Food & Nutrition
The food we eat plays a major role in maintaining our health. Our diet is the source of nutrition for our body. The body requires several nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which help in maintaining the functions of several organs and systems. These nutrients also protect our body against harmful pathogens and the effects of factors like environmental toxins thereby preventing a range of disorders. Proper nutrition can help to promote a good health.
Five Categories of Nutrients
There are five categories of nutrients that are needed by the body:
- Vitamins and minerals
Proteins contain amino acids, which help to build and maintain the body tissues. There are 20 amino acids, which are considered essential for the proper functioning of the body out of which twelve are manufactured in the body and the remaining eight must be obtained from the food.
Fats supply energy to the body needed to carry out its various functions. Fats are also needed to transport the other nutrients. There are basically two families of fatty acids:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Omega-6 fatty acids
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body and should form a major part of the total intake of food. However, an excess consumption of carbohydrates can result in obesity and increase the risk of several disorders such as diabetes.
Though fibers cannot be digested by the body, they can help in improving the digestion and preventing constipation.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are needed in small amounts for the regulation of metabolic processes and the maintenance of proper growth and functioning of the body.