Nutrition And Health Essays Example
Nutrients are substances found in our food that are used for producing energy, maintaining the structure of the body and regulating the various chemical processes occurring in the body (McGuire & Beerman, 2013). Our body requires various nutrients that include fats and carbohydrates, mineral and vitamins. Proteins, carbohydrates and fats, known as macronutrients, give the energy required for healthy body functioning. Micronutrients like calcium and phosphorus are essential for giving strength to the bones and teeth. Vitamins of various kinds are also micronutrients needed to facilitate various chemical reactions in the body to protect the cells from the damaging effects of pollution and sunlight.
Macronutrients and body health
Protein is the macronutrient that helps proper body functioning. About fifty percent of our body weight including muscles, skin, hair and nails comprises of proteins. Protein is useful for the body to build new cells in addition to maintaining the tissues of the body. Protein also plays a key role in performing key bodily functions through synthesizing many new proteins. Also, nearly half the quantity of dietary protein we consume everyday is used by the body to prepare different enzymes or special proteins that perform specific body functions like digesting the food and bringing together molecules for making new cells and other chemical substances. Since our bodies do not have the capacity to store up proteins or synthesize the amino acids we require every day, eating protein rich food is quite essential for normal body functioning. As per the recommendations of Institute of Medicines, an adult requires 0.8 gram of protein for each kilogram of body weight everyday (“Dietary reference intakes”). Thus, an adult requires around 50 grams of protein per day. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Animal sources have rich protein content that delivers all the amino acids our bodies require. Even though fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains are known for rich protein content, they lack one or other amino acids. Hence I would prefer meat, eggs, fish and dairy products along with grains, fruits and vegetables for my daily protein requirement.
Carbohydrates are the sugar compounds our bodies require for the effective functioning of our immune systems, clotting of blood, fertilization and growth. There are many forms of carbohydrates including simple and complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the most efficient energy sources of our body, and like a fuel they help smooth functioning of the brain, muscles and other organs of the body. Our bodies require 100 to 150 grams of carbohydrates per day for healthy functioning; healthy carbohydrate sources include beans, whole grains, nuts, yogurt and fruits. However, refined carbohydrates like corn syrup and sugar are unhealthy and promote obesity. I would prefer colorful fruits and vegetables in addition to fiber-rich carbohydrates like beans, peas, oatmeal that will ensure the health of my heart apart from facilitating easy bowel movements. This combination of carbohydrates also protects me against diabetes.
Fats are compounds of glycerol and other fatty acids that supply us energy along with proteins and carbohydrates. Fats help to make healthy tissues in addition to manufacturing bio-chemicals like various hormones from protein. The extra food we eat is also stored as fat and thus fats are also stored form of energy. Apart from giving shape to the body, fat cushions the skin and acts as a blanket to reduce heat loss. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats have less cholesterol and are good for the heart. Therefore, I choose olive oil, nuts, peanut butter and avocadoes that contain monounsaturated fat and soybean oil soymilk, tofu, flaxseed and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines to supplement my polyunsaturated fat requirement (Smith, Paul & Robinson, 2015).
Vitamins and body health
Vitamins control hundreds of chemical reactions in the body that are essential for promotion of growth, reproduction and metabolic activities for healthy growth (McGuire & Beerman, 2013). Certain vitamins, called antioxidants, protect the body against the harmful effects of pollution and thus immune the body against degenerative diseases like cancer. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble and thus can be stored along with fatty tissues. Vitamin A helps in skin care, bone development and normal body growth. Egg yolk, fish and meat products that supplement me with protein also help me meet my daily vitamin A requirement. I get my daily requirement of Vitamin D that helps my body absorb calcium for strengthening my bones and teeth from the sunlight. Vitamin E helps in maintaining the nerves, muscles and the reproductive system. Vitamin E also protects the heart by modifying and stabilizing the blood fats to guard the blood vessels from the injury induced by oxidative stress. Egg, butter, milk fat and liver along with vegetables, soybeans, green peas and spinach supply me with regular Vitamin E reserves. Vitamin K that helps me with blood clotting in addition to synthesizing proteins needed for bones, kidney and the blood are supplied by the plant and animal foods that I take. Vitamins B complex and C are soluble in water and the excess is lost through urination. Vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12) are essential for the functioning of the nervous system, improved vision, reducing body cholesterol and enhancing metabolism. Green leafy vegetables, egg, meat, milk products, nuts, beans, potatoes and fish will take care of my Vitamin B complex requirements.
Minerals and body health
Fifteen minerals that serve various purposes are essential for effective body functioning (McGuire & Beerman, 2013). For instance, calcium that I get from dairy products strengthens my bones to take care of the structural components of the body. Sodium I get from my food choice of sea fish and cheese helps in regulating the fluid balance in and outside the cells. Selenium I get from seeds and nuts helps with various body chemical reactions toward protecting my cell membranes. Iron helps in formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body. My preferred food source for supplying me iron is beef and liver. Zinc is another mineral which is needed for the synthesis of nearly 100 enzymes needed for digestion, wound-healing, reproduction and metabolism. My preferred sources of zinc are animal, sea and dairy foods. Potassium, which is the basic positive ion present in the body cells, is essential for electrical and cellular functions associated with regulating water and acid base balance in the body. My preferred food sources for potassium include whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables and seeds. Magnesium, also called the anti-stress mineral, helps to relax the skeletal muscles in addition to helping in hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the body toward contributing energy production and cardio vascular function. My preferred food source for magnesium includes legumes, vegetables, sea-food and soy products.
Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients). (2015). Institute of Medicine.
McGuire, M., & Beerman, K. (2013). NUTR (Student ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth ;.
Smith, M., Paul, M., & Robinson, L. (2015, February 15). Choosing healthy fats. Retrieved April 5, 2015, from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-fats.htm