An Overview of Nutrition
Nutrition describes the choice and preparation of foods as well as their intake to be absorbed in the body. Healthy nutrition thus defines the process of eating a healthy diet, which can ensure that a wide range of health-related issues can be evaded. Conversely, diet defines what an organism ingests, which is usually established by perceived deliciousness of edible food materials. Dietitians play an important role in helping to manage human nutrition as they provide quality dietary advice on how individuals and institutions can plan, economize and prepare safe food. Conversely, clinical nutritionists play a more complex role in determining the important role that nutrition plays in perpetuating chronic illnesses (Jonnalagadda 85). They also research on the possible prevention and remedial actions that can be taken to address nutritional deficiencies before the affected victims can resolve to drugs. According to Rodolfo (88), poor nutrition can attribute to harmful effects on health thereby leading to various deficiency illnesses including scurvy and kwashiorkor. Poor nutrition can also lead to unhealthy conditions like obesity as well as chronic illnesses like diabetes. This paper aims to conduct an overview on nutrition so as to promote an understanding relating to how quality nutrition can be maintained along the family history.
An overview on nutrition
A review of what individuals consume during day and night can help to determine whether they have a healthy nutritional habit, which can in return help to determine whether they are at a risk of developing certain health-related complications. As explained by Jonnalagadda (87), proper nutrition should comprise of a diet constituting of both the macro and micronutrients. Macronutrients are the type of nutrients that individuals may be required to consume in large amounts while micronutrients are only required in small amounts. Any diet constituting to a healthy nutrition habit should as well comprise of dietary fiber, which refers to non-digestible food components that serve an important role in mechanical and biomechanical body processes (Rodolfo 89). Other micronutrients that can be included in a diet to enhance proper nutrition include antioxidants and phytochemicals, which play an important role in influencing crucial body systems. Most nutritious foods can constitute of one or more types of food nutrients that are usually stored internally and absorbed as often as they may be required in the body. Lack of important nutrients as well as their availability in excessive amounts can however attribute to poor health (Jonnalagadda 89).
According to Rodolfo (90), macronutrients play an important role in promoting healthy nutrition when they are taken in the right amount. Macronutrients, in exception with water and dietary fiber, play an important role in the body in that they supply structural materials and energy in the body. Some of the structural materials generated from the macronutrients can as well be used to generate energy within the body, which is usually quantified in joules or calories. Carbohydrates and proteins, which are an important part of macronutrients, provide approximately 17 kilojoules of energy in every gram while fats, which are also a part of macronutrients, provide about 37 kilojoules of energy for every gram.
Carbohydrates constitute crucial macronutrients that play an important role in enhancing proper nutrition. According to Jonnalagadda (92), carbohydrates, which can be classified into monosaccharides and polysaccharides, constitute of molecules that comprise of carbon, hydrogen as well as oxygen particles. These macronutrients are commonly found in a range of food products containing different sugar units that can later be broken down into energy. Simple carbohydrates are usually absorbed quickly into the body, and as such, they have the ability to raise the blood-sugar levels at a more rapid speed compared to other complex types of carbohydrates. This is however only the case because simple carbohydrates follow a distinct metabolic pathway that attribute to fractional catabolism (Rodolfo 91). However, when complex carbohydrates are broken down, they can as well be absorbed at a similar rate as that of simple carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are then broken down into an end product, glucose, which plays an important role in stimulating generation of insulin from the food being ingested into the blood stream. Taking proper components of carbohydrates can thus ensure that the body is protected from health complexities associated by lack of energy in the body. On this note, maintaining proper quantities of carbohydrates in each meal ensures that members of any given family are able to maintain a healthy nutrition throughout its history (Jonnalagadda 94).
Fats are equally important macronutrients that constitute to a healthy nutrition, which in return helps to protect the body various health complications associated with lack of or excessive consumption of fats. According to Rodolfo (92), fats are macronutrients that consist of molecules that are made up of fatty acids and glycerol. Fats can either be termed as saturated or unsaturated, which is often determined by the amount and structure of components contained in the fatty acids present. This means that saturated fats have all their carbon molecules bound to hydrogen molecules while unsaturated fats have their carbon molecules double bound to the hydrogen molecules. Unsaturated fats can further be categorized into monounsaturated fats, which describe those fats whose fatty acids comprise of a single double bond and polyunsaturated fats, which refer to fats whose fatty acids comprise of more than one double bond (Jonnalagadda 95). The location of the double bond within the fatty acids can further determine whether they will be categorized as omega-3 or omega -6. Unsaturated fats can as well be termed as transfats, which describe a category of fats whose fatty acids comprise of trans-isomer bonds. These types of fats are however rare as they can be created through an industrial process hence not available in natural foods. Fats are crucial in providing energy as well as important molecules that are responsible for boosting the immune system. This indicates that unsaturated fats should be included in a healthy diet to ensure that individuals within a given family have a healthy nutrition that can safeguard them from various health issues associated with lack of these essential nutrients (Rodolfo 95).
