Nutrition refers to the provision of nutrients required to support life, to the organisms and cells of the body. A healthy diet can help to alleviate several health problems, but you may be wondering what nutrition is. Dietitians are the health professionals who specialize in meal planning, human nutrition, preparation and economics. Their training enables them to offer, evidence-based, safe and dietary advice to both institutions and individuals. It is pertinent to have a balanced diet in order to avoid deficiency ailments, such as obesity, scurvy, diabetes and many others.
What are the major classes of nutrients?
The main classes of nutrients include protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, water and vitamins. The categorization of these nutrients depends on whether they are macronutrients or micronutrients. Macronutrients are those nutrients that the body requires in large amounts while micronutrients are those that the body needs in smaller quantities. The macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, water and fats. On the contrary, the only main macronutrients are minerals and vitamins
What do carbohydrates entail?
Carbohydrates are the source of energy of the human’s body. Their subclasses include disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polysaccharides based on the number of sugar units (monomers) they contain. Monosaccharides have one sugar unit while disaccharides have two and polysaccharides have several sugar units. Polysaccharides are at times referred to as complex sugars since they lack various branched chains of monomers. Earlier studies showed that the absorption of simple carbohydrates is fast and likely to increase blood sugar levels quite speedily than complex carbohydrates. However, most recent studies show that both simple and complex carbohydrates have the same absorption rate.
What is the role of fiber?
Dietary fiber refers to the carbohydrate that undergoes incomplete absorption in the body. It contains cellulose, a large indigestible polymer because humans lack the relevant enzymes to digest it. The good sources of fiber include fruits, whole grains and vegetables. Fiber reduces the possibilities of gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and constipation. Moreover, fiber stimulates peristalsis – a rhythmic movement of food along the digestive tract.
What is the role of proteins?
Proteins constitute most of the animal body structures like the skin, muscles, and hair. They form enzymes, which control the body’s chemical reactions. Each molecule contains amino acids characterized by the inclusion of nitrogen and at times, sulfur. The amino acids help in the production of new proteins and replacement of the damaged ones. Animals have both essential and nonessential forms of amino acids. Vital amino acids are those the body cannot produce and contain about 10 in number. Non-essential amino acids are those that the body can produce from nitrogen rich compounds, and are about 20 in number.
What function do minerals play?
Dietary minerals refer to the chemical elements that living organisms need. The four common elements are carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen; they exist in almost all organic molecules. Metal ions on the other hand are heavier than the common four elements. Examples of metal ions are calcium, potassium and magnesium. Calcium helps to strengthen bones, clearing toxins, and neutralizing acidity. Magnesium helps in bone building, peristalsis and flexibility. Potassium is a great electrolyte that contributes to both nerve and heart health.
Nutrition centers about the health and nutrients that enhance it. The commonly known nutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, water, vitamins and fats. While carbohydrates supply energy for the body, proteins help in tissue building and maintenance. Fibers are part of carbohydrates and play a crucial role in the body. Minerals that occur in organic molecules include carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. The others are metal ions from metals like sodium, magnesium and calcium.