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What is nutrition?
Nutrition is the intake of food and drink by the human body and the subsequent
chemical and physical processes that occur within the body when the food is
broken down and the nutrients needed to maintain the body and keep it in good
working order are released.
Why is good nutrition so important?
Food and the nutrients obtained from food are vital to keep the body healthy and
alive. Nutrients are required in order to build and repair cells and body tissues,
maintain the organs and bones in optimum working condition and to provide
energy, fuel and warmth.
Good nutrition is essential for good health and eating nutritious food can help to
prevent against common ailments, as well as more life threatening illnesses and
edical scientists now believe that a third of all cancers and most cases of heart
disease are related to poor diet.
Nowadays, we are becoming more aware of how our diet is important to our health
and that it is vital that we eat the right kinds of food to stay healthy and fit.
!ow is good nutrition achieved?
"ifferent types of food provide the body with different nutrients. #t is impossible to
obtain all the necessary nutrients needed for good health and growth, solely from
one type of food. $herefore, good nutrition and good health is achieved by eating a
well%balanced, healthy and varied diet.
What is a balanced diet?
Food can be broken down into & ma'or groups. $hese groups are carbohydrates,
proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals and water. $he body needs varying amounts
of these types of food so that the adequate amount of nutrients is supplied to the
body. ( well%balanced diet does not mean an equal amount of each type of food, as
our body requires more of some nutrients than others.
)ach type of food plays a significant role in our body but e*cesses or deficiencies
of certain types of food can also harm the body and produce a negative impact on
our health.
#t is very important that we know how much of each type of food we are supposed
to consume and that we eat in a sensible way. $his means eating regular meals at
least three times a day and drinking plenty of water.
What are carbohydrates and how much should we eat?
+arbohydrates provide the body with fuel and energy to keep going throughout the
day and should make up half the daily intake of food.
+arbohydrates can be classified as simple or comple*. ,imple carbohydrates are
made up of sugars, which are quickly broken down by the body to give a sudden
energy rush and these should be limited in the diet.
( good, healthy diet should contain a high proportion of comple* carbohydrates,
which are high in fibre and low in fat. +omple* carbohydrates are broken down
less quickly by the body and provide a longer lasting and steadier flow of energy to
the body.
+omple* carbohydrates come in the form of bread, pasta, cereals, rice and potatoes
and if possible the wholemeal variety should be consumed i.e.- brown rice,
wholemeal bread, whole wheat pasta.
(ccording to nutritionists working for the (merican Government, a person should
eat between . % // servings of comple* carbohydrates a day.
What about proteins?
0roteins are necessary for the growth and repair of the body1s muscles, cells and
tissues. $hey protect the body from infection and disease and are also good sources
of some vitamins and minerals.
0roteins are essentially obtained from products of animal origin, such as meat,
dairy products, eggs and fish, however, as they also contain certain amounts of fat,
they should be consumed in smaller quantities than other types of food.
0roteins can also be derived from vegetable products such as beans, lentils, nuts
and rice.
)*perts advise us to consume 2 % 3 servings of meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or
pulses a day and 2 % 3 servings of dairy products.
Which types of food supply us with the correct vitamins
and minerals?
Fruit and vegetables provide us with vitamins and minerals and should make up the
second largest part of our daily diet.
4itamins and minerals keep the body healthy and help to prevent against many
illnesses and diseases. $hey are vital to the correct function of our immune and
nervous systems and are paramount to good health.
( person with glowing and radiant skin, shiny hair and an abundance of energy is
sure to eat a diet that is full of vitamins and minerals.
( healthy diet is made up of 2 % 5 servings of fruit and 3 % & servings of vegetables
a day. #t is important to note that raw fruit and vegetables are much better for the
body, as they retain most of their nutrients. any nutrients can be lost during the
cooking process.
,hould we eliminate fats from our diet?
Not all fats should be totally eliminated from our diet, as some types of fat are
actually good for us in small quantities, and are essential for our bodies to function
We should avoid saturated fats, which are the 6bad6 fats, which if consumed in
e*cess can lead to cardiovascular disease amongst a whole range of other illnesses.
,aturated fats are found in unhealthy processed foods such as crisps, cakes,
biscuits, and in most animal and dairy products such as sausages, beef burgers,
bacon, pork, lamb, some cheeses, butter and full fat milk.
$he 6good6 fats are polyunsaturated fats in particular and monounsaturated fats,
which can both actually lower the cholesterol levels in our blood and prevent heart
Good sources of these fats can be obtained from oily fish such as sardines,
mackerel, salmon and trout, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, green leafy
vegetables and wholegrain cereals.
#t is recommended that no more than /78 of our daily calorie intake is made up of
saturated fats and that 2& % 3&8 of our daily calorie intake is from fats in general.
"o we really have to drink so much water?
Water is vital for life and our body depends on it. (round 978 of our body is made
up of water and therefore water is essential in order for the body to function
correctly. Without water our body will become dehydrated and eventually ill.
)very process that takes place within the body relies on water. Water is needed to
transport nutrients and o*ygen all around the body to where they are needed and is
necessary for processes such as digestion, circulation and the e*cretion and
elimination of to*ins and waste to take place.
(ll foods are made up of varying percentages of water but this is not enough and
e*perts recommend that : glasses of water should be consumed per day for good
(nd to summarise?
;asically, for optimum health a well%balanced diet should include plenty of
comple* carbohydrates, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, a moderate amount of
meat and dairy products, : glasses of water a day and a limited amount of saturated
fats and sugars.
( well%balanced diet should also be complemented with plenty of e*ercise, a small
intake of alcohol and no smoking whatsoever.