Without proper nutrition, your body canвt survive. When you eat a balanced diet, your body obtains the fuel and nutrients it needs to accomplish various bodily tasks. For example, your body needs minerals to make hormones, build bones and regulate your heartbeat. Examples of minerals include calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, iodine and copper. Water is another essential component of your diet. Without it, your body canвt flush out toxins, transport nutrients to cells or perform other vital bodily processes. Protein in the diet can come from meats, nuts, beans and certain whole grains. Your body uses protein to build and repair your muscles, skin and bones. In your digestive system, proteins break down into the amino acids that constitute them. Your body can produce most of the amino acids that it needs, but there are eight amino acids that you must include in your diet. The eight are called essential amino acids. Typically, if you eat 50 to 65 g of protein each day and choose a variety of protein sources, such as lean meats, low-fat dairy products, nuts and seeds, your body will obtain each of the essential amino acids it needs.
When you digest carbohydrates, your body converts them into glucose and uses them to fuel various body processes. Fruits, vegetables and dairy products contain simple carbohydrates, or sugars. Whole-grain products, starchy vegetables and legumes are complex carbohydrates, and these often contain fiber. Fiber aids in digestion and helps lower bad cholesterol. Not only do fats make food taste better, but they also provide energy, help your body absorb vitamins and aid in growth and development. Healthy fats — such as are found in fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil — help you control your cholesterol levels, but saturated and trans fats are unhealthy, especially when you eat them too often. Saturated fats include lard, butter, solid shortening and fatback. Trans fats are common in vegetable shortening, certain types of margarine, cookies, crackers and any foods that use partially hydrogenated oils.
Eating too many bad fats increases unhealthy cholesterol levels, which could lead to cardiovascular problems. Your body needs 13 types of vitamins to accomplish various bodily processes, including digestion, growth and nerve function. Without certain vitamins, you may develop medical problems. For example, without vitamin D, you might develop rickets, which weakens your bones. Typically, a balanced diet that includes all the major food groups should supply your body with all the vitamins it needs, including A, C, D, E, K and the eight types of B vitamins. If for some reason your diet doesnвt supply you enough of a certain type of vitamin, you can take a supplement or a multivitamin, though you should consult your doctor first to be safe.
Food We need food to grow, right? The food we eat contains the nutrients that our bodies need to replace worn out cells, stay healthy and stay strong. It is the same for every living organism. Food comes in many different forms, and plants and animals have special organs or parts that absorb the goodies from the food we eat.
Plants use sugars, fats and proteins to grow and stay healthy. They produce these themselves with the help of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. The nutrients produced are stored in the plants and the nutrients are passed on to other animals that eat these plants. When living things die and rot in the ground, the nutrients in them end up in the soil and get dissolved in it. As a result, plants roots are able to absorb nutrients such as salts, potassium, minerals, starch, phosphates and nitric acids from soils too. Animals also need food or nutrients to survive. They get nutrients from eating plants. Bigger animals eat other smaller animals for food. Aquatic animals (such as fish) eat tiny water insects, worms and plankton. In some cases, organisms such as fungi, get their food by breaking down nutrients in organic matter (once-living things). ( ) All these contain some specific nutrients that the animals need to grow healthy.