What is Nutrition?
Nutrition can be defined as the process of providing or supplying the food required for health and growth.
It is also the branch of science and human medicine which deals with the practice of consuming and utilizing foods.
Moreover, a nutritious diet helps to strengthen the body's immunity.
What are the types of nutrition?
The three main types of heterotrophic nutrition are:
- Saprophytic: Feeding on dead remains of other organisms.
- Holozoic: Animals which eat their food as a whole. Complex food is intaken that passes through a specialized digestive system that breaks it down into small pieces that can be absorbed. There are five stages- Ingestion, digestion, Absorption, Assimilation, and Egestion.
- Parasitic: Organisms were obtaining food from other organisms that act as a host. The parasites suck and feed the blood from such host organisms.
What are the elements of nutrition?
There are seven essential macronutrients and micronutrients that our body requires every day, that include:
- They are the building blocks that are needed for growth, development, repair, and maintenance of body tissues.
- It also provides structure to muscles and bones and aids immune cells fight during infections and inflammations.
- Good sources include meat, fish, seafood, eggs, soybeans, legumes, etc.
- They are the energy providers that fuel your body.
- Good sources are Rice, corn, beans, potatoes, vegetables, fruit sugars and starches.
- They are the concentrated sources of energy that are important for bodily functions are an essential nutrient for the eyes and lungs.
- There are two kinds of fat saturated and unsaturated fats.
- Good sources are oils, milk, nuts, cheese, poultry, etc.
- They are essential for supporting overall health and cell metabolism.
- Vitamins aid in energy production, wound healing, bone formation, immune responses and in maintaining eye & skin health.
- Good sources are fruits and vegetables.
- They aid in cell metabolism, neurological functions, maintaining cardiovascular health and providing skeletal structures.
- Good sources of minerals are Dairy products, green leafy vegetables, pulses, fruits, fish, maize, etc.
- It helps people consume food in smaller quantities, makes the feces soft and bulky, prevents constipation and can slow the absorption of nutrients.
- Fiber-rich foods include vegetables and fruits like cabbage, carrots, banana, avocado, peas, beans, whole-grain cereals, etc.
- They are the essential component for life required for vital body processes, producing urine, sweat, create cells and fluids like tears, digestive enzymes, breastmilk, etc.
- It is also needed for keeping the lining of the mouth, intestine, eyelids, and lungs healthy.
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Why is nutrition important?
Nutrition is vital for an individual's health and can make you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risks of chronic health conditions.
It is estimated that about one-third of adults in the U.S are obese and approximately 17% of children and adolescents are obese.
Even for individuals of healthy weight, a poor diet can lead to health risks such as hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, etc.
Healthy eating will help you to get the required body nutrients.
What is good nutrition?
Good nutrition: the key to good mental and physical health is consuming a balanced diet; eating the right food at the right time.
You have to eat a combination of foods from different food groups to meet your constitutional requirements every day.
A healthy diet consists of foods from each group taken in a recommended amount, with foods low in sugars and fat and low in sodium.
What are the basic principles of nutrition?
The basic principles of nutrition are:
- Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes
- Opting for lean and low-fat protein sources
- Restricting sweet consumption, soft drinks and other items with added sugars.
- Incorporating protein, carbohydrates and some good fat in all meals and snacks.
What are the optimal nutritional requirements?
The nutritional requirement for an average human being includes the following:
- Enough calories to meet daily energy needs. This is usually 2000-2500 calories per day.
- Nine essential amino acids which are needed for protein synthesis.
- Three essential fatty acids.
- Eighteen different kinds of minerals; macronutrients like calcium and micronutrients like zinc.
- Thirteen vitamins.
What are the benefits of nutrition?
The benefits of good nutrition include the following:
- Improve your immunity
- Improve how you recover from illnesses or injuries
- Reduce disease risks
- Maintains Blood pressure
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Ups your energy levels
- Improves overall well-being
How does nutrition affect your health?
Poor nutrition can affect an individual's natural health and wellbeing.
It can impair an individual's ability to lead an active and enjoyable life.
Precisely, improper nutrition can lead to stress, make you tired and reduce your capacity for chores and over time, it can lead to increased risk of diseases and health conditions like:
- Obesity, overweight issues
- Tooth decays
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Heart diseases
- Eating disorders
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Effect of nutrition on brain health
Needless to say, the brain is an essential body organ, and its primary function is to instruct other organs to perform each of their tasks.
Hence it is essential to keep the brain working in its optimal condition by consuming a healthy diet.
Certain foods can affect your brain and impact your memory, mood and increase your risk for certain conditions.
This can be easily prevented by avoiding those negative-impacting foods from your diet.
Some food items that harm your brain health include:
- Sugary drinks & foods: Not only does it make you gain weight, but it also does affect your brain. It can cause high blood sugar levels which increases your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. High fructose intake can impair your memory and affect your brain function involved in learning and brain neuron formations.
