What Is Nutrition And Why Is It Important For Health And Wellness In Your Life

What Is Nutrition

There are so many reasons why nutrition is important for our health and wellness. The first, and most obvious, is a simple fact that we need food to survive. However, our food choices can have a direct effect on our overall health. 

Our food choices affect our health in many ways. For example, the foods we eat help our bodies with digestion, healing, and brain function. They also supply our bodies with the necessary nutrients we need to survive. 

The importance of nutrition for overall health and wellbeing is becoming more and more recognized. In our society, we often focus on what to eat after a workout or how to lose weight, but the overall importance of proper nutrition cannot be overstated.

Putting food on our plate and then choosing what we consume can have a huge impact on our health. Some food choices can make us feel better and some can actually make us feel worse. We will take a look at what nutrition is and the reasons why nutrition is important.

What is nutrition?

Nutrition is the process of providing or getting food, for living organisms. We all can’t live without it. It provides our bodies with fuel, which it needs to function properly.

The nutrients from food are broken down into their component parts and then transported to where they’re needed in the body. 

Different kinds of food provide us with different kinds of nutrients. Some examples include protein, calcium, vitamins, potassium, iodine, zinc, and iron. There are three main types of nutrients in food: carbohydrates, fats, proteins and water. 

Macronutrients

Macronutrients are nutrients found in food that provide the body with energy and other essential functions. Macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

These nutrients play an important role in every aspect of the body’s health and performance; they allow you to do everything from completing tasks at work to exercising or just being alive.

Carbohydrate

Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients in the diet. Carbohydrates are sugars that the body breaks down into glucose for energy.

Carbohydrates provide a steady flow of glucose to the bloodstream which is the key to maintaining energy levels throughout the day. 

Simple carbohydrates can be found in some fruits and vegetables which break down quickly in the body because these are low-glycemic carbs

Complex carbohydrates break down more slowly and are usually found in grains, potatoes, and bread. 

Fat

Fats are another of the three main macronutrients in the diet. Fats are needed for energy and are transported throughout the body as fuel. Fats also help create hormones and regulate our immune system.

Fats can be found in foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and even in oils. 

It can come from plant, animal, or synthetic sources. Fat is a type of nutrient found in food that contains more than twice as many calories per gram than either carbohydrates or protein. 

Without it, your body would not be able to absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, keep our skin and hair healthy, or produce hormones like testosterone.

Protein

Protein is a nutrient that helps with tissue repair and the growth of muscles. It provides energy for all of the body’s processes and is the building block for the cells in your body. 

It helps with weight management because it can maintain your appetite, serve as a substitute for carbohydrates, and slow down fat production.

Protein is a necessary nutrient in our diet. Proteins are broken into amino acids, which are the building blocks for cells.

Examples of foods that contain protein are eggs, lean meats, legumes, nuts and beans, soy products, whole grains and milk products. 

Water

Water is one of the most important nutrients for humans. It makes up about 60-70% of weight in the average person, daily water intake should be close to 1-1.5 liters each day. 

When hydrated, the body benefits from improved immune function, improved digestion and absorption of nutrients, better circulation, and less cardiovascular strain. 

Those who drink less than this amount are more prone to fatigue and dehydration, among other things.

Not only do we need to be drinking enough water every day to stay healthy, but we also need to be eating certain foods in order to maximize the benefits of our consumption of water and to ensure that this vital nutrient is getting into our cells and doing what it needs to do.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are nutrients that our body requires in small amounts, such as vitamins and minerals. These nutrients play a key role in our bodies’ metabolism and could help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. 

Today, many people do not get enough micronutrients because they do not eat enough variety of foods or purchase nutrient-rich foods. 

Micronutrients are essential to the human body in the sense that they provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, enzymes, and other substances. Micronutrients are not produced by the body (except vitamin d) but rather must come from food or dietary supplements. 

Some of these micronutrients include magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamin K1, vitamin K2 etc. A deficiency in any of these can result in serious health complications such as anemia or osteoporosis.