Saturated fats, which are commonly derived from animal sources, have however been common in a wide range of cultures around the world. While unsaturated fats particularly those derived from the vegetable oils are bound to be healthier compared to the saturated fats, the latter should be avoided, as they may not be suitable for good health. Individuals intending to enhance proper nutrition that can in return promote quality health should focus on saturated rather than the unsaturated fats (Jonnalagadda 98). This would ensure that important nutrients derived from fats are available in the body while complications that might result from taking the wrong components of fats are avoided. On this note, each category of fats should only be taken in the right components as needed in the body, and as such, excessive amounts that might be harmful to the body should be avoided. This ensures that complications like obesity, which are mainly associated with overconsumption of fats, do not occur in the family history (Rodolfo 96).
Fatty acids that are commonly described as essential are also crucial in a healthy nutrition and the subsequent prevention of various health-related ailments. Although a wide range of nutritional fatty acids are mainly non-essential in that the body is capable of generating them as often as they are needed, those referred to as essential must be supplied in a diet to help enhance quality nutrition. Proper nutrition can as well be enhanced when individuals ensure that a suitable balance of crucial fatty acids is available in the diet. This is because fatty acids that mainly include omega 3 and omega 6 have important roles throughout the human body. As explained by Jonnalagadda (101), essential components of fatty acids serve as hormones to some extent, and as such, they safeguard the body against certain inflammatory ailments. An essential balance between the essential components of fatty acids ensures that a balanced production of prostaglandins is maintained, which ensures that cardiovascular health is maintained. Families should thus ensure that a proper balance in these fatty acids is maintained to protect any member throughout the family history from developing cardiovascular illnesses. People particularly living in industrialized societies however tend to concentrate on processed oils, which significantly reduces the amount of essential components of fatty acids consumed. This in return interferes with the production of prostaglandins, which exposes the body to a wide range of cardiovascular illnesses (Rodolfo 97).
Proteins, which describe structural materials that constitute the largest component of the animal body, are other important macronutrients that should be included in a diet to promote healthy nutrition. Proteins are important in the body as they enhance the creation of important enzymes that are responsible for various chemical reactions in the human body. Protein molecules are made up of amino acids that enhance the production of new proteins in the body as well as the replacement of lost proteins. While the body does not have any storage provision for proteins, individuals intending to maintain healthy nutritional habits should ensure that they are present in their diet (Jonnalagadda 105). A diet should contain a sufficient amount of amino acids as these play crucial roles in body development, pregnancy and lactation. Individuals should thus ensure that any diet offered to members of their families has a sufficient amount of proteins, which ensures that the body is safeguarded to illnesses associated with protein deficiency.
Water is another important nutrient that should be included in healthy nutrition to safeguard the body from certain illnesses. This component is usually lost from the body in various ways including sweating and urine, which explains the need to rehydrate the body so as to replace these fluids. Nutritionists recommend that a person should take six to eight glasses of water per day but this recommendation does not have any scientific prove. A recommendation from the Food and Nutrition Board however, states that an individual should consume one milliliter of water for every energy unit of food consumed (Jonnalagadda 112). Such recommendations however indicate discrepancies pertaining to the appropriate amount of water that ought to be consumed to enhance good health. Individuals intending to maintain a healthy nutrition can thus base their water intake habit on healthy dietary guidelines or reference values indicating sufficient daily intakes. Such specifications may be provided from calculations relating to sufficient amounts of urine excreted as well as the amount of calories consumed (Rodolfo 99). The European Food Safety Authority however recommends that female adults intending to maintain a healthy nutrition habit should take about two liters of water per day while male adults should take about two and a half liters of water per day (Jonnalagadda 113). Fluids intended to enhance healthy rehydration can be generated from the water we drink, beverages consumed and food taken. Individuals in special situations like pregnancy and lactation should however take extra fluids so as to stay hydrated. While it may be challenging to consume a lot of water, it is always dangerous to consume very little as this may attribute to cases of dehydration. Conversely, taking excessive water than necessary can however lead to a condition known as water intoxication, which may ultimately be fatal. Families should thus ensure that adequate water is included in a diet to enhance quality nutritional health while avoiding health-related complexities that may result from lack of enough water or intake of more than necessary water (Rodolfo 100).
