Nutrition: Some basics

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What is nutrition?

Nutrition is the field of study that determines the actions and effects of nutrients in food materials. All these actions and effects are in direct relation to maintenance, growth of an organism, reproducing further, being healthy and various other aspects.

What an organism eats is known as a diet? A diet is to a greater extent determined by the availability of nutritional food in its surroundings. There are various health professionals or dieticians who help in maintaining a different or a specific diet for the required persons.

Also, having a poor nutritional diet may have various effects on health that are deemed to be injurious and unhealthy. Scurvy and kwashiorkor are such threatening diseases. Whereas an excess of nutrition in a bad way makes one prone to diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other weight-related health issues.

 

Nutrients

Nutrients are the building blocks of nutrition. These are the constituents of food that are used by an organism for survival and growth simultaneously. These are used for repairing and building of the tissues, in regulation of the processes of the body, and therefore conversion into energy. Most of the foods consist of a mixture of all the types of nutrients along with other substances like toxins. Some of the nutrients may be stored in the body while the consumption of the others is dependent.

As of the latest studies, nutrients are of two types: Macronutrients and Micronutrients

  • Macronutrients: As the name suggests, these are the nutrients needed in larger amounts for the body. These are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water. The macronutrients are instrumental in providing structure to the body along with energy.
  • Micronutrients: The nutrients, which are needed by the body in smaller amounts, are called as micronutrients. These are minerals, vitamins, fibers and phytochemicals. The minerals and vitamins are normally supplied to the body by food as they are present in almost all the food items.

One should be cautious in consuming the macronutrients and the micronutrients in adequate amounts as the excess leads to deficiencies and disorders. And an adequate amount refers to as a balanced diet. Various nutritionists have different definitions, but they are more or less the same.

 

Balanced diet

A balanced diet is a form of nutrition, which helps to maintain the improvement of the overall health process and a healthy body. It requires various foods based on plants and animals. A healthy diet is necessary for a disease free body.

There are five major health recommendations made by the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • To eat the same amount of calories which the body is uses.
  • Increased consumption of the plant based foods like fruits, legumes, vegetables, nuts and grains.
  • Limited consumption of fats.
  • Limited consumption of sugar.
  • Limited consumption of salt. The salt consumed must be iodized.

 

Malnutrition

A diet with improper balance of nutrients (excess or less) is referred to as an improper diet or malnutrition. The developed countries showcase a consumption excess of the nutrients (excessive consumption) hence leading to an excessive form of malnutrition. But more organisms suffer from the deficiency diseases which exist due to insufficient consumption of food (insufficient/under-consumption).

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