Nutrition is the biological and physical process through which an organism utilizes food to support its existence. It involves absorption, assimilation, production, utilization, metabolism and excretion. An important aspect of nutrition is determining the nutritional value of foods and food products. This includes nutritional value of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, and oils.
Nutrition is essential for the proper functioning of all the organs in the body including the brain, heart, kidney, liver, and intestine. Health is associated with eating the right kind of food. The importance of nutrition can never be exaggerated as it affects nearly every organ in the body. If the nutritional value of the food is deficient, then the chances of developing a number of diseases are high. A good registered dietitian can help you understand the food and its nutritional value.
Nutritional value of a person needs to be balanced on a daily basis. Balanced nutrition means intake of food that provides all the nutrients that a person needs. Nutrient balance means that every day, a person needs to eat in accordance with his/her needs. This ensures that a healthy lifestyle is maintained by a person. If nutrition is not maintained, then there are chances of suffering from various diseases.
Nutrition needs to be balanced on a daily basis. Nutrient balance can be attained by carrying out a thorough research about different sources of food that provide the nutrients needed by the body. For example, plant food sources provide B-vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, and folic acid. These nutrients are necessary for the development of the fetus and hence they need to be included in the diet of the mother. During the second study session, all the food choices should be explained to the participants.
Vitamins are mainly found in fruits and vegetables. Hence, it is important to include foods rich in vitamins in the daily diet. At the second study session, the participants were asked to consume foods that contain low micronutrients. Low micronutrients are those substances that cannot be absorbed through the skin or the digestive system; hence they cannot be used as sources of nutrition.
Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of micronutrients. Hence, these foods should form a major part of the diet of a person. Fruits and vegetables are also important sources of carbohydrates, protein, minerals, and vitamins. One should include green leafy vegetables in his/her diet. Green leafy vegetables are high in carbohydrates and hence they should be included in the daily diet.
Vitamin C has two main functions. It is a blood antioxidant and it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Vitamin E is another vitamin that has two main functions. Firstly, it acts as an antioxidant and secondly, it reduces the risk of cancers. Another vitamin known as carotenoids are responsible for correct color of vegetables. Hence, including foods rich in vitamins is an effective way of achieving optimal health.
The other two groups of nutrients are phytochemicals and non-nutritious substances. Phytochemicals are those substances that are produced by plants naturally. Non-nutritious substances are those foods that are difficult to digest or absorb. Nutritious foods are those that are balanced in terms of essential nutrients and provide maximum benefit to a balanced diet.
Vegetable oils are rich in sterol esters and essential fatty acids. Sterols is a substance found in plants, which helps protect cholesterol from clogging the arteries. A high level of cholesterol in the blood is a major cause of cardio-vascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke. A balanced diet should have plenty of vegetable oils and low cholesterol food substances.
In order to keep a healthy heart, lung, and blood institute, a good diet should contain a low content of cholesterol, fiber, and phytosterols, and an adequate level of essential fatty acids. It has been shown that a low level of cholesterol is important in preventing cardiac diseases. A diet should have a good amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and cereals.
A balanced diet should have a sufficient intake of calcium. Calcium is important for building strong bones. An average woman should consume more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Dairy products should make up at least 40% of the diet. Protein is the main function of milk and it should be consumed in the form of meat, eggs, or poultry products.
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