The subject of nutrition is normally not paid attention to by many people. Even people in the health profession do not focus so much on nutrition when handling their clients. The main reason is that their training on nutrition is basically at a low level. The prime focus is on the application of drugs or surgery upon diagnosing the health condition and giving it a name.
Definition of nutrition is that it is the study of nutrients in foods, how the body uses them, and the relationship between diet, health and illness.
Hippocrates in the year 400 B.C. is considered as the father of modern medicine. Its interesting to note that he advised humanity that ”Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food”. He was saying that we should learn to eat our medicine inorder to attain optimal health. Well the question is do we really adhere to these great words of wisdom? Its a big no. Most people who I have come across and are interested in nutrition are those who’ve tried everything conventional and failed. The nutritional intervention is actually a last resort. Its good but also on the other hand so much damage has also occurred. The nutritional intervention if it had been carried out earlier may have helped to either prevent, halt or even reverse the condition. Well we say its never too late. Its better late than never.
Nutrition in Food
Different foods contain various quantities of nutrients. There are more than 40 nutrients that have been identified. For simplicity purposes they can be classified under the following seven classifications:
- Fats and oils
- Dietary fibre
We have minerals such as zinc, calcium,magnesium etc. Also in the category of vitamins we have vitamin A, vitamin E etc. Different foods may contain nutrients in different ratios. Therefore eating a mixed and balanced diet is recommended so that an adequate amount of each of the vita nutrients are available to the body cells.
Benefits of Food Nutrition
Supports The Digestive System
The digestive tract is where the food we eat passes through to be digested then nutrients are absorbed and finally the waste products be eliminated.
Provides Antioxidant Protection
Foods contain vitamins and many other nutrients that are powerful antioxidants. Vitamin C, A, E etc are examples. When food is being processed within the cells to produce energy there are by products of oxidation called free radicals. These products are quiet unstable because they lack an electron. They therefore tend to attack healthy cells to try and obtain a neutralizing electron. In the process the cells undergo what is called oxidation and are damaged. This is the process suspected to promote cancer and aging in the body.
Immune Protection and Enhancement
The immune system is made up of cells and organs that perform vital protective functions. Food provides the necessary protective nutrients e.g antioxidants that help fortify the immune function
Supports Muscle Development
Muscle development in the body is quiet vital. Organs such as the heart is composed of muscles. A strong powerful heart also requires strong muscles. Our legs also have muscles. If they are week then motion may become impossible.
Protein and other nutrients combinations are essential im muscle development. Food nutrition provides these.
Support Bones Development
Our bones give us structure and also bear much of the weight that we carry with us. They need to be strong and tough to resist most of the forces that it may encounter during daily activities.
Calcium, vitamin D, fish oils etc help improve our bone structure and health. Therefore food nutrition plays a vital role here.
Lowers Risks of Heart Disease
The heart is the organ that pumps the blood all over the body to transport nutrients and toxic wastes. The piping of the arteries need to be wide open and not clogged. Bad cholesterol generally get deposited in the arteries and may lead to blockage in the heart. There are foods that help lower cholesterol levels and also help unclogg arteries. Food nutrition is therefore essential to promote good heart health.
Lowers Risks of Cancer Development
Cancer is suspected to be due to the production of cells with damaged DNA. These cells tend to grow without limits hence exert pressure on both tissues and organs neighboring them. Therefore this interferes with the normal physiological functions of the cells and organs leading to disease manifestation.
Lowers Risks of Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition whereby the blood sugar remains elevated at abnormal levels after a meal or even after fasting.
Food nutrition contains fibre and other nutrients that help regulate the blood sugar levels. Zinc , chromium etc. play a significant role.
Helps Prevent Obesity
Obesity is on the rise in our modern society simply based on our dominant lifestyles. A western lifestyle that is comprised of refined and processed foods combined with a sedentary life all tend to promote obesity.
Supports Vision Health
The eye is a vital tool of vision. It is exposed to rays of light and dust. Sometimes also bacteria and viruses may make their way there. The most common eye aliments include glaucoma, cataract,macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
The antioxidants in food help protect the eyes from destruction by bacteria, viruses and free radicals. Lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants play a major role in vision protection and found in food nutrition.
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