Why is nutrition important to our daily lives? Today, the life pace is very fast, and we often eat irregularly and choose poor quality food due to lack of time. It is very important that we become aware of the importance of nutrition and even more importantly, balanced nutrition.
Most people are well acquainted with the concept of a healthy nutrition. They know which foods are healthy, and also where to buy it. If you understand how selected food affects your body; it is much easier to consider the rules of healthy eating. You are also more motivated to change our eating habits.
The problem with today’s nutrition is that the most accessible food is rich in energy, but very poor in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, healthy fatty acids …) that are necessary for normal functioning of our body.
At this point we are faced with a paradox. We are gaining excess pounds, and our body is starving. In addition to gaining excess pounds, we are facing with “false” lack of energy due to the wrong choice of food. The result is unbalanced blood glucose that is getting high after a meal and drops down after some a short time, and you feel hungry again.
With fast food and similar foods your body will get enough power, but you will feel hungry soon because of blood sugar fluctuations. If you understand how your body uses what you eat, and what it does with specific nutrients; it will also help you to avoid “empty” food and feeling tired.
Why is Nutrition Important to Our Daily Lives?
Our body is driven by fuel in the form of food. If our body doesn’t get the quality food then we can’t expect high performance. Carbohydrates, fats, and also the proteins are responsible for giving the energy to various processes that occur in the body.
The main sources of energy are fats and carbohydrates. While carbohydrates are a kind of universal energy source for the whole body, fats are used as an energy source for the whole body except for the brain. Brain cells are using glucose as an energy source.
The food energy depends on its composition. Fatty foods have significantly more calories than food, which contains mainly carbohydrates or proteins. For a better understanding, one gram of fat contains more than twice as much energy (9 kcal and 37 kcal) as gram of carbohydrates (starch, sugar; 3.75 kcal and 16 kcal) or gram of protein (4 kcal or 17kJ).
And we all know what happens when we consume too much of food that is high in energy but poor in nutrients. With obesity we can get different kinds of modern diseases that can affect our lives in the future.
Composition of a Healthy Food
So why is nutrition important to our daily lives? We should be aware that although the food is a fuel for the body, it is much more than just a source of energy. There is a truth in the quote “You are what you eat”. We must be aware that our body uses food for producing the body structural and functional parts.
The body produces the necessary molecules only in the metabolic process. When the body gets food, it digests it and builds new structures from the food (enzymes, membrane cells, hormones, vitamins, receptors and much more). The body can’t produce essential substances because it doesn’t have the relevant enzymatic mechanisms. It needs quality food to get them.
The Role of Macronutrients
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are among the so-called macronutrients that our body needs in larger quantities. While the fats and carbohydrates are primary source of energy, the proteins serve to form physical structures (growth and development, the regeneration of the body, the receptors on the membranes of the cells, etc.), and metabolic molecules (enzymes).
Carbohydrates are the structural components that supplies the body with energy (connective tissue, cartilage, cellulose), and builder of other molecules. Carbohydrates are essential for creating glycogen in the muscles and liver. They represent the basic nutrient for the nervous system. We divide them into simple and complex.
Simple carbohydrates include monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, mannose, galactose) and disaccharides (sucrose, lactose, maltose). They are rapidly digested, providing a quick energy source and cause rapid secretion of insulin.
Complex carbohydrates include polysaccharides (glycogen, starch and fiber). Complex carbohydrates constitute more uniform and prolonged influx of energy. The body breaks them down more slowly and this is why the energy is released gradually from them. Excess intake of carbohydrates is converted into glycogen and fat reserves.
They represent the supply of energy, as well as the body needs them for the construction of brain cells (fat represents 60% of the brain), nervous system, hormones. They are a key component of the cell membrane. Fats give food flavoring and play an important role in the texture of the food, and the feeling of satiety. They are also important in the absorption and storage of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Now you know why is nutrition important to our daily lives.
There are several types of fat and it is very important that we enjoy them in the correct proportions. You should consume a various types and sources of fat. There is no naturally occurring type of fat that is inherently bad, as long as we consume it in little amounts.
Fats are cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and free fatty acids. We can divide the fats into saturated and unsaturated. You should pay attention to these two types of fat because it could indirectly impact on cardiovascular health.
They constitute approximately 15% of body weight. Proteins are composed of amino acids. When we ingest this macronutrient, the digestive enzymes degrade them first to amino acids that are re-used for the synthesis of the body’s own proteins.
The body also produces amino acids, but it is important to know that the human body can’t produce 9 of the 22 amino acids by itself. You can get it with food.
Proteins play an important role in the body. They are involved in the metabolism process, are an integral part of the bodies organs, regulate cellular processes. Proteins are also important for the movement (the basic building block of skeletal muscle).
In addition, they are also necessary for the body tissue growth and repair. Proteins are an integral part of the antibodies, and regulate the quantity and composition of body fluids. They are an integral part of some hormones and all enzymes. Certain amino acids are involved in the synthesis of vitamins and substances which enable functioning of the nervous system (neurotransmitters), etc.
The Role of Micronutrients
We also need micronutrients, vitamins and minerals besides macronutrients. Micronutrients act as catalysts (accelerators of chemical reactions) in the usage of nutrients. In addition, they have a number of other important roles in the construction of an organism, and the functioning of organs.
Calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium and iron are among the most common in food occurring minerals. They are important for the formation of binders and colorants for the protection of the skin. They are present in the body tissues, promote metabolism and protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals.
They are necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and myoglobin. Insufficiency can cause anemia, damage of the skeletal, defects in the functioning of the nervous system, damage in the pigmentation and hair texture, cardiac disorders, and skin problems. They also affect on the growth and sexual development disorders, wound healing, hair loss, fatigue, lack of energy, and decreased resistance to infections.
They are necessary for normal operation of the body due to participation in a number of bodily processes. These micronutrients are important for the synthesis of certain amino acids, the formation of blood cells, antibody production, and the functioning of the immune system.
They affect on the nervous system, fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, absorption of substances, and on the synthesis of genetic material. They are protecting the body from damage, and are involved in many other processes.
Because the human body is unable to synthesize them itself (except for small amounts of vitamin D and K), we need to take them with food. No food contains all the vitamins, so we have to enjoy rich and diverse food to cover all the necessary vitamins. Lack of vitamins can be caused by monotonous nutrition, low energy intake, destruction of vitamins during cooking and food preparation, and as well as during transport and storage.
Where can a Healthy Nutrition Help You and Why?
Why is nutrition important to our daily lives? A healthy nutrition is also important because it helps the body to maintain balance. With balanced nutrition the body processes remains strictly controlled and the supply of all the necessary molecules are just the right size to ensure that all processes are running normally.
For example, this happens in the metabolic process, where free radicals continuously occur as a by-product. Free radicals are highly reactive compounds, which bind to a molecules (fats, proteins, DNA, …).
They change the molecules so they aren’t useful any more or can even become harmful. Strictly controlled system of enzymes prevents the harmful work of free radicals by catching them and eliminating the consequences of their action (oxidative stress).
Don’t be overwhelmed with different types of food and don’t get stressed over it, just enjoy a balanced and diverse food that your body will welcome.