Nutrition is the study of the the relationship between health and dietary consumption. There are several extremes in dealing with health and diet. These range from the causes of death related to starvation and malnutrition to those related to excesses such as obescity. Other dietary related diseases are closely related to deficiences or excesses in vitamins and other nutrients.
Nutrition and health
There are several components needed by the body which cannot be synthesize by the body. These include some amino acids which are termed essential amino acids. These amino acids must be obtained by the diet. The absence of these amino acids can affect protein synthesis in the body. The essential amino acids are obtained from the bresk down of dietary proteins into their constituent amino acids by the process of digestion.
Vitamins are also components required that cannot be synthesized by the body. There are thirteen vitamins that are known to be needed by the human body. These do not serve one function but instead are required in many diverse ways. The breakdown of the vitamins necessary in humans is as follows:
- Vitamin A (fat soluble) – This is the chemical retinol that is necessary in avoiding night blindness. This chemical aids in the production of retinal which is vital as it is used in the rods and cones in the eyes to sense light.
- Vitamin B (water soluble) – This makes up a group of eight essential vitamins, namely, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B12 and folic acid. These are important and deficiencies in some of these can cause diseases such as beriberi, ariboflavinosis, pellagra and paresthesia.
- Vitamin C (water soluble) – This is needed in the formation of collagen and without this, weak blood vessels can be broken and loss of teeth can occur resulting in scurvy.
- Vitamin D (fat soluble) – This is required in the prevention of rickets.
- Vitamin E (fat soluble) – This is an anti-oxidant vitamin.
- Vitamin K (fat soluble) – Lack of this causes bleeding diathesis.
Other essential nutrients include the fats, carbohydrates and the proteins.
Reasons for better nutrition
The better the nutritive intake of a person the better the immune system is and the better this individual can fight off diseases and other infections. Once an individual is taking in a well balanced diet there is also the avoidance of deficiency related diseases as well. Better nutrition also fosters better performance at school and in the work environment. In recent times there has been a surge in the incidence of dietary related diseases that result from long-term unbalanced diets and lifestyle practices. These include cardiovascular disease and diabetes.