Vitamins

A healthy diet should consist of all foods that are essential for one’s well-being. The human body needs vitamins to function properly because they are responsible for the metabolic processes that occur in the body. 

There are thirteen major types of vitamins and four main food groups (not including supplements) that supply our bodies with these important nutrients. 

Vitamins can be either water-soluble or fat-soluble; this dictates how they are stored by the body, and how long they last in the system.

Water-soluble vitamins

The term “water-soluble vitamins” refers to a collection of vitamins, including vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins, that dissolve in water. 

VitaminPossible BenefitsDeficiency CausesRecommended Daily AllowanceFood Sources
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)Energy release, Maintaining nervous system, Growth development, Cell functionLoss of appetite, Constipation, Tiredness, Blurry vision, Heart rate changes, Nausea & vomitingMen 1.2 mg, Women 1.1 mgRice, Wholegrain breads, Fortified cereals, Liver, Peas, Nuts
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)Converts carbohydrate to ATP, Protects digestive tractAnemia, Sore throat, Skin inflammationMen 1.3 mg, Women 1.1 mgFish, Meat, Nuts, Pumpkins, Parsley, Avocados, Sweet potatoes
Vitamin B3 (niacin)Increase HDL cholesterol, Lower Triglycerides, Lower LDL cholesterolSkin inflammation, Diarrhea, DementiaMen 16 mg, Women 14 mgFortified cereals, Chicken, Fish, Brown rice, Peanuts
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)Lowers triglyceride, Increase HDL, Lowers LDLNumbness, Tiredness, Digestive painMen, 5 mg, Women 5 mgBeef liver, Breakfast cereals, Shitake mushrooms, Sunflower seeds, Chicken, Tuna, Avocados
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxamine, pyridoxal)Hemoglobin production, Immune system function, Increase moodAnemia, Itchy rashes, Scaly lips, Weak immune systemMen 1.7 mg, Women 1.5 mgPoultry, Fish, Organ meats, Potatoes, Starchy vegetables, Fruit
Vitamin B7 (biotin)Treat diabetes, More nail thickness, Better hair healthHair thinning, Loss of body hair, Eyes rash, Brittle nails, Skin infection, Nervous system disorders, High levels of acid in blood and urineMen 30 mcg, Women 30 mcgMeat, Fish, Eggs, Organ meats, Seeds, Nuts
Vitamin B9 (folic acid, folate)Reduces risk of cancer, Creates DNA, Prevents neural tube defects, Reduces depression, Prevents heart diseaseFatigue, Neural tube defects, Low birth weight, Anemia, HeadacheMen 400 mcg, Women 400 mcgBeef liver, Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Orange, Nuts, Beans, Peas
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)Reduces risk of cancer, Prevents heart disease, More EnergyTiredness, Anemia, Pale skin, Heart palpitations, Loss of appetite, Infertility hands numbness, Nerve problemsMen 2.4 mcg, Women 2.4 mcgFish, Meat & Poultry, Eggs, Milk, Beef liver, Breakfast cereals, Nutritional yeasts
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)Reduces risk of cancer, Prevents cardiovascular disease, Lowers risk of AMD, Lowers common cold symptomsScurvy, Fatigue, Gum inflammation, Red spots on skin, Joint pain, Poor wound healingMen 90 mg, Women 75 mgOranges, Grapefruit, Red and Green pepper, Kiwifruit, Broccoli, Strawberries, Cantaloupe, Baked potatoes, Tomatoes

Fat-soluble vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are a type of vitamin that dissolves in fat and not water. These vitamins are A, D, E and K. Vitamin D can be obtained from exposure to sunlight or through vitamin supplementation.

