Health and Nutrition – Introduction

 HEALTH AND NUTRITION

Nutrition is defined as the process by which living beings obtain their food and use it for their metabolism, growth, and repair. This definition is given by the American Heritage Science Dictionary. The process of nutrition includes absorption, ingestion, transport, digestion, assimilation, and excretion. This definition explains the role of nutrition very accurately in the human body. More researches are being carried out for living a disease-free and healthy life by correlating it with nutrition and it is becoming very widespread. A typical study shows that a number of people in the United States have a deficiency in nutrition.

Antoine Lavoisier developed the modern nutritional information. He also explained the process of metabolism in very minute details. From this time onwards, modern science started to publish research works relating to the importance and understanding of minerals, vitamins, and many other nutrients. These play a key role in the development of the human body and leads to a good and healthy life.

It seems paradoxical but the fact is that as more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of good nutritional intake, the diet of peoples is becoming unhealthier and unhealthier. To increase the life expectancy of an individual one must know an in-depth knowledge of nutrients that is essential for maintaining good health. By consuming chemical-free foods that are unprocessed and natural, you will be able to take proper nutrients that are needed by the body.

 

Common Nutritional Terms That You Must Know

You must be familiar with the terms that are given here. These terms are just major elements of nutrition. Below given is the brief explanation of terms in which nutrition can be divided at the top level:

  1. Protein

Protein is present in every part of the body – bone, hair, skin, muscles, and virtually in every tissue. Enzymes are made up of protein that enhances the power of many chemical reactions. There are 10,000 different types of proteins which maintain our body.

Basic building blocks of protein are known as amino acids. There are 20+ amino acids that constitute proteins. Of the amino acids that our body needs, many of them are produced within the body but there are some amino acids that you have to take from outside sources.

  1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are starches, sugars, and fibers that are found in grains, fruits, milk products, and vegetables. They contain hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen and because of this, they are known as carbohydrates. They are macro-nutrients and must be obtained through external sources as they cannot be produced on their own inside the body.

There are two distinct classes of carbohydrates, one is simple carbohydrates and the other one is complex carbohydrates. Foods that contain sugars are the source of simple carbohydrates. Pasta, potatoes, and grains are the source of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrate contains fewer calories therefore they are considered as the best source of carbohydrates.

  1. Fat

Every one of us has a different point of view about fat. We must fully understand this term. It is a type of nutrient and is very essential. It helps in absorbing energy, vitamins and it also protects the heart and brain. We have a perception that fat will increase your waist, cholesterol but this not true. We need fat for our proper growth but we should avoid bad fats.

The body needs fat to perform many essential functions but overconsumption of fat can cause your health to degrade. It is mainly responsible for supplying and storing energy throughout the whole body.

Omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids are the two main types of fat. Study shows that people in the United States consume excessive omega-6 fatty acids but consume a low amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

  1. Fiber

It is a type of carbohydrate that we described earlier. It can’t be digested by the body. Most of the carbohydrates can be easily broken down to sugar molecules but fiber cannot. It can only be passed through body undigested. You must take 20-30 grams of fiber daily.

Fibers are of two types – soluble fibers and insoluble fibers. As the name suggests soluble fibers can dissolve into water and also it lower the levels of cholesterol. Insoluble fibers cannot be dissolved in water and it improves the efficiency of the digestive system.

  1. Vitamins and Minerals

A large number of functions that are taking place in the human body requires an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. They play an important role in the regulation of our metabolism. Some of the vitamins and minerals can be produced within the body but you have to take remaining of them through external sources. That’s why it is important to take a nutrient-rich diet for the well-being of your body. When you are not in a condition to consume a nutrient-rich diet then you can go by additional supplements.

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