- Refined carbohydrates which increase your glycemic index and glycemic load can affect your memory, intelligence and increase dementia risk.
- Trans fats are linked to impaired memory and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Processed foods containing artificial sweeteners (especially aspartame) are associated with behavioral issues and cognitive decline.
- Alcohol, when consumed excessively, can lead to loss of memory, sleep disruption and behavioral problems.
- Mercury-rich fish (shark & Swordfish) can cause harm to developing fetuses and young kids.
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What are the signs of good nutrition?
The signs that your body is getting adequate nutrition include:
- Good energy levels: When your body gets proper nourishment, your energy levels are up, and you don’t experience any tiredness.
- Healthy hair is a sign of good nutrition, and it can mean that one doesn’t have any nutritional deficiencies. Brittle, dry and sparse hair can be a sign of nutritional deficiencies.
- Healthy nails are also a sign of good nourishment. Ridged or spoon-shaped nails can indicate iron-deficiencies.
- While healthy mouth without cracking or inflammation is a sign of good health, breaking and inflammation at the corners of the mouth can be a sign of vitamin B2 or iron deficiencies.
- Good moods indicate that you have been eating well, with all kinds of nutrients consumed. And poor nutrition can cause irritabilities and unexplained mood changes and depression.
- A good appetite is a good sign of good nutrition.
Food recommendations for good health
A healthy diet includes the following:
- 6-8 servings of grains including rice, cereal, bread, pasta, etc. with at least 3 of it being whole grains.
- 2-4 servings of fruits & 4-6 servings of vegetables: naturally low in fat, fruits and vegetables make a great addition to your diet, best taken as fresh, steamed or chopped in salads.
- 2-3 servings of dairy (milk, yogurt & cheese)
- 2-3 servings of meat, fish, eggs, nuts, poultry, and dry beans.
- Fats, oils, and sweets used moderately.
- More importantly, eating right at the right amounts-
Children (2-8 yrs old) 1400-2000 calories per day; Adolescent girls & women- 2200 calories per day; Adolescent boys & men- about 3000 calories per day
What are the thirteen vitamins your body requires?
Here is a list of vitamins that your body require:
There are nine water-soluble vitamins and four fat-soluble vitamins, that includes:
It is mportant for cellular growth & development.
Sources: Dairy products, Fish, egg yolk, etc.
Essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism.
Sources: Cereals, grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, pork, etc.
It is an essential element for energy metabolism, adrenal function, proper vision, and healthy skin.
Sources: Dairy products, cereals, grains, lean meat, poultry, etc.
It is mportant for healthy growth and energy metabolism.
Sources: Seafood, milk, eggs, legumes, poultry, etc.
It Serves various bodily functions, fat metabolism and normalizes blood sugar.
Sources: Broccoli, avocado, eggs, milk, poultry, legumes, lentils, etc
It aids in the production of happy hormones- serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin.
Sources: Nuts, meat, Banana, poultry, Avocado, legumes, whole grains, etc.
It is essential for a healthy metabolism.
Sources: Whole grains, nuts, yeast, soybeans, egg yolks, etc.
It is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, RBCs and is very important for pregnant women since it helps prevent birth defects.
Sources: Liver, yeast, green leafy vegetables, avocados, legumes, asparagus, etc.
It is essential for the production of myelin for nerve fibers, DNA, RNA, and RBCs.
Sources: All animal products.
It helps to strengthen your blood vessel walls, promotes wound healing, iron absorption, prevents atherosclerosis, aids immunity and acts as an antioxidant.
Sources: Citrus fruits, melons, berries, peppers, broccoli, potatoes, etc.
The sunshine vitamin helps calcium absorption, maintains and builds healthy teeth and bones.
Sources: Milk, Butter, egg yolks, fatty fish, etc.
It guards fatty acids maintain RBCs and muscles and is an important antioxidant.
Sources: Eggs, margarine, mayonnaise, nuts, seeds, cereals, etc.
It helps in blood clotting.
Sources: Spinach, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, Cabbage, Cauliflower, cereals, fish, liver, beef, eggs, etc.
What are the prescribed daily nutritional requirements?
Per FSC (Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code), the ideal diet for an average adult includes:
- Energy- 8700 kilojoules
- Protein 50g
- Fat- 70g
- Saturated Fatty Acids- 24g
- Carbohydrates- 310g
- Sugars- 90g
- Salt- 2.3g
- Fiber- 30g.
Note: This is just a guide, but an individual’s intake may vary depending on their lifestyle and energy needs.
What constitutes complete food?
A food that has the right amount of proteins, essential fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals is called complete food.
Restricting yourself to one meal per day may have long-term adverse effects.
What are the signs and symptoms of poor nutrition?