VitaminPossible BenefitsDeficiency CausesRecommended Daily AllowanceFood Sources
Vitamin A (retinol)Lowers risk of AMD, Prevents measlesPremature Infants, Eye disease In children, MeaslesMen 900 mcg, Women 700 mcgBeef liver, Sweet potato, Spinach, Pumpkin pie, Carrots, Ricotta cheese
Vitamin D (ergocalciferol)Prevent osteoporosis, Prevent falls, Reduces risk of cancerBone pain, Muscle weakness, Rickets in childrenMen 15 mcg, Women 15 mcgMilk, Breakfast cereals, Trout, Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel
Vitamin E (tocopherol)Prevents AMDCrohn’s disease, Cystic fibrosis, Nerve damage, Muscle damage, Weak immune systemMen 15 mg, Women 15 mgWheat germ oil, Sunflower oil, Safflower oil, Spinach, Broccoli, Breakfast cereal
Vitamin K (menaquinone)Reduces risk of coronary heart disease, Reduces risk of osteoporosisBruising, Bleeding, OsteoporosisMen 120 mcg, Women 90 mcgBlueberries, Figs, Meat, Cheese, Eggs, Soybeans

Minerals

Minerals are inorganic elements that are required for a variety of functions in the body, including enzyme production and blood clotting.

Minerals can be obtained from a wide range of foods that one eats on a daily basis, such as milk and bread. There are two types of minerals: macrominerals and microminerals. 

Macrominerals

Macrominerals are essential nutrients found in our food or available through supplementation. They include but are not limited to, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, potassium, chloride, and sodium. These minerals are often called “macros” because they are required in large amounts by the human body. 

MacromineralsPossible BenefitsDeficiency CausesRecommended Daily AllowanceFood Sources
CalciumSupports bone health, Could prevent preeclampsiaOsteoporosis, Rickets, Soft bones, Risk of fallingMen 1000 mg, Women 1200 mgSunlight, Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Canned sardines, Kale, Broccoli
MagnesiumLower blood pressure, Reduces risk of heart disease, Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, Reduces risk of osteoporosis, Less migraine headachesLoss of appetite, Nausea, Vomiting, Fatigue, WeaknessMen 400–420 mg, Women 310–320 mgLegumes, Nuts, Seeds, Whole grains, Spinach, Fortified breakfast
SulfurReduces risk of heart disease, Reduces joint pain, Reduces muscle pain, Reduces risk of brain diseaseInflammation, Joint pain, Osteoporosis, Poor immune system, Less muscle massMen 14 mg/Kg, Women 14 mg/KgEggs, Sesame seeds flour, Cheese, Brazil nuts, Soy protein concentrate, Chicken, Fish
PhosphorusStrong bones, strong teeth, aids muscles contraction, helps muscle recovery after exerciseLoss of appetite, Anemia, Muscle weakness, Coordination issues, Bone painMen 700 mg, Women 700 mgYogurt, Milk, Cheese, Bread, Brown rice, Oatmeal, Meats, Fish
PotassiumLower blood pressure, Reduced risk of kidney stones, Better bone healthHigher blood pressure, calcium depletion, risk of kidney stonesMen 3,400 mg, Women 2,600 mgDried apricots, Prunes, Bananas, Potatoes, Spinach, Lentils, Kidney beans
ChlorideAids muscle contraction, Nerve function, Supports digestion, Body fluid balance, Aids body oxygenationBody fluid loss, Dehydration, Tiredness, Stomach irritationMen 3g, Women 3gFish, Meat, Table salt, Soy sauce
SodiumBody fluid balance, Supports muscle function, Supports Nerve functionFatigue, Headaches, Weakness, Vomiting, Muscle crampsMen 2,300 mg, Women 2,300 mgTable salt, Canned meat, Burritos, Ravioli, Salted nuts, Canned beans

Microminerals

Microminerals are minerals that are necessary for human life but that need to be consumed in small doses. Microminerals are copper, fluoride, zinc, selenium, iron, cobalt, iodine and manganese. Microminerals are also essential for the growth of bones and teeth as well as for the production of red blood cells. 

