Why nutrition is important for your health
As the developed world becomes increasingly diet conscious, you are bombarded with more and more information about why nutrition is important for your health, but is it really necessary? After all, eating is as much about pleasure as it is about fuelling our bodies and as everybody knows a little bit of what you fancy is good for you.
However in our quest to eat the things we like, it is important not to lose sight of the simple fact that the calories we consume will have one of two effects on our bodies: they will either add to the nutrient store, or they will sap nutrients from the body in an effort to metabolize them.
Obviously if you are eating a lot of junk food your body is not gaining any nutrients, but more alarmingly, the nutrients in your body are being used to digest the junk that you have eaten. If this pattern persists it does not take long for your body to become deficient in vital vitamins and minerals. Because unhealthy foods use up nutrient resources, it is possible to be overweight and suffer from malnutrition.
The effects of malnutrition
One of the most common nutrient deficiencies is a lack of vitamin C, which causes scurvy. If your body is not getting enough vitamin C it cannot produce collagen, which is required for building cartilage, tendons, bone, ligaments and skin. Therefore sufferers of scurvy experience gum infection and tooth loss, poorly conditioned skin, hair and nail loss, and scurvy will lead to death if left untreated.
There are a further 12 vitamins that are essential to the healthy function of the body. Additionally there are 7 fundamental minerals and 10 minor minerals, plus a host of other nutrients that should be consumed daily. If your body is not receiving these nutrients it will begin to fail.
As mentioned above most of us eat for pleasure, but primarily the purpose of eating is to provide our bodies with the energy that they require to do even the simplest things, such as breathing. Typically the body will break down the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) and produce energy that will power the body's functions. If you are not supplying your body with enough of these macronutrients you will find that you lack energy.
People often overlook the benefit of nutrition on a daily basis. Ensuring your body is getting a good supply of vitamins and minerals will improve your immune system, allow wounds to heal quickly and protect the body from infection. Therefore those who follow nutritionally rich diets are quite simply less likely to become ill. In addition a good diet will leave you with clear skin, shiny hair and strong nails.
The fact is good nutrition is fundamental to our very existence. Finding the correct balance of macronutrients, vitamins and minerals is important because our bodies depend on it.
Written by Dr Naras Lapsys, Nutrition Expert.
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