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Nutrition and Diet

Nutrition is a key component that helps our bodies function and keep working for us to stay alive; if we didn’t receive any nutrients from the food we consume, we would not be able to nourish our cells that require vitamins and minerals to regulate chemical processes. For instance when we eat cheese, the proteins (amino acids) help build up our tissues and muscles, while the carbohydrates (glucose) are used to replenish and energise our bodies. However, eating and drinking certain foods and liquids (cakes, cheese, soda) can harm the body when consumed to a detrimental extent. A ‘diet’ is the sum of foods consumed to keep the body fit and healthy, and is a term generally used when people intend to lose weight or become more fit and healthy. Therefore, this article will try to explain why people should eat healthy foods, and how they can benefit us. Although, before we can explore how diets help, we need to first determine what nutrition is and how it plays an integral role in our life. 

Nutrition helps our body by providing the substances that help our bodies function, this includes breathing, digestion and keeping our average body temperature at 37.5 degrees celsius. Nutrients are categorised into 7 ‘major nutrients’: fats, proteins, carbohydrates, dairy, vitamins, minerals and water. These nutrients help build parts of our bodies, produce mandatory power and heat energy, and overall keep the body in working order. For instance, whenever we consume foods such as cereals or potatoes, a carbohydrate called ‘starch’ enters our body and then later breaks down into glucose molecules; this glucose molecule enters our bloodstream and is then distributed to nearly every cell in the body including  the organs, muscles, and brain. 

Due to the fact that glucose enters the bloodstream prior to entering cells, people can have ‘sugar highs’ from large quantities of food or liquids containing glucose or starch, and after that burst of energy, energy levels become low again.

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Caption: Glucose entering a cell

Another example of this is when we drink water. Water is essential for our bodies since all of it is instantly absorbed by the intestines and circulated as body fluids that perform several functions to keep us alive. Throughout the circulation of the body, after being absorbed by organs that require water, it is then used to deliver oxygen and nutrients (minerals) through red blood cells in the stream. Water also takes waste materials (salts, carbon dioxide, uric acid etc) with it for excretion from the bladder. 

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Caption: How much water we store in our bodies as we grow older 

(We lose body water as we grow, since we lose lean muscle tissues, which leads to us drying out as we age.)

Now that we know how different nutrients and water help keep our body functioning, we can now explore how diet further helps our body when consuming food…

 

A diet aids our body as it determines the types of nutrients we are consuming, which should be intaken in an amount considered healthy. For instance, If we were to consume too much cake, a significant amount of glucose would enter the body and could cause negative outcomes such as diabetes (a health condition that affects how the body turns food into energy), rapid heartbeat and even vision problems. Thus, a healthy diet is able to help the body fight diseases and deficiencies (a physical impact caused by a lack of minerals) but most importantly keeps us healthy. A healthy diet normally consists of vegetables, fruit, white meats, rice and water, and also includes a healthy amount of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables and water. 

 

An example of a deficiency is a goitre, which is the swelling of the thyroid gland when not enough iodine is consumed.

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Caption: Vegetables are the most important aspect of a healthy diet.