Nutrients in Food

Overview of Food and Nutrition

nutrients

Nutrients play an important role in our body. Food and nutrition are the ways of providing energy to our bodies. Food and nutrition are the fuel of our bodies to stay active for any type of work. The intake of food and nutrition if managed effectively both are keys to better health. A smart choice of proper food and nutrition can help one to stay healthy also prevent disease

If you eat the right food with proper nutrients this will help your body to cope with illness and diseases successfully. You can improve your health and spend a healthy life only if you have a better understanding of good nutrition and you are properly paying attention to what to eat and when to eat.

Let us first discuss what nutrients are

Nutrients

You most often have heard from people while talking about food referring to the term such as nutrients. You may also be familiar with questions like Do you eat a nutritious diet? Is your food full of or rich in nutrients?  So, you must have an idea about what nutrients are.

Nutrients are substances or essential compounds that the body is unable to make or cannot make in sufficient amounts. These nutrients come from the food you eat and they prevent your body from diseases, vital for your growth and development and good health. Nutrients are important to your life and health, they also provide energy to your body, act as the building blocks for repairing and growth.

The World Health Organization

WHO has divided nutrients into two main categories:

  1. Macronutrients
  2. Micronutrients

Macronutrients

Macronutrients are required in large quantities and are usually eaten in large amounts. Macronutrients work as the building blocks of your body and include protein, fats, and carbohydrates, which are the basic energy provider to your body. In addition to protein, fats, and carbohydrates, water is also an essential macronutrient.

Protein

Protein is an important nutrient of your food that is present in every cell of your body from your bones to skin and even in your hair, these all contain protein. It is the building block of the body and requires by every cell for proper functioning. protein is an essential nutrient for your body because it carries out various functions such as

  • Protein forms hormones, antibodies, and various other substances.
  • Protein make sure the growth and development of bones, hair muscles, and skin

Protein acts as a source of fuel for cells and tissue in need

Sources of protein

  • Meat (red meat)
  • Fish and other seafood items
  • Chicken and eggs
  • Dairy products (milk, butter, etc.)
  • Nuts
  • Some grains
  • Soy and beans

Carbohydrates

These are the energy-giving sources of your body and provides energy to all the cells and tissue. Carbohydrates are essential for your body because they

  • Fuel your body by providing energy, especially the central nervous system
  • Protect against diseases
  • Support immune system
  • Give the energy to perform various tasks

Sources of Carbohydrates

  • Cereals
  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains

Fats

Fats are often considered as bad for health but indeed healthy fats are an essential part of a healthy diet and help in maintaining optimal health. Fats provide energy to our body and helps the body to carry out several functions. Fats are high in calories. Saturated and trans fats are not good for your health whereas unsaturated fats are important to consume. Healthy fats are important for your body because they help in:

  • Building new cells
  • Growth of cells
  • Clotting of blood
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes such as type 2 diabetes.
  • The functioning of the brain
  • Absorption of minerals and vitamins
  • Hormone production

Sources of fats

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fish
  • Coconut oil
  • Vegetable oils

Water

Water is absolutely important for every system of our body because all living processes in our body need water. One can live weeks without food but a few days without water. Our body is mainly made up of water almost 62% of the total body weight is water. Water performs the following functions

  • Transport nutrients
  • Prevent constipation
  • Lubrication
  • Flush out toxins
  • Keep the body hydrated

Sources of water

  • Natural and freshwater
  • Fruits and vegetables

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are chemical substances that our body require in small quantity for the healthy growth and development of the body. Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients

Vitamins

Vitamins are vital to stay healthy and to defend against diseases. Although vitamins are required in small amounts their deficiency can cause ill health. Vitamins offer a variety of health benefits such as:

  • Vitamins strengthen bones and teeth
  • Help in the absorption of calcium
  • Boost the immune system
  • Help to prevent or delay cancer such as prostate cancer
  • Help to maintain a healthy skin
  • Help in the functioning of the brain and nervous system

They also help the body in the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates

Sources of Vitamins:

  • A diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Egg and milk

Minerals

Like vitamins, minerals also help the body with many functions such as build strong teeth and bones, regulate metabolism, and keep the body properly hydrated.  Some essential and common minerals are calcium, zinc, and iron and they are important for our body because:

  • Calcium strengthens bones and teeth and also helps in the transmission of the nerve signal, maintains healthy blood pressure, helps in the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
  • Iron helps red blood cells and the creation of hormones.
  • Zinc boosts the immune system and helps in the healing of wounds.

Sources of Minerals

  • Red meat
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Seafood
  • Iodized salt
  • Egg yolks and vegetables
  • Whole grains and fortified bread and cereals

Why is nutrition important

A healthy diet full of nutrients throughout life helps to aids healthy pregnancy outcomes. That does not mean only women require a nutritious diet! All living individuals need a healthy diet for normal growth and development, to maintain a healthy weight of the body, to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and ultimately the overall health and well-being of a person is related to the intake of a healthy diet.

Nutrients rich food

Nutrients rich food is very crucial for your health, so you should choose a diet rich in nutrients. A nutrient-rich food has low starches, sugar, sodium, and bad fats. On the other hand, such food contains a large number of vitamins, minerals, and small calories. Fruits and vegetables are natural nutrients rich foods. Fish, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, dairy, seeds, and nuts also contain a high amount of nutrients. So choosing a nutrient-rich diet is essential for achieving a balance and building a healthier eating pattern.

A right path to improved health

Macronutrients are easily available to your body because mostly the food you eat contains the essential macronutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and water but you may not get all the necessary micronutrients that your body requires. If you eat a high calories food that does not mean you also have all the micronutrients through such food. Usually, a food that is high in calories does not necessarily mean a nutritional food, often this food is low in micronutrients and often also contains added salt, sugar, and saturated fats. Such a diet can be a cause of weight gain and can also increase your risk of other health problems. These days, many foods are available which are nutrient-poor. Such foods do not contain much nutrition required by your body to function properly. Always eat foods that are rich in the right amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, vitamins, minerals, and fiber

Conclusion

To sum up this discussion, we can say that these all nutrients are vital for the proper functioning of the body, so, a person needs to consume all the essential nutrients to make sure better health.  Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fats, and whole grains is the way to have these vital nutrients which your body needs to function normally, to stay safe and healthy.

      Written By: Sonia Saba

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