Micronutrients are equally important in enhancing proper nutrition hence promoting quality health while protecting the body from a wide range of ailments. According to Jonnalagadda (115), individuals should include different types of micronutrients in their diet to ensure that various diseases associated with their deficiency are evaded. Dietary minerals are among the crucial chemical elements that individuals intending to maintain a healthy nutrition should include in their diet. These may be obtained from natural food products or food supplements and they are usually absorbed in ionic forms. Minerals supply important ions in the body, and as such, they protect the body from mineral-related ailments like goiter. Macrominerals are a bulk type of minerals needed in the body to serve as electrolytes, which are crucial in protecting the body from various health complications (Rodolfo 102). Calcium is one of the most important electrolytes needed for digestive track development, bone formation, detoxification and promotion of membrane functions. Chlorine is another important electrolyte that combines with sodium to form sodium chloride, which is an important component that helps to maintain quality fluid balance in the body. It also enhances signal transmission, relaxation of muscles and balancing of blood pressure thereby maintaining a healthy state in the body. Sodium is also important in maintaining a suitable balance in body fluids, which in return ensures that critical body functions are properly regulated. Individuals should ensure that enough sodium is available in any diet as excessive or limited sodium in the body attributes to cell malfunctioning (Jonnalagadda 117). Potassium is another important electrolyte that is often found inside the body cells. This important component helps to enhance varying body functions that include heartbeat and muscle movement. Ensuring sufficient intake of potassium is important as abnormal amount of this component can attribute to potentially fatal reactions that include irregular heartbeats and abnormal functioning of the nervous system. Magnesium and phosphorus play an important role in promoting bone development, peristalsis, energy processing and body flexibility. Abnormal quantities of these components in the body can lead to abnormal functions in the body (Rodolfo 105). Individuals should thus ensure that these components are taken in the right proportion to protect the body from any potential implications that may be associated with any imbalances in the body. Other minerals, which are commonly known as trace minerals, are essential in nutrition to ensure that the body is properly safeguarded from various ailments that might result from imbalanced consumption of these mineral. Such minerals include manganese, iron, Zinc, iodine and copper and they play an important role in regulating functions of body enzymes. On this note, individuals should ensure that members of their families are allowed to take diets comprising of the trace minerals in the right quantity to ensure that health issues associated with lack of or excessive consumption of these minerals are eliminated from their family history (Jonnalagadda 118).
Vitamins are also important micronutrients that should be included in a healthy diet to protect the body from various implications associated with vitamin deficiency. According to Rodolfo (106), vitamins are vital nutrients that should be included in every diet to enhance survival and good health. Vitamins can be essential, meaning that they have to be supplied in every diet or non-essential meaning that they do not necessarily have to be supplied in the diet since the body can be able to generate them. Vitamin deficiencies can attribute to health implications that include certain types of cancer, damaged immune system, impaired metabolism and psychological disorder among others. Excessive consumption of vitamins may also be dangerous as they might increase the total amount of toxicity in the body. Individuals should thus ensure that they take diets comprising of proper quantities of vitamins to ensure that various health issues associated with vitamins are avoided (Jonnalagadda 120).
Healthy nutrition should also include consumption of dietary fibers to protect the body from health issues associated with these micronutrients. According to Rodolfo (107), dietary fiber is a nutrient that is partially absorbed in the body. Dietary fibers are examples of carbohydrates that can generate energy when fully metabolized. They however contain cellulose, which is a unique component that attributes to its indigestibility. Dietary fiber plays an important role in maintaining good health in that they prevent gastrointestinal implications by balancing the size and texture of stool. Insoluble fiber is important in enhancing peristalsis to improve the process of digestion. This type of fiber is also important in regulating the rate of sugar absorption, which in return regulates the blood sugar level (Rodolfo 108). Dietary fiber is also thought to play an important role in regulating the level of insulin spikes, while in return prevents possible development of type 2 diabetes. On this note, a healthy nutrition should comprise of sufficient supply of dietary to prevent the body from health implications associated with lack of this nutrient. Families should also ensure that consumption of dietary fiber becomes a trend in their diet to ensure that various issues associated with lack of this component are avoided in the family history (Jonnalagadda 121).
Antioxidants are other important nutrients that promote good health hence should be included in any diet to promote proper nutrition. According to Rodolfo (110), antioxidants enhance normal cellular development by neutralizing potentially harmful compounds that may be found in the body. Certain types of antioxidants can be generated by the human body while others have to be supplemented in the diet. Most antioxidants function in a joint network where they perpetuate each other’s functions in neutralizing the harmful compounds. On this note, consuming a range of antioxidants ensures that various byproducts that may ultimately release harmful compounds are effectively neutralized thereby reduce their potentially harmful effects in the body. Families should thus ensure that healthy diets that contain a sufficient amount of antioxidants to curb various health issues that might result from harmful chemical compounds are taken (Jonnalagadda 123).
Proper nutrition is an
important activity that individuals should integrate in their everyday life to
ensure that health implications related to poor nutrition are evaded in their day-to-day
life. Individuals should thus make healthy choices about the type of food they
consume during day and night to ensure that nutritional imbalances that can
result to certain health implications do not take place. While a healthy diet
should comprise various nutrients that can foster healthy nutrition,
individuals should ensure that every nutrient is taken in the required
proportion to promote good health while avoiding health issues that may result
from noncompliance with the requirements for a healthy nutrition. Individuals
should thus be able to distinguish between the various varieties of foods to
understand the various nutrients that they provide. This would ensure that a
certain type nutrient is not taken in excess while another nutrient is
overlooked. Individuals should also ensure that they maintain proper balance
between macronutrients, micronutrients, minerals, trace minerals, water,
vitamins and antioxidants. This ensures that different health issues associated
with lack of one or more of the important nutrients as well as those that might
result from taking these nutrients excessively are avoided.
Jonnalagadda, Kicklighter. “Nutrition Education Module Appeals to Students at Georgia State.” Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 97.4(2005):81-123.
Rodolfo, Nayga. “Nutrition Knowledge and Food Label Use”. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 34.1(2004):88-110.