Nutrition is the process that consumes, absorbs, and uses nutrients from food for proper body growth, development, and maintaining life. Nutrition Science deals with the role of food in our health.
Nutrition Science is the science of food, nutrients and other substances therein; their action and interaction about health and disease. It also includes the processes by which individual ingest, digest, absorbs, transport and utilise nutrients and dispose of the end products. It is related to all growth methods, maintenance and repair of the living organisms that depend upon the digestion of food.
Any food which on swallowing can supply one or more of the following;
- The material produces energy for body functions.
- Material is for growth, repair, regeneration and reproduction.
- Substances are necessary to regulate the processes of growth and repair.
Nutrition is a biochemical and physiological process in which an organism/individual uses food to support life. Nutrition is about eating a healthy and balanced diet.
Without good nutrition, we can become weak, sick and even die. We need the proper nutrients for proper growth and to perform our day-to-day tasks.
7 Elements of Nutrition:
Carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and are the essential elements of nutrition for healthy growth and development.
Carbs are the quick and first significant source of energy in our body. Carbohydrate contains fibre, starches and sugars that are essential food nutrients that your body turns into glucose to give you the power to function. Too many carbs can be stored as fat and cause insulin resistance, leading to hunger.
There are two types of carbs;
- Simple carbs ( sugar) are a quick energy source but can damage our metabolism and make us unhealthy.
- Complex carbs (starch) are made up of a long – chain of glucose, which takes time to break down; and provide a slower release of energy. They also contain fibre that aids digestion.
Protein exists in cells of the human body. It would help if you had protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones. Protein is also essential for growth and development in children, teens and pregnant women. It makes up around 20% of our weight. It’s a building block that allows our bodies to do the following processes;
- Build new cells
- Repair damaged cells
- Oxygenate us
- Aid digestion
- Regulate our hormones
Fiber is a carbohydrate that is critical for helping us digest our food. There are two types of fibre;
- Soluble Fiber__ this type of fibre dissolves in water and makes a gel-like substance that improves digestion.
- Insoluble Fiber__ this type of fibre attracts water and add bulks to the stool, which create a healthier bowel and may lower your risk of many diseases.
Fats can also provide us energy; and help us absorb vitamins and build cell membranes, allowing muscles to move and blood to clot.
Four main types of fat;
- Saturated Fat__ these fats can have many health benefits like increased energy, improving bone health, and even reduced cholesterol.
- Trans Fats___ these fat are terrible to our heart health. Found in fast foods.
- Monosaturated Fats___ these are one of the healthier fat; they contain anti-inflammatory properties and promotes growth and repair. Found in avocados, olive oils etc.
- Polyunsaturated Fats__ these fats reduce harmful cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
Minerals are micronutrients that support many body functions such as metabolism, inflammatory responses and staying well-hydrated. Found in seafood, green vegetables, citrus fruits, egg, milk, whole wheat foods etc.
Vitamins are also micronutrients that support our many body functions and prevent diseases. They promote our health, skin, eye and bone health and contain many ailments like lowering our risk of certain cancers.
Water is our primary and essential nutrient. It regulates our body temperature, improves digestion, reduces inflammation, removes toxins, protects our tissues and much more. A healthy diet throughout life supports growth, development, and ageing helps maintain healthy body weight, promotes beneficial pregnancy outcomes, and reduces chronic health diseases.
Good nutrition means your body gets all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed for the best work.
The nutritionists use different criteria for classifying foods depending upon the objectives of the exercise. The two measures most commonly employed are based on functions and consumption patterns.
Food Groups based on Functions
Foods are required to provide energy, promote growth, repair worn-down body tissues and sustain the regulatory processes.
