Free Essay on Nutrition

Everyone hopes to have a good health, but not everyone understand the importance of nutritional foods to our health. Appropriate nutrition is a necessary condition to maintain a good health. In our daily life, the main source of nutrition comes from variety of foods we eat. Health starts with nutritional foods. It is the intention of this article to help you to have appropriate nutritional foods by introducing some basic knowledge of the relationships between nutrition and health, and nutrients foods.

Nutrients are necessary for human bodies to maintain energy to move, and generate chemical substances such as enzymes for metabolic activities. The nutrients that are essential to human bodies may be categorized into three types. The first category includes carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They are the primary source of energy. Carbohydrates are the principal dietary source of energy. Fats supply energy and essential fatty acids, and they help absorb the fat-soluble vitamins. However, some kinds of fat, especially saturated fats, increase the risk for coronary heart disease by raising the blood cholesterol.  Proteins are polymers of amino acids that are needed for synthesis of body proteins in muscle, organs, bone and skin, and for synthesis of enzymes, certain hormones, antibodies and a host of specialized products (Human amino acid requirements: can the controversy be resolved).

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The second category includes various kinds of vitamins, such as A, B-12, B-6, C, D, E, biotin, choline, folate, and thiamin. They play a wide variety of roles in making our bodies work normally. For example, vitamin A is important to vision, vitamin C is important to the prevention of certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases, vitamin D is important to the absorption of calcium, vitamin E has antioxidant properties, etc. The third category includes various kinds of minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, iodine, fluoride, sodium, and zinc. Appropriate amounts of minerals are very important to our health. For example, calcium is essential for healthy bones; iron is an essential nutrient that carries oxygen, fluoride is important to healthy teeth, etc.

Healthy foods are the best source of nutrients. All of the nutrients are available from foods. Carbohydrates are abundant in present in grains and potatoes. Unsaturated fats occur in vegetable oils, most nuts, olives, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon. (Human amino acid requirements: can the controversy be resolved 220). Proteins are available from most foods, among which meat, milk, eggs are considered to be excellent in both protein quantity and quality. Vitamins exist in vegetables, fruits, animal products, and fortified foods. For examples, vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, berries, melons, tomatoes, green peppers, and leafy green vegetable. Minerals are mostly available from meat, poultry and fish. For example, red meat is a rich source of iron that is well absorbed. Besides, there are other sources containing noticeable amounts of some nutrients. For example, fortified milk is often an excellent resource of vitamin D and calcium; tofu is probably the most preferred resource of protein and calcium for many people.

Although foods can provide the nutrients to our bodies, not all of them are healthy, and some are even harmful. In recent years, people have realized more and more the harmfulness of saturated fat, addictives, and some bad eating habits. Foods high in saturated fats tend to raise blood cholesterol. These foods include high-fat dairy products (like cheese, whole milk, cream, butter, and regular ice cream), fatty fresh and processed meats, the skin and fat of poultry, lard, palm oil, and coconut oil. Many drinks contain addictives. Many people like soda drinking, but they rarely know what additives added in the drinking. The artificial sweeteners (aspartame) are unsafe additives are used in many diet beverages. These additives are very harmful to our bodies. Some scientists also believe that aspartame can cause problems with brain function and behavior changes in people who consume it. Some people who have consumed aspartame have reported dizziness, headaches, and even seizures. (The story on Food Additives¡±179). Bad eating habit is another enemy of health. For example, western cultures have sky-high rates of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, etc. With today’s fast lifestyle, people eat more fast food than ever before. There are many side effects related to this popular eating habit, most of which are damaging to our health and personal care. Eating fast food regularly may cause our bodies to be deficient in the vitamins and minerals we need maintain good health; also, eating fast food can be very addictive, and people accustomed to it rarely change their eating habits. (The Negative Sides of Fast Food198).

In conclusion, understanding some basic knowledge of the relationships between nutrition and health, and nutritional foods is good for our healthy life. Otherwise, we may suffer various diseases such as cancer, tumor, headaches, and even seizures.  Fortunately, people are more aware then ever of the dangerous of pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables, and of additives in our processed foods. There is intense pressure on the federal government to ban unsafe substances. But it is also our responsibility as consumers to learn how to eat safe and healthy food for long and healthy lives (The Story on Food Additives 179).

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