“Nutrition is the process of absorbing nutrients from the food you eat.”
• Carbohydrates –
Carbohydrates are energy nutrients and our main source of energy. They are easily digested and broken down into glucose, which the body uses to perform its many functions. The body receives 4 calories for every 1 gram of carbohydrate consumed.
Carbohydrates are grouped into
simple carbohydrates (sugar), complex carbohydrates (fiber) and starch.
and based on the glycemic index, it is grouped into low, moderate and high
Glycemic index showing the measure of how high and how quickly blood sugar levels change after eating carbohydrates. The higher the glycemic index, the greater the rise in blood sugar and the longer it takes to return to normal. For a healthy diet, it is better to give preference to foods with a low glycemic index and this also depends on physical work. Foods with a high glycemic index have been linked to high risks of heart disease and diabetes.
Need for carbohydrates in our diet:
Carbs should make up 45-65% of the calories in your diet, or about 225-325g of carbs for someone on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Healthy and unhealthy sources of carbohydrates in our diet:
The healthiest sources of carbohydrates are whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed or minimally processed beans.
Less healthy carbohydrate sources include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These elements contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss and promote diabetes and heart disease.
• Fats –
Fats are an essential part of the diet. One of the sources of energy and important compared to fat-soluble vitamins.
1 gram of fat provides 37 kJ (9 kcal) of energy. Foods that contain a lot of fat provide a lot of energy.
There are different types of fats, including saturated fats and unsaturated fats.
Saturated fats are normally solid at room temperature, while unsaturated fats are liquid.
A high intake of saturated or trans fatty acids can have adverse health effects.
Foods containing polyunsaturated fats are essential for good health and overall health. Found in seafood such as tuna, mackerel and salmon, as well as nuts and canola and flax seed oils.
• Fiber –
The indigestible fibrous part of our food essential to the health of the digestive system.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate. Although most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules and passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to control hunger and blood sugar.
Fiber should make up at least 5% of your daily caloric intake. Children and adults need at least 20-30 grams of fiber daily for good health when consuming 2,000 calories per day. Fiber comes in two varieties, both of which are beneficial to health:
• Soluble fibre, which dissolves in water, can help lower glucose levels as well as lower blood cholesterol.
• Insoluble fibre, which does not dissolve in water, can help food move through your digestive system, promoting regularity and helping to prevent constipation.
• Minerals – Minerals are inorganic substances and essential nutrients that are needed in small amounts to maintain good health. Minerals don’t give you energy or calories, but they help build bones and teeth. People have different needs, depending on their age, gender, physiological state (pregnancy, for example) and sometimes their state of health. Some minerals are needed in greater amounts than others, for example calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride. Others are needed in smaller quantities and are sometimes called trace minerals, for example iron, zinc, iodine, fluoride, selenium and copper.
Protein – Proteins are made by combining smaller amino acids. Proteins in the diet are called macronutrients and provide energy (calories) to the body. There are 20 amino acids used to build proteins.
Since all cells and tissues contain proteins, they are therefore essential for the growth and repair of muscles and other body tissues. Hair and nails are mostly made up of protein. You also use proteins to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.
Each gram of protein contains 4 calories. The Dietary Reference Intake (RNI) is set at 0.75 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for adults.
Sources of protein include meat products (burger, fish, chicken), dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese), eggs, tofu, lentils, and soy milk.
Vitamins – Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential in very small amounts to support normal physiological function. Vitamins do not give you calories or energy, but help you stay healthy.
There are two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins include vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, vitamin C, biotin, and folate. They are not stored in large amounts in the body, and any excess is lost through urine.
Water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins play an important role in many chemical processes in the body. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K and they can be stored in your body. Large amounts of fat-soluble vitamins are not recommended, as they can cause health problems.
• Water – Water contains no calories and is not a source of fat, protein or carbohydrates. Although pure water does not contain any additional nutrients. Water is a nutrient in its own right, helping every cell in your body function properly as a vehicle to transport other nutrients, as 60% of the human body is made up of water.
• Water regulates bodily fluids
• Water helps digestion and makes you feel full (so you eat less)
• Water prevents muscle fatigue and dehydration
• Water supports the kidney process of ridding the body of toxins
To meet the Institute of Medicine’s water intake recommendations, men should drink about 13 cups of non-alcoholic fluids per day, while women should drink about 9 cups.