Nutrients, their Function and Sources
|Bread, Rice, Sugar, Honey
Butter, Vegetable oils
Meat, Fish, Eggs, Pulses
|Growth & Repair||Protein
|Meat, Legumes, Milk
Fruits, Vegetables, Salt
|Protective/Control of body processes||Proteins
Mineral Elements Vitamins
|Meat, Fish, Pulses
Milk, Fruits, Meat, Salt
Fruits, Vegetables, Meat
Beverages, Milk, Fruit juices
Food Groups based on Consumption
The Nutritionists divide foods into different groups. The most popular of such classes is a Food Guide Pyramid, introduced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992.
The Food Guide Pyramid
Changing people’s dietary habits, lifestyle, and advances in food processing have led nutritionists, graphic designers and communications researchers to introduce the Food Guide Pyramid. The recommendations for fats, oils, and sweets should be used at the apex. Below this, meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts are on the left side of the group, and the right side is the milk, yoghurt and cheese group. The dietary recommendations should be to take only 2-3 servings daily.
Next below are two more groups, the fruit group (right) and the vegetable group (left). 2-4 servings of fruits and 3-5 servings of vegetables are consumed per day as per recommendations. The pyramid base consists of the bread, cereals, and pasta group. 6-7 servings are recommended from this group.
Food exists as simple assimilable materials or as complex mixtures of chemical compounds. The naturally occurring food compounds utilised by the human body and provide nourishment are called nutrients that perform functions such as energy-giving, bodybuilding, etc.
Generally, nutrients are divided into two classes:
Macronutrients are essential for body functions and require large quantities of water, carbohydrates, fats and protein. These constitute the bulk of the diet and supply energy for body activity and building blocks needed for growth and maintenance. They also regulate the body’s processes.
Micronutrients are required in small quantities, milligrams to micrograms. These are vitamins and minerals that catalyses the utilisation of macronutrients.
The diet aims to supply the nutrients required for optimal growth. Diet comprises foods (solid or liquid) or a mixture of nutrition in the amount eaten, usually each day.
Thus, this would be his diet if he eats “chapati” with a glass of “lassi” in the morning and again in the evening.
A balanced diet carry all nutrients in the correct proportion required by an individual to promote and preserve good health. It should help achieve and maintain desirable body composition and a significant physical and mental capacity. Such a diet generally leads to the good nutritional status of a person. Diet must contain foods from each group in appropriate proportions to provide adequate nourishment to the body.
For an average adult man, a balanced diet consists of 2 or more portions from the group of protein and three or more from the group of fruits and vegetables each day. The selection of protein should be from lean meat, fish, poultry, pulses and other legumes. Should eat fats in moderation. Cereals should be consumed to satisfy the appetite and maintain constant body weight.
For good health, adequate nutrient intake should be from dietary sources and not the pills, which can only deliver the selected nutrient.
Genetic affect Nutrition
Genetics affects our tolerance to certain foods. Some people have lactose intolerance (dairy products) gluten intolerance (wheat, barley, rye). People who have this intolerance avoid that food and have several risks. A person’s genetics or history must be seen when making a diet plan in nutrition.
Genetics may also affect your body’s metabolism, absorption, and excretion processes.
Nutrition affects Mental Health
Brain and stomach share a close relationship. Eating a balanced and healthy diet like fruits and vegetables positively affects our mental and well-being. The stomach produces many neurotransmitters and often results from a “second brain”. Eating healthy food has good bacteria that stimulate more neurotransmitters in your body and improve your mood. On the other hand, eating unhealthy foods reduces or inhibits neurotransmitters’ production and worsens your mood.
Nutrition affect on Immune System
Eating healthy food makes your immune system strong, makes your microbiome healthy, reduces inflammation, improving your gut functions and white blood cells function. It decreases the risk of diseases.
Mode Of Nutrition
Modes of nutrition is a way by which living things get their food. There are two modes;
- Autotrophic ( Autotrophs makes their food, such as plants that turn sunlight into food by photosynthesis.)
- Heterotrophic ( Heterotrophs get their food from other sources by eating them, such as humans.)