Nutrition is a vital aspect of having a healthy life. It is imperative to have a balanced diet and nutrition-rich food to keep ourselves healthy. Nutritious food not only keeps the body healthy but also keeps mental health in check. Better nutrition means a stronger immune system, which lowers the risk of non-communicable diseases. Let’s understand the importance of nutrition in our daily life.
What is Nutrition?
Nutrition means providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth. Improved nutrition boosts our immune system, pregnancies become safer, increases mental alertness, and lowers the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases. There are seven types of nutrients that a human body requires, and given below are details of all of these nutrients:
Protein strengthens our body’s immune system and muscles. They contain amino acids that are very crucial for the body to function efficiently. Protein helps the body repair the damaged cells, creates new cells, and supports the synthesis of enzymes and hormones. For people who are vegetarians, they can get their dose of proteins from lentils, legumes, low-fat dairy, tofu, almonds, and seeds. Non-vegetarians can get their dose of proteins from fish, chicken, beef, turkey, and other types of meat.
Carbohydrates are considered energy-giving foods and provide the energy the body requires to function, and account for 65 per cent of our energy. It is the primary fuel for our body and takes the form of glucose which our body uses quickly. Examples of carbohydrates are potatoes, bread, pasta, soda, chips, cookies, pudding, cakes, sugar and bananas.
Fats provide energy to the body. They help produce hormones, grow cells, store energy and absorb vitamins. Fat is essential for healthy skin and to regularise blood pressure. The body burns fats for energy and stores the leftovers for future use. We can find saturated fats in cream, butter, cheese, and chocolates, and sources of unsaturated fats are sunflower, soybean, cardamon and corn oils.
Vitamins are essential compounds that play an important role in helping our body function efficiently. Examples of vitamins are- Vitamins A to D, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B12. Foods that contain all the vitamins are – fish, dark leafy greens, seeds, broccoli, beef, lamb, mushrooms, nuts, eggs, sweet bell peppers, avocados, peas, and fruits.
Macro minerals also play a significant role in helping our body function efficiently.
- Calcium – Calcium is essential for the health of our bones. The sources of calcium are milk, cheese, dairy foods, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, and tofu.
- Phosphorus – Phosphorus is a component of our cell membranes, and the sources of phosphorus are red meat, dairy products, fish, poultry, bread, rice, and oats.
- Sodium – Helps regulate blood pressure and maintains the fluid balance
- Potassium- Helps in Muscle contraction and transmission of nerve impulses. The sources of potassium are bananas, vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds, milk, fish, beef, chicken, turkey, and bread.
Benefits Of Good Nutrition
Maintains Good Heart Health
In India, people developing high blood pressure at a very young age is becoming quite common. If blood pressure is not maintained, then it can lead to heart attack, heart failure, and strokes. These all happen due to a sedentary lifestyle along with less physical activity. Having a balanced diet, making significant lifestyle changes, and increasing physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease by almost 80 per cent.
Maintains Immune System
An agile immune system protects the body from colds and diseases. We must consume a balanced diet containing minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins because they help fortify the immune system. The climate is changing and the air is becoming more polluted. Consequently, an efficient immune system ensures we don’t get sick quickly and can fight off infections easily.
Increases Energy Levels
Consuming a healthy and balanced diet helps maintain energy levels. Avoid eating sugar, bread and sweets to minimise the variations in the blood sugar levels. The healthy sources of carbs are whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as they help keep our blood sugar and energy levels steady. Experts advise having little meals frequently to maintain our energy levels and never skipping breakfast, as it gives us energy for the rest of the day.
We can find vitamins and minerals healthy for the skin in tomatoes, berries, avocados, almonds and seafood. If we take the example of tomatoes, they contain Vitamin C, which boosts the production of collagen in the body, which helps keep the skin firm and delays premature ageing. Another example of a food that delays ageing can be eating berries, which contain vitamins and antioxidants that help regenerate cells.
Nutrition is essential to keep the body healthy and active, and having a balanced diet helps us achieve that goal. A balanced diet should contain the right amount of fruits and vegetables that provide sufficient nutrition to the human body.