Some of the signs of nutritional deficiencies have been listed below:
- Dry mouth, lips
- Dry, scaly skin
- Swollen & bleeding gums
- Sore red swollen skin
- Pressure injuries
- Regular respiratory infections
- Poor mobility
- Postural hypotension,
- Unable to sit upright, being bed bound
- Pale skin
- Breathlessness on exertion
- Decreased urine output
- Dark colored urine
- Sunken eyes
Is processed food harmful?
Processed foods are harmful as they contribute majorly to obesity and health conditions globally.
Here are some reasons to justify this:
- Sugar-rich, high-fructose products like corn syrup are highly loaded with added sugar which can lead to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, a higher level of cholesterol and causes accumulation of fat in the liver and abdominal cavity. High sugar consumption is associated with heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, cancer, etc.
- Can cause overconsumption: our taste buds do the job, and since it is incredibly rewarding to the brain, it makes us consume the product repeatedly and in large amounts.
- Contains artificial ingredients: artificial chemicals are added to processed foods for various reasons like- As a preservative, to combine colors, flavors, and textures.
- Can cause addiction to junk food: People can get addicted to these products and lose control over their consumption. Some people cannot just stop eating these foods.
- High in refined carbohydrates: High in carbs, these processed foods can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar, which can cause harmful health effects and lead to chronic diseases.
- Less nutritious: Processed foods scarcely contain nutrients compared to whole grains. Synthetic vitamins & minerals are sometimes added to compensate for the loss of nutrients during processing. However, these synthetic nutrients cannot substitute well for the natural ones.
- Low fiber: during processing, foods lose their Fibre content and can cause issues like constipation. Soluble, fermentable Fibre is essential for health, but most of it is removed in processed food items.
- High in trans fats: Processed foods are rich in unhealthy fats and can cause oxidation and inflammation.
- Real and whole foods are the key to good health, and when you replace them with processed food items, you are only increasing your risks of poor health and diseases.
Do you need vitamin supplements?
Vitamin supplements are not required for everyone, as long as you can obtain all the essential nutrients from a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Some people opt to take vitamin supplements, but long-term administration could be harmful.
The Department of Health recommends specific supplements for a particular group of individuals who might be at risk of deficiency, as described below:
- Folic acid supplements during pregnancy: Pregnant women and those who are trying to conceive should take folic acid supplement up to 12 weeks to prevent neural tube defects in the developing fetus.
- Vitamin D supplements for people who are a higher risk of not receiving enough of the vitamin naturally by being exposed to the sun.
- Supplements containing vitamins A, C & D for children and fussy eaters who are not getting enough of those vitamins by eating a varied diet.
What is Dietary Reference Values (DRV) nutrition?
DRV is a system of nutritional requirements system followed by the United Kingdom Department of Health and the European Union’s Food Safety Authority.
The DRV system is of three types:
- RNI (Reference Nutrient Intake)
- EAR (Estimated Average Requirement
- LRNI (Lower recommended nutritional Intake)
What is the recommended daily intake of sugar?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends not more than 10% of an adult’s calories, i.e., less than 5% of added sugars, that too from natural sugars from honey, syrups and fruit juices.
According to this, the daily sugar limit is up to 6 tsp (for women) and up to 9 tsp (for men).
What is the Nutrition Surveillance System?
The National surveillance system is an approach that helps detect malnutrition and identifies populations who might be at risk of malnourishment.
Their report emphasizes the information, description, and methods used for monitoring nutrition in 16 different developing countries throughout the world.
What is the 'National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act'?
The National Nutrition Monitoring & Related Research Act (1990) was enacted to establish a comprehensive, coordinated program and related research to help improve health assessment and nutrition of the U.S population.
Per the act,
A program is required to achieve coordination of federal nutrition monitoring efforts within a decade and assist state and local governments in participating in a nutrition monitoring network.
An inter-agency board is necessary for developing & implementing the program.
An advisory council required to offer scientific and technical advice and evaluate program effectiveness.
What is the Dr. Rhonda Patrick diet?
The Dr. Rhonda Patrick diet covers the following core diet strategies:
- Time-restricted feeding: Fitting all the meals into a 10-hour eating window such that one can fast for 14 hours daily.
- Cutting down refined sugars and grains: The diet avoids simple carbohydrates and grains- food items like rice, pasta, bread, chips, cake, cookies, etc. and making vegetables, fruits, meat & fish the central part. She also includes oats and quinoa a couple of times every week.
- Micronutrient-rich smoothies: The core method of making her vegetable intake higher to enrich her diet with pre-biotic fiber and micronutrients.
- Sulforaphane: To get all its health benefits, she Includes sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprouts multiple times per week in smoothies and other recipes.
- Nutrigenomics: She integrates the information about her DNA into her diet decisions. For instance, some DNA mutations can infer that people might need extra folate and others need to reduce saturated fat and replace with polyunsaturated fats, etc.
Apart from these diet strategies, she makes sure that she also includes all the essential vitamins and minerals required for optimal health.
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