MicromineralsPossible BenefitsDeficiency CausesRecommended Daily AllowanceFood Sources
CopperReduced risk of cardiovascular diseaseHypopigmentation, Connective tissue issues, Osteoporosis, Bone defects
Men 900 mcg, Women 900 mcgBeef, Liver, Potatoes, Mushrooms, Cashew nuts, Sunflower seeds, Turkey,Tofu
FluorideReduced risk of tooth decay, Reduced risk of bone fracturesTooth decay, Bone fracturesMen 4 mg, Women 3 mgTea, Coffee, Water, Raisins, Oatmeal, Grapefruit juice, Potatoes
ZincSupports Immune system, Aids wound healing, Reduced risk of diarrhea, Reduce duration of common coldGrowth retardation, Loss of appetite, Immune system issues, Hair loss, DiarrheaMen 11 mg, Women 8 mgBeef chuck roast, Beef patty, Baked beans, Breakfast cereal, Chicken, Pumpkin seeds, Yogurt
SeleniumReduced risk of Cancer, Reduced risk of heart disease, Better cognitive function, Better thyroid functionHeart disease, Male infertility, ArthritisMen 55 mcg, Women 55 mcgMeat, Poultry, Eggs, Dairy products, Breads, Cereals
IronReduced risk of anemia, Brain development in children, Hemoglobin productionLess hemoglobin, Stomach upset, Tiredness, Less energyMen 8 mg, Women 8 mgLean meat, Poultry, Fortified breakfast cereal, White beans, Lentils, Spinach, Kidney beans, Nuts
CobaltAids mitochondria conversion, Supports DNA synthesis, Reduced risk of anemiaAnemia, Nervous system issues, WeaknessMen 1-2 mcg, Women 1-2 mcgFish, Nuts, Broccoli, Spinach, Oats
IodineThyroid hormone production, Supports infant development, Reduced risk of fibrocystic breast diseaseThyroid issues, Nervous system issues, Fetus growth issues, Stunted growthMen 150 mcg, Women 150 mcgSeaweed, Bread, Cod, Yogurt, Milk, Iodized table salt, Egg
ManganeseSupports bone health, Reduced risk of diabetesWeak bones, Poor growth in children, Skin problems, Men hair color lossMen 2.3 mg, Women 1.8 mgBrown rice, Oatmeal, Whole-wheat bread, Hazelnuts and pecans, Soybeans, Lentils, Spinach, Pineapple, Tea

Why is nutrition important for physical activity?

Healthy eating is key for individuals engaging in any type of physical activity. In the United States alone, people spend over $60 billion a year on sports and fitness but only 1 out of 4 people have a healthy diet. 

The importance of nutrition for physical activities shines light on the importance of being mindful about what we eat and drink before, during, and after exercising. 

A person’s health is directly impacted by the foods they consume. What someone eats can affect their performance in sports, in their jobs, and even in everyday life.

Many people don’t realize that what they eat impacts their physical endurance or energy levels. 

For example, studies have found that eating an inadequate amount of protein can lead to fatigue during exercise while eating too many carbohydrates can lead to decreased mental clarity and a crash in energy levels after a meal.

When we eat, our body takes in nutrients from food and drinks that help it work properly. Proper nutrition helps with the normal function of our body. 

Tips for Healthy Eating

  • Eat a variety of food
  • Eat your veggies
  • Healthy fats are important
  • Protein is good for you
  • Drink lots of water
  • Cut bad sugars

How many types of diets are there?

The different types of diets out there have varying levels of success. Dieting has been a tried and true practice for many years, but with so many different fad diets available it can be difficult to know where to start. The first step is identifying the type of diet that will best suit your health.

Some people follow vegan, vegetarian, and paleo diets, while others eat gluten-free or atkins. However you want to eat, there’s a diet for you somewhere on the internet.

The great thing about dieting is that it is up to the individual to decide what is right for them and their lifestyle.

Conclusion

In conclusion, staying healthy is very important for our longevity and quality of life. Proper nutrition can help prevent many diseases as well as promote weight loss.

Eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day as well as drinking water instead of sugary drinks will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Our mental health, including time spent thinking about food, stress levels and stress management, are all affected by our food choices. Follow the advice in this article to help you make the best choices for your health and fitness.

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