College of DuPage Nursing Student Savita Paneru wrote for Healthy Lombard that understanding nutrition empowers us to make better nutritional choices. Proper nutrition is important for a healthy body and brain. So, the question is what is nutrition, and how does it help us to stay healthy? Nutrition refers to all the vitamins and minerals necessary for the body to function normally and remain healthy on a daily basis. We need adequate nutrition throughout our life. Science has demonstrated that the nutrients found in the food we eat are necessary for health and longevity (Lamb et al., 2013). Nutrition, therefore, is the science of nourishing our body, from the food we eat to how our body utilizes it.
The essential components necessary for growth and development include protein, carbohydrates, fats, calcium, vitamins, and minerals (Lamb et al.,). Diets vary according to culture, however, the need for adequate nutrition includes every individual throughout the lifespan; all have a need for adequate nutrition however, this varies by food choice. The health, function, and structure of the body are a product of nutrition. It is also important to remember that natural foods contain more than one nutrient; milk is composed of water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, mineral salts, and vitamins. Each of these nutrients and minerals has a specific function of use in the body. The number of nutrients necessary for everyone is influenced by age, sex, body mass, activity level, and the overall state of health (Lamb et al.,).
Studies have found that people with a food supply deficit have a highly abnormal height and weight ratio and diagnosed with malnutrition (Lamb et al.). Protein is essential to fuel and to carry oxygen throughout our body in the blood (Lamb et al.,). It also functions in developing antibodies as part of the immune system function to prevent infection and for necessary cell function. An inadequate protein intake may result in numerous health issues such as improper growth and maintenance so eating a diet that includes protein is important. Protein can be obtained from meat, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, dairy products, and dried beans.
Calcium is important for overall health and a mineral that is necessary for life and especially, bone growth. Calcium in the adult maintains bone strength, while in the child it is necessary for bone development. Calcium is also important for nervous system function, muscle contraction, and heart function. Calcium is also a clotting factor so important in the event injuries occur. A calcium-rich diet includes dairy, nuts, leafy greens, and fish.
All the vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Folic acid, Iron, and Zinc are also essential. The food containing Vitamin A are carrots and it is important for healthy eyes, whole grain food have Vitamin B and is important for energy production, oranges, grapefruits have Vitamin C and is good for strengthening blood vessels, skin elasticity, the good source of Vitamin D is the sun and it helps with strong bones, all the seeds contain Vitamin E and is important for good circulation, kale, spinach contain Vitamin K and is important for blood coagulation, Folic acid is important for pregnant women so that baby doesn’t get any birth defects and food containing folic acid are dark leafy greens, asparagus, corn, etc., organ meat contains iron and is important for building muscles, dark chocolates and beans have zinc and is important for immunity, growth, and fertility. It is important to take some vitamins every day whereas, other vitamins may be taken less frequently because they are fat-soluble and stored in the body for longer durations. Vitamins and minerals are readily available from plants and without adequate levels, our body function would be impaired.