Nutrition quite simply is the nutrients your body gets out of the food you give it. Yes, there are some nutrients your body can get out of cake and chocolates but they are minimal – compare that to the number of nutrients you could get from a salad, for example. You don’t have to be a Dietitian to know there is a vast difference.
This article will explain briefly what nutrition is and why you can’t live without it.
The science that interprets the nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion.
[And that is as technical as this article is going to get!]
Nutrition as a concept
The basics of nutrition start with elements like proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. We have all heard of those, right?
Nutrition doesn’t have to be confusing though it sure can be complex when you really get into it!
I like to think of building a healthy body like building a house – you can’t build a house just with bricks or just with windows. To build a decent house you need a whole lot of stuff like bricks, cement, windows of various shapes and sizes, doors, rooms and of course a roof! Nutrition is a bit like that – every body needs all of the pieces. No one can survive on just proteins or just vitamins & minerals.
Eating quality food items will of course help you build a better body, just like using quality building materials will be needed if you want to build an even half-way decent house.
The house will get built but think about what it is going to look like! And how well will it stand up to wind, rain, sunshine or worse? Your body is the same. It needs to be built in a way that willmake it look good but also strong enough to survive surprise attacks of germs, allergies, disease or worse.
The Least You Need to Know
Each of the nutrition elements – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins – serve different purposes. Your body performs thousands of functions in every minute of every day, most of the time without you even being aware of any of it. It needs nutrition from food to be able to achieve all this successfully.
All food contains energy which is a great start because it takes energy to carry out the enormous number of functions your body is constantly running in the background while you go about your day and even while you are sleeping.
But of course energy is just the beginning. The shape and package that energy comes in is really the critical part. Because there is such a variety of functions your body carries out, and because it uses a huge range of cells, muscles, fibers, bones and so on to do it all, you can quickly understand that not all food is equal.
Giving your body a variety of foods is an important factor in gaining all the nutrition your body needs because every different food offers different nutrients for your body to use. It is a bit like trying to build a house with only bricks, cement, windows, doors or a roof. Crazy and impossible!
Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates
These are called your macro nutrients (or just macros). They are in every food and usually appear as a mix. For example, a piece of meat is commonly associated with the idea of protein – but that piece of meat almost always also contains fat to some degree and may also include carbohydrates if it is coated with seasoning.
There are many fad diets that claim to work by eliminating or minimizing one of these nutrients but this can be dangerous, even life threatening if taken to the extreme. Food is there for us to enjoy!
Getting our macro nutrients can be as easy as including some protein in every meal. Carbohydrates and fats occur naturally in foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. By going back to basics, nutrition really can be simple.
Vitamins and Minerals
These are your micro nutrients (or just micros). They might be micro but they are still 100% essential!
Vitamins and minerals are responsible for hundreds of little jobs necessary in running your body including every day essentials like clotting your blood, keeping you immune from germs, and getting energy out of the food you eat.
There are many different vitamins (Vitamins A, B vitamins, Vitamin C and so on) and each of them is needed to help with these various functions. Vitamin A is commonly associated with good eye health and Vitamin C is commonly known for helping people get over colds. Two completely different functions and two different vitamins needed for each of them.
There are also many different Minerals and functions that they help the body with. Like Vitamins, each mineral provides different assistance to the body and offers unique building blocks. This is again why variety is so critical for complete health.
Nutrition for Good Health
Hopefully by now you will understand that it takes a lot of different types of foods to give your body the nutrition and nutrients that it needs so that you can live a healthy life. Remember, the better the quality of foods you eat, the better the quality of body you will build, and the higher the quality of your life will be.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated or complex. It is easy enough to start with the basics, make sure you can get those right, and then work towards getting better at the more intricate details of nutrition.
For help with designing a nutrition plan that works for you, nutrition for weight loss, or nutrition to combat disease, contact me any time. This can be achieved through one Blueprint Session, or over a longer 3 month package. Nutrition is one of the most important parts of health and is not something that should be put off until some other time.