As a natural nutritionist, it makes me sad to constantly read about the modern diets of many of our youngsters and adults in today’s society. A lot of people are eating highly processed, nutritionally poor foods, leading to illness. Understanding how food affects your body is crucial for good health. Learning how nutrition works can make you feel better and look younger, as well as improve your overall health.
This article will provide information on the basics of nutrition interspersed with some interesting facts to help you understand why food is important for good health. Hopefully, this article will also inspire you to start eating more fresh, unprocessed, unrefined foods.
The Basics of Nutrition:
Nutrients are found in food, and they provide us with energy and help our bodies to function correctly. There are different types of nutrients: Carbohydrates, proteins, lipids (fats), and water. We need all four groups for good health as well as vitamins and minerals, also known as micronutrients.
To work properly, our bodies require energy in the form of calories or kilojoules (kJ). This is supplied by the macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. We get all of these from food. Vitamins and minerals supply us with antioxidants that help protect our cells from damage and micronutrients such as phytochemicals, modes of action, and saponins. These all help to improve our health in different ways.
To achieve optimal health, it is recommended that you eat a variety of healthy, nutrient-rich foods, including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, some whole grains (preferably wholegrain or sourdough), beans, legumes, and nuts.
46+ Things you probably didn’t know about nutrition:
1. A lack of vitamin D in the diet is a risk factor for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. If you stay out of the sun and aren’t supplementing your diet with vitamin D, indeed, you could be at serious risk, especially when combined with calcium deficiency.
2. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a well-known cause of pernicious anemia. However, it can also lead to other health problems, including nervous system damage and cognitive impairment.
3. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is just 35 mg/day for women and 45 mg/day for men in the UK. The RDA in the US is 60 mg/day, but many experts say that this is still too low and should be at least double, if not more.
4. The body metabolizes the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in food into energy for the cells to use for different bodily functions or storage. Carbohydrates are metabolized into glucose (blood sugar) and release energy. Protein is metabolized into amino acids and released as energy or used to build and repair body tissues such as muscles and skin. Fats are metabolized into fatty acids and glycerol and produce energy.
5. Carbohydrates: There are three different types of carbohydrates: Monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose), disaccharides (sucrose, lactose, maltose), and polysaccharides (starch).
6. The micronutrients are nutrients required for our bodies to remain healthy. Vitamins and minerals are the primary antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress, which is the cause of many chronic diseases, including cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
7. Our bodies need calcium in our diets because it helps make bones strong and healthy – especially during our younger years. It also helps to regulate muscle contraction and blood clotting, nerve transmission, and hormonal secretion such as insulin. Our bodies also need magnesium for healthy bones.
8. Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting, and it helps the blood vessels to stay transparent and flexible by preventing calcium from accumulating in them and turning them solid. This prevents heart disease and keeps our veins and arteries supple, so we don’t get varicose veins or hardening.
9. Our bodies need vitamin C because it helps the immune system work properly, protects against free-radical damage, and even fights cancer.
10. The micronutrients are nutrients required for our bodies to remain healthy. Vitamins and minerals are the primary antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress, which is the cause of many chronic diseases, including cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
11. Iron: Anemia (reduces red blood cells and hemoglobin) and iron-deficiency anemia (decreased ability to transport oxygen due to low hemoglobin levels) can result from a lack of dietary iron or vitamin B12 deficiencies.
12. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 billion people worldwide suffer from iodine deficiency disorders such as goiter and mental retardation resulting in poor memory and reduced IQ.
13. The micronutrients are nutrients required for our bodies to remain healthy. Vitamins and minerals are the primary antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress, which is the cause of many chronic diseases, including cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
14. Magnesium deficiency can result in insomnia or restless sleep due to muscle tension and pain from the lack of magnesium needed to relax muscles properly. It can also cause muscle cramps or spasms and hypertension (high blood pressure) because it helps calcium get into cells where calcium is supposed to be while helping sodium stay outside of cells where sodium belongs so blood pressure remains normal.
15. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 billion people worldwide suffer from iodine deficiency disorders such as goiter and mental retardation resulting in poor memory and reduced IQ.
16. Both iron-deficient anemia and vitamin A deficiency can cause blindness, while vitamin A lack can also result in profound immune system failure and increased susceptibility to infection.
17. The micronutrients are nutrients required for our bodies to remain healthy. Vitamins and minerals are the primary antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress, which is the cause of many chronic diseases, including cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
18. Sodium is a part of table salt – otherwise known as sodium chloride – which helps in the body’s ability to maintain the proper balance of fluids. A lack of sodium can result in muscle cramps or weakness, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, and disorientation.
19. The micronutrients are nutrients required for our bodies to remain healthy. Vitamins and minerals are the primary antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress, which is the cause of many chronic diseases, including cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
20. The micronutrient vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, regenerate tissue (including skin), boosts immune system function, helps with wound healing, reduces blood pressure, increases good cholesterol levels while lowering harmful cholesterol levels; enhances the benefits of B-vitamins; reduces age spots; maintains healthy bones, teeth, and gums; prevents bruising; maintains capillary strength for improved circulation.
21. Vitamins and minerals are the primary antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress, which is the cause of many chronic diseases, including cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. It is used by the body in chemical reactions and is needed for brain function and stimulation of red blood cell production. Our bodies do not make Vitamin C on their own; we need to get it from our diets or supplements.
