Healthy food essay
Title: Food to Die for
Nutrition is a nourishing organic process by which an organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and maintenance. Good nutrition can help prevent disease and promote health. Consumption of important fruits and vegetables ensures lower level of mortality and reduces various degenerative diseases, for instance, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and immune dysfunction in several human cohorts. In addition to the vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables, may contribute to these beneficially protective effects.
Food is significant factor to the maintenance, development, functioning and reproduction of life. During lifetime an individual consumes 30 tons of food on average in seemingly endless dietary varieties. According to De Vries (1997), however, digestion splits all the foods found in all this variety of diets into the same basic nutrients. Food, therefore, is chemistry, and the mixture of chemicals that are represented and divided into four basic categories: (1) nutrients; (2) non-nutritive naturally occurring components (including antinutritives2 and natural toxins); (3) man-made contaminants; and (4) additives. At that, the nutrients account for more than 99.9% of the food contents. The main classes of nutrients are: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and vitamins, and minerals. The constituents of food are called macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are the major sources of energy and building materials for humans, while micronutrients are only required in relatively small amounts. Micronutrients can be found in vitamins, minerals and trace elements, and are still required in sufficient amounts to ensure proper functioning of all body cells. In addition, micronutrients, like water, do not provide energy. The majority of macronutrients are essential nutrients for life processes, produced by human body itself. Therefore, these essential nutrients can be received only from the food we eat. Most importantly, macronutrients are constituent and indispensable ingredients of our diets, found in: carbohydrates, fat, protein, water (Wilson, 2005).
There are various reasons set to analyze food products, the main are as follows: assessment of product quality, overall research and development, accordance with legal and labeling requirements, detection of adulteration, determination of nutritive value. Through the application of relevant analysis methods, we gain scientific data about chemical composition, physical properties and structure of food ingredients.
Nutritionists therefore suggest several guidelines of healthy nutrition, for example:
(1) Consuming various foods;
(2) Consuming plenty of fruits;
(3) Consuming food rich in fiber;
(4) Consuming less alcohol
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and should constitute the main ingredient of entire daily intake. In actual fact, there are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates, i.e., sugar and honey, and complex carbohydrates, i.e., grains, beans, peas or potatoes. Complex carbohydrates are more nourishing, yet, have fewer calories per gram compared to fat, and cause fewer problems with over-nutrition than fat or sugar. Additionally, diabetics prefer carbohydrates, since they allow better blood glucose control.
Fat provides energy and transport nutrients. There are two types of fatty acids considered as essential for the human body: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These acids are required by the body to ensure normal functionality. At that, they are received from cold-water fish, or fish oil, and any other components that comprise omega-3 fatty acids, and black current seed oil, which comprise omega-6 fatty acids. For example, the typical American diet often includes surplus of omega-6 fatty acids and insufficient amount of omega-3 fats. The increased consumptions of omega-63 oils are highly recommended to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer etc.
Proteins provide amino-acids to build and support healthy body tissue. In fact, there are 20 essential amino-acids, and therefore a body should be filled with all of them to function properly. Normally, the body produces twelve of these amino-acids; however, the other eight are the result of appropriate diet. Foods of animal origin such as milk or eggs often contain all these essential amino-acids, while a great number of plant products should be consumed in a certain combination to provide all these necessary protein components.
Nutrition is deemed functional on condition that it beneficially influences various body functions. Functional foods mainly consist of vitamins and minerals normally consumed by humans. Overall, these additives are approved and recommended by most governments, and are well-known to everyone (Food Additives and Ingredients, 2007). To this end, Vitamins are components of organic origin present in food and necessary to our body. The most widely known vitamins are: A, B1, B2, and B3 (niacin), B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C (ascorbic acid), D, E, and K. The B and C vitamins are soluble in water, while A, D, E, and K vitamins are fat-soluble, and accumulated in the body fat. In turn, minerals are important to our life because they are the main building blocks that create muscles, tissue, and bones.
Additionally, they are significant components of many important life systems, in particular, hormones, oxygen transport, and enzyme systems. At that, there are two types of minerals: the main (macro) minerals and the trace minerals. A body in considerable amounts requires Main minerals. Particularly, main minerals include sodium, potassium, sulphur etc, required to build muscles, blood, nerve cells, teeth and bones. The main minerals and trace minerals are required in small amounts due to the fact that they are very significant to our body. These important minerals participate in the majority of chemical reactions run in a body. Additionally, they are important to produce hormones.
Calcium is one another important mineral. More than 99% of calcium is stored in body, mainly in bones and teeth to keep them strong. The rest is stored in blood, muscles and cells. It is important to get calcium from the foods rich in it, including: milk, cheese and yogurt, green vegetables etc. Those of us who do not consume enough calcium should take calcium supplements. The exact amount of calcium depends on age and other factors; however, children and teenagers need more calcium compared to adults. Aged women need calcium to prevent osteoporosis, which weakens the bones that are likely to get broken. Half of women and men under 50 get their bones broken due to osteoporosis. Therefore, a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D keep bones strong.
Weight issues have always influenced American society, involving health, psychological and socio-emotional considerations. Too much weight, obesity, skinniness, on the other hand, is those pressures that trouble every American since they include certain abnormalities at the time when everyone strives to achieve perfect shape (Izquierdo, 2005).
Well-balanced diet provides energy and nourishment necessary to survive, and therefore to be healthy and in good shape it is important to provide our body with all the necessary resources and fuels to be in good condition (Lysol, 2006). Hence, an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity can increase your chances of getting heart disease, cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing problems, arthritis, gallbladder disease, and osteoarthritis (HHS 1).
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS, 2006), “40 percent of the American family food budget is spent away from home in restaurants, on fast food and on meals bought through food services” (Izquierdo, 2005). Considering the results of Harris Interactive poll (2004), a huge majority (83%) of the public blames the increase on not enough exercise, and only 34 percent of surveyed Americans chose caloric consumption as a major reason why obesity has increased.
D’Mello, J.P.F. & Duffus, C.M. (eds.), 1991. Toxic Substances in Crop Plants, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge
HHS. “Obesity And Weight Loss”, Retrieved December 9, 2008 from http://www.4women.gov/faq/weightloss.htm
Izquierdo, M. (2005) “Pump It Up, AMERICA!” Retrieved December 9, 2008 from http://www.livingwithout.com/2005/feature_spr05_pump_it_up.htm
Lysol. 2006, Healthy Eating, Retrieved December 9, 2008 from http://www.lysol.com/topic_eating.shtml
Wilson, A. 2005, ‘Macro-micro Nutrients’, Retrieved December 9, 2008 from http://www.burgerman.info/www-nursing/macro-micro-nutrients.htm