Nutrition is the biological and chemical process through which an organisms uses food to support its daily life. It includes absorption, digestion, assimilation, production, utilization and excretion as important processes. The nutritional substances need for supporting these processes are found in the foods that an organism consumes.
Nutrition is concerned with the study of the food arrangements that provide the essential nutrients necessary for life. The primary food sources of the essential nutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, fat, and water. Almost all the food that is required by the human body consists of at least one of these five components. Nutrition also involves the study of nutrients in the form of vitamins, minerals, and fat soluble vitamins.
The first step in nutrition is to decide what the major food groups are and to determine the daily recommended allowance (RDA) for each. Based on the food types, a daily dietary allowance (DDA) can be calculated. Foods that are always included in a balanced diet are carbohydrates, protein, fruits, vegetables, and fats. Some minerals that are essential to good nutrition are calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B, C, and E.
The second step in nutritional assessment is to determine the nutritional status of an individual. This is done by means of a body mass index (BMI), percentage of body fat, and blood pressure. Nutritional assessment is also necessary for determining the adequate level of intake of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers.
Nutrition mainly concerns itself with the quality of the food, how it provides energy to the body, and how much of it is needed and can be absorbed by the body. The nutritional value of foods is often referred to in terms of calories. Foods that provide energy are called macronutrients while those that provide nutrients are known as nutrition foods. Nutrient-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans.
Common food constituents with which nutritionists believe that a healthy diet can be maintained are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Carbohydrates include breads, cereals, pasta, potatoes, legumes, and some dairy products like milk and cheese. Proteins are present in meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and lentils. Fats are found in oils, fats from vegetables and plants, and sometimes even dairy foods.
The number one nutrient for good nutrition is iron. Along with protein, iron is the most important nutrient for good nutrition. To meet the requirements of an average woman, her diet should contain about half of the calories that are taken in by that person. About 30 percent of the calories in an average day in the diet are provided by fat. About 13 percent of the calories in an average day come from carbohydrates, and only 8 percent are from minerals vitamins and fibers. So you can see that the percentage of nutrition comes from fat and carbohydrate, and not from other nutrients.
It stands to reason that a diet low in fat and high in carbohydrates is the healthiest diet for maintaining a healthy weight and for preventing obesity and other nutritional deficiencies. But in spite of the importance of nutrition, there are a large number of people who continue to eat junk food. And when they do, they wind up gaining weight and getting various digestive problems. So if you are serious about your health, and if you are interested in living a long, productive life, then you need to learn how to choose the proper foods for the proper amounts.
One of the most important aspects of nutrition is determining what the body uses as food. Most people think that all calories are created equal, and thus all nutrition is simply a matter of eating the right calories. The problem is that different types of calories perform different functions in the human body. So just because we call some type of calorie “nutrient” doesn’t mean that it is actually an nutrient.
For example, some vitamins like A and E are fat-soluble, so they are broken down inside the fat cells to provide fuel. But other vitamins, including the B vitamins, are not fat-soluble, and they are transported through the blood to their particular destinations. So while A & E are important in maintaining a healthy diet, they are not really nutrients themselves. Another example is the fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, which are used by the body to make collagen. This kind of vitamin is also transported throughout the bloodstream and is used to make tissues and muscle.
However, the best sources of these nutrients are those that are obtained from plant sources. Plants like nuts and seeds, fish oils, and certain vegetables, like beans, can supply the amounts of these nutrients that a person needs. This means consuming a well balanced diet full of plant-based foods as opposed to those that are primarily animal products. A good source of protein is lean meats; some types of fish are also good sources of this nutrient. A good supplement to add to the daily diet is a multivitamin with a concentration of vitamins A, D, E, and B-complex vitamins.
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