Student Projects/Nutrients and nutrition

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Nutrition & Nutrients

Nutrition is a science that deals with nutrients in food and how it affects our life processes. What a person intake depends on the location and the availability of food there. For e.g. Staple food for South Indians are rice and rice products while in North India it is wheat. Whatever the food intake maybe, it is necessary to include to include the major nutrients in order to have a balanced diet and a healthy body. These nutrients are broadly classified into two: macro nutrients & micro nutrients.

Macro nutrients

These are the nutrients which are required in large quantities by the human body. They include carbohydrates, proteins and fat.

• Carbohydrates: substance which comprise mainly of sugar and starch. They provide energy o the body. The main source of carbohydrate includes grains, cereal and starchy vegetable such as potatoes.

• Proteins: they are molecules consisting of amino acids which enable our cells to function properly. Sources of protein include poultry, dairy products, legumes etc.

• Fats: fats act as storage unit for energy in our body. The food we eat which are not used up are saved for later in the form of fats. Sources of fat include oils, nuts and dairy products such as ghee, cheese cream, some fatty fishes etc.

Micro nutrients

These are required by the body in small quantities but are vital for healthy functioning of the body. These include vitamins & minerals.

• Vitamins: they are required for normal metabolic functions and to fight off disease. Sources of vitamins include fruits and vegetables mainly, but these are not the only sources. Some can be synthesized from outside sources such as sunlight.

• Minerals: they are required to develop and function normally. Sources of minerals include fruits especially dried nuts, vegetables, meat etc.

Apart from these, two major nutrients include fiber and water. Fiber is required to keep the digestive tract healthy and water plays a major role in all bodily functions. Fiber is obtained from wholegrain cereals, fruits such as berries and other leafy vegetables.