Nutrition is the biological and chemical process through which an organisms uses food as its only source of nourishment to support its daily life. It consists of absorption, metabolism, catabolism and exfoliation. Food is broken down into many components like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals to provide the body with the nutrition it needs. The nutritional needs of a human being are calculated by balancing the quantity of essential nutrients provided to meet his daily energy requirements and his dietary restrictions.

The problem with most diets today is that the quantities of some nutrients are missing or too low in their nutrition content. This leads to various problems including obesity, chronic diseases and heart problems. The nutrient content of the diet has to be perfect to make sure that the body gets all the nutrition it requires. Some nutritionists claim that an average diet today does not contain the necessary nutrients for the body to function normally and the people gain weight easily because of this deficiency in nutrients.

The nutritional value of each nutrient is determined by how they are consumed and used by the body. The five major groups of nutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, fat, fruits and vegetables. Carbohydrates are sources of energy such as glucose and sugar. Proteins are the primary source of energy for most living organisms including humans. Fat is used as a source of energy by the body in times of need.

According to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), the average nutritionally inadequate diet for an American family is less than five servings per day. The recommended diet, according to the government’s dietary guidelines, is from six to eight servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy foods per person per day. Based on the study session 2 nutrients, a minimum of two servings of nuts and one serving of grains should be consumed by adults. Based on the USDA food choices chart, the recommended daily allowance of each nutrient is: Age Infants (2 per day): Eggs, milk, fish, beans, peanuts, rice Milk, eggs, fish, beans, peanuts, rice Vitamin Fruit (5 per day): Berries, citrus fruit, strawberries, apples, bananas, grapes, melons, vegetables Vitamin Cereals (2 per day): Corn flakes, pastas, crackers, cereals, bread, cereals, pasta, potato chips Vitamin Fastfood (5 per day): French fries, fried chicken, hot dogs, sausages, burgers, popcorn, hot dogs Vitamin Sugar (5 per day): honey, maple syrups, brown and white sugars, granulated sugar, corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, sugar cookies, candy bars Vitamin Water (2 per day): water, soft drinks, purified water, bottled water Vitamin Iron (5 per day): eggs, meat, poultry, fish, dried fruits, legumes, beans, spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms Vitamin C (5 per day): oranges, mangoes, berries, lemons, tomatoes Vitamin A (5 per day): green leafy vegetables, meats, fortified breakfast cereals, butter, tomatoes, spinach, tuna Vitamin B (5 per day): beans, spinach, tuna, canned fish, tomatoes, baked cod, eggs, brazil nuts, dried beans, cereal bars, cereals, breakfast cereals Vitamin C & Zinc (5 per day): kidney beans, garlic, ginger, tofu, nuts, zinc As you can see, depending on your overall health status, some nutrients are more important than others. If you have any questions regarding your nutritional needs please contact your primary care physician for advice and/or a registered dietician.

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