being, althoughit has been proven that some nutrients are more important than others. All ofthe nutrients are necessary in different amounts along with exercise to maintainproper health. There are six main types of nutrients used to maintain body health.
They are: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water . Theyall must be in balance for the body to function properly. There are also fivemajor food groups. The groups are: fats and oils, fruits and vegetables, dairyproducts, grains, and meats.
Exercise is also an important part of nutrition. Exercise helps toneand maintain muscle tissue and ensure that the body’s organs stay in goodcondition. Healthy eating without exercise will not result in good nutritionand a healthy body – neither will exercise without nutrition. The mostimportant thing about exercise is that it be practiced regularly and that it bepracticed in accompaniment with a healthy diet.
It is also desirable topractice more that one sport as different sports exercise different areas of thebody. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the sources of energy for the body. The contained energy is expressed in calories. There are 9 calories per gram infat and there are about 4 calories per gram in proteins and carbohydrates . Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body.
This energy is mostlyused for muscle movement and digestion of food. Some sources of carbohydratesare : grains, fruits, vegetables, and anything else that grows out of the ground. The energy in carbohydrates is almost instantly digested. This results in aquick rise in blood sugar which is soon followed by a drop in blood sugar whichis interpreted by the body as a craving for more sugars. This sugar low mayalso result in fatigue, dizziness, nervousness, and headache. However, not allcarbohydrates do this.
Most fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains aredigested more slowly. Fats, which are lipids, are the source of energy that isthe most concentrated. Fats produce more that twice the amount of energy thatis in carbohydrates or proteins. Besides having a high concentration of energy,fat acts as a carrier for the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K.
Also, byhelping in the absorption of vitamin D, fats help make calcium available tovarious body tissues, in particular, the bones and teeth. Another function offat is to convert carotene to vitamin A. Fat also helps keep organs in place bysurrounding them in a layer of fat. Fat also surrounds the body in a layer thatpreserves body temperature and keeps us warm.
One other function of fat is toslow the production of hydrochloric acid thereby slowing down digestion andmaking food last longer. Some sources of fats are meats and nuts as well asjust plain oils and fats. Proteins, besides water, are the most plentifulsubstance in the body. Protein is also one of the most important element forthe health of the body. Protein is the major source of building material in thebody and is important in the development and growth of all body tissues.
Protein is also needed for the formation of all hormones. It also helpsregulate the body’s water balance. When proteins are digested they are brokendown into simpler sections called amino acids. However, not all proteins willcontain all the necessary amino acids. Most meat and dairy products contain allnecessary amino acids in their proteins. Proteins are available from bothplants and animals.
However, Animal proteins are more complete and thusdesirable. Knowledge of the nutrients and their function is essential tounderstanding the importance of good nutrition. As mentioned above, there aresix nutrients. All vitamins are organic food substances that are found only inliving things, plants and animals . It is believed that there are about twentysubstances that are active as vitamins in human nutrition .
Every vitamin isessential to the proper growth and development of the body. With a fewexceptions, the body cannot make vitamins and must be supplied with them. Vitamins contain no energy but are important as enzymes which help speed upnearly all metabolic functions. Also, vitamins are not building components ofbody tissues, but aid in the construction of these tissues.
It is impossible toreliably determine the vitamin requirements of an individual because ofdifferences in age, sex, body size, genetic makeup, and activity. A good sourceof a recommendation is the RDA. The RDA makes it’s recommendations based onstudies of consumption of the given nutrient. On the recommendation it willusually specify what size diet the recommendation is based on, for example, atwo thousand calorie per day diet.
It is harmless to ingest excess of mostvitamins. However, some vitamins are toxic in large amounts. Vitamin A is a fatsoluble vitamin which is only available in two forms. Pre-formed, which isfound in animal tissue.
The other is carotene, which can be converted intoVitamin A by animals . Carotene is found in easily found in carrots as well asother vegetables . Vitamin A is important to the growth and repair of bodytissues and helps maintain a smooth, soft, and disease free skin. It also helpsprotect the mucus membranes of the mouth, nose, throat, and lungs which reducesthe chance of infection. Another function is helping mucus membranes combat theeffects of air pollutants. Vitamin A also protects the soft lining of all thedigestive tract.
Another function of vitamin A is to aid in the secretion ofgastric juices. The B complex vitamins have many known sub-types, but they allare water soluble vitamins. The B vitamins can be cultivated from a variety ofbacteria, yeast, fungi, or molds . They are active in the body by helping thebody convert carbohydrates into glucose, a form of sugar. B vitamins are alsovital in the metabolism of proteins and fats. They are also the single mostimportant element in the health of the nerves.
B vitamins are also essentialfor the maintenance of the gastrointestinal tract, the health of the skin, hair,eyes, mouth, liver, and muscle tone. The intestine contain a bacteria thatproduces vitamin b but milk-free diets, and taking sulfonamides or antibioticscan destroy these bacteria . Whole grains contain high concentrations of Bcomplex vitamins. Also, enriched bread and cereal products contain highconcentrations of B vitamins due to a governmental intervention of the wholefood group to ensure that the nation was getting enough B vitamins Vitamin C,also known as ascorbic acid, is a water soluble vitamin. It is sensitive tooxygen and is the least stable of all vitamins .
One primary function ofvitamin C is to maintain collagen, a protein necessary for the formation of skin,ligaments, and bones. Vitamin C also plays a role in healing of burns andwounds because it aids the formation of scar tissue. It also helps form redblood cells and prevent hemorrhaging. Another function is to prevent thedisease, scurvy, which used to be seen in sailors because of their lack ofvitamin C in their diet.
This was corrected by issuing each sailor one lime perday which supplied citric acid, a source of vitamin C. Other sources includebroccoli, Brussels sprouts, Strawberries, Oranges, and grapefruits . Vitamin Eis a fat soluble vitamin which is made up of a group of compounds calledtocoherols. There are seven forms of it but the form known as Alpha tocoherolis the most potent .
Tocoherols occur in the highest concentrations in coldpressed vegetable oils, all whole raw seeds and nuts, and soybeans. Vitamin Eplays an essential role in cellular respiration of all muscles, especially thecardiac and skeletal. It makes these muscles able to function with less oxygen,thereby increasing efficiency and stamina. It also is an antioxidant, whichprevents oxidization. This prevents saturated fatty compounds from breakingdown and combining to form toxic compounds. Minerals are nutrients that existin the body and in organic and inorganic combinations .
There are approximatelyseventeen minerals that are necessary in human nutrition . Although only aboutfour or five percent of the body weight is mineral matter, minerals areimportant to overall mental and physical health. All of the body’s tissues andfluids contain some amount of mineral. Minerals are necessary for proper musclefunction and many other biological reactions in the body. Minerals are alsoimportant in the production of hormones. Another important function of mineralsis to maintain the delicate water balance of the body and to regulate theblood’s pH.
Physical and emotional stress causes a strain on the body’s supplyof minerals. A mineral deficiency often results in illness, which may betreated by the addition of the missing mineral to the diet. Calcium, a primarymineral, is available through dairy products. In order to get all the otherminerals, one should eat protein rich foods, seeds, grains, nuts, greens, andlimited amounts of salt or salty foods. Nutrition is just one aspect of totalbody health.
It is important to remember that on must compliment good nutritionwith good exercise and emotional health in order to achieve complete well being. It is also important to remember that no one part of nutrition will completelyfulfill the body’s requirements for health.