22. Humans require vitamins and minerals due to the body’s inability to produce some enzymes, hormones, or chemical messengers without those nutrients. For example, fatty acids cannot be made from scratch by the body, so we have to get them directly from food – they’re essential for survival because every cell membrane has them and contribute to healthy skin, hair, and nails.
23. All B-vitamins are necessary for healthy skin, especially biotin (B7), which is used to produce sebum that keeps your skin moist and helps maintain a strong protein structure in your body’s tissues, bones, nerves, muscles & blood vessels. They also help with making DNA and RNA, metabolizing carbohydrates, lipids & proteins, and in the process of aerobic respiration.
24. Folate: A lack of folate can result in megaloblastic anemia, characterized by abnormally large red blood cells. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath on exertion.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Swollen tongue.
- Cracks in the sides of your mouth.
25. According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy nerve cells. It plays a role in making DNA and RNA that help our bodies grow and develop properly and remain healthy, repair themselves, and reproduce new cells when needed.
26. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s): Omega-3 & Omega-6 are necessary for healthy skin, hair, and nails. They regulate sebum production, which keeps the skin moist and hydrated throughout the day, thereby preventing dryness and scaling on your face or body. They also contribute to healthier-looking hair because it lubricates the hair shaft, thereby adding volume and making your hair manageable without being greasy or limp. EFAs work as a protective barrier on the skin to keep it soft, healthy, and supple.
27. Omega-3: Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is often referred to as “good fat” because it lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) while raising HDL (good cholesterol). You’ll find Omega-3 in cold-water fish like salmon and halibut, as well as green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli.
28. The body can also convert ALA to EPA & DHA, but not very efficiently. Hence, vegetarians and vegans need to get EPA & DHA directly through supplements or foods like seaweed, hemp seeds, and walnuts.
29. Fatty acids play an essential role in protecting your body against illnesses like heart disease, cancer, arthritis, etc. They also help regulate insulin levels which is especially beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes by helping to reduce blood glucose levels.
30. Amino acids: 20 different amino acids form the building blocks for a protein that your body needs to grow, repair, and maintain itself. Proteins make up your muscles, bones, skin, and hair, as well as enzymes and chemical messengers throughout your body’s systems such as the immune, digestive and neurological.
31. Twenty different amino acids play a role in your body’s structure and function, so eating foods containing them or taking an amino acid supplement is essential. They’re especially beneficial for people with sickle cell disease because they strengthen the blood cells, making them less likely to break apart, leading to sickle cell crisis, septicemia, stroke, and kidney disease.
32. Protein: According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, your body needs protein for proper growth and development, as well as making sure that the chemical reactions in your body’s cells continue to take place properly. Proteins also help maintain the health of your muscles, bones, skin, and hair.
33. According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, protein ensures that your body’s chemical reactions continue to occur correctly, contributing to healthy growth and development and building strong muscles, bones, skin, & hair.
34. VITAMIN B: Vitamin B is a group of vitamins essential in cell metabolism.
35. Vitamin B aids in metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which help with energy production and the proper function of your nervous system. It also helps make sure that your cells communicate correctly so your body’s systems can behave as they should.
36. Vitamin B helps make sure that your cells communicate correctly so your body’s systems can behave as they should, which is why it contributes to healthy growth and development because of a person’s ability to metabolize food into energy, its role in nerve function that ensures proper muscle contraction & relaxation, heart function, blood formation and composition of developing red blood cells.
37. Folate: Vitamin B9, also known as folate or folic acid, helps your body form new cells and produce healthy red blood cells.
38. Anemia is a condition in which the body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to your organs & tissues, contributing to breathing problems, fatigue, dizziness, and even heart failure.
39. Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps your body produce healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your organs & tissues, convert carbohydrates into glucose for energy production, and is needed to make DNA (the building blocks of life).
40. Vitamin B12 is needed to make DNA (the building blocks of life) which helps your body form healthy new red blood cells that carry oxygen to your body’s organs & tissues.
41. Vitamin B12 also converts carbohydrates into glucose for energy production and contributes to the functions of the brain and nervous system, helps maintain a constant internal environment, and is needed to make DNA (the building blocks of life).
42. Vitamin B12 helps keep the nervous system functioning properly and contributes to healthy brain function, which is why it’s one of the critical supplements that people with sickle cell disease take. It also helps maintain a stable internal environment & converts carbohydrates into glucose for energy production.
43. NUTRIENTS: Nutrients are substances that provide nourishment, support, or sustain life.
44. The body needs a wide range of nutrients to support the growth and development of children as well as maintain a healthy weight which is why people with sickle cell disease need to eat a diet that contains a variety of foods because it’s required to maintain a healthy weight, proper growth and development can’t take place without enough nutrients.
45. Minerals: Minerals are elements that come from the earth and cannot be made by the body, so they need to be obtained through food or dietary supplements.
46. Minerals help build your bones, regulate body fluids, produce enzymes and hormones for vital bodily functions, conduct nerve impulses and help with blood clotting, which is why they’re critical components of the diet that people with sickle cell disease should follow. Minerals also regulate body fluids & produce enzymes & hormones for vital bodily functions.
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