Nutrition is the biological and metabolic process by which an organism uses food to sustain its existence. It entails absorption, assimilation, metabolism, biosynthesis, and excretion. Basically, nutrition is concerned with the nutrients that provide daily energy and other important nutrients required by the body for health and well being. The five main food groups are carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, fruits, and fats.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of nutrition. These include glucose, fructose, sucrose, lactose, and starch. Some of these provide energy, but others are the building blocks of body tissues. Foods that fall in the group of carbohydrates include breads, cereals, pasta, rice, and potatoes.
Proteins provide the necessary building blocks of body tissues. Some of the most important are egg proteins, meat proteins, poultry, fish, dairy products, and vegetable proteins. These nutrients are also used as energy or stored as fat. Some of the more popular vegetarian foods include beans, nuts, berries, soybeans, lentils, spinach, tomatoes, and legumes. Vitamin B12 and folic acid are the most common vitamins needed for nutrition.
The minerals are obtained from plant foods and also come from some animal sources such as meat, dairy products, and seafood. Minerals must be combined with other nutrients in order to optimize the human body’s nutritional needs. Some of the commonly taken vitamins and minerals include vitamins A, D, E, and K, calcium, iron, and zinc. These minerals are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and many food practices.
Fruits and vegetables are the richest sources of carbohydrates. The rest of the food groups can be obtained from these sources and constitute the majority of the nutritional content in a typical diet. Whole grains and legumes, on the other hand, are considered to be good sources of fiber. They are also considered to be good sources of carbohydrates. There are two main types of carbohydrates: complex and simple.
Complex carbohydrates are found in fruits and vegetables. They are made up of chains of glucose molecules that are carried through the bloodstream. Simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, are found in foods such as breads, pastas, potatoes, and white rice. Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are only partially absorbed in foods made up of simple carbohydrates.
The fats that provide the body with calories are called lipids. Fats are made up of triglycerides, fatty acids, and cholesterol. When these nutrients are ingested with the help of food, the nutrients are transported to the liver, which breaks them down into simple compounds known as lipids. Vitamins and minerals can be lost or misplaced by the body through the process of lipids. Thus, it is important for an individual to monitor his or her nutrition to avoid vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
As aforementioned, a wide variety of micronutrients must be included in a balanced diet. These include essential fatty acids, amino acids, and trace minerals such as zinc, iron, copper, and manganese. It is important to add these sources to the individual’s diet in accordance with his or her age, gender, and health status.
Carbohydrates are the main sources of energy in our body. They are divided into two major categories: simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates can be found in foods like fruits, vegetables, and breads while complex carbohydrates are found in legumes, grains, and cereals. The primary purpose of carbohydrates in the diet is to provide energy to the body for day-to-day activities.
Iron is another fundamental element needed in the diet. It is needed for the creation of red blood cells. Aside from blood cells, iron also plays a vital role in the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide among the major organs of the body. Therefore, sufficient levels of iron are necessary to keep the body functioning properly.
One of the most overlooked micronutrients is Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an important element for the maintenance of healthy skin and coat. It also plays a major role in the production of collagen that makes up the skin’s major functions. Vitamin E is found in broccoli, peaches, walnuts, and many other vegetables and fruits. In addition to its great nutritional value, it has a number of cosmetic benefits such as softening of wrinkles, sun protection, and sun fading. Minerals are also one of the most overlooked micronutrients. However, minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium provide numerous other benefits.
Some micronutrients that you might not regularly incorporate into your diet are phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Potassium is a valuable source of sodium. Calcium is used to build stronger bones and teeth. Magnesium is essential in the production of neurotransmitters and hormones. The best way to get all of these micronutrients is by including dairy products, which are high in calcium, potassium, and sodium.