Nutrition is a science that studies nutrients—the nourishing substances in food that provide energy and promote the growth and maintenance of our bodies—and how they relate to health and disease.
Nutrients provide energy or calories to fuel our bodies. There are about fifty nutrients that fall into six areas: Carbohydrates, Fats (or lipids), Proteins, Vitamins, Minerals, Water (see the charts in the next section.)
Nutrient density varies among food and relates to the amount of nutrients it contains. Milk, for instance, has more nutrients than a soft drink.
Diet, in general terms, comprises the food and beverages which we consume on a daily basis. It has also become a word associated with weight-reduction efforts. Some diets, due to health issues or by preference, limit the intake of certain types of foods.
Calorie is the unit of measurement for food energy as determined by the amount of heat (or calories) it produces. The energy needs of the body are also measured in calories. The range of calories needed per person per day depends on several factors including age, body mass and level of physical activity.
Cholesterol is needed by the body to digest fat and is found in foods of animal origin. High cholesterol is a health risk for some people, therefore, they need to limit intake of egg yolks, meat, and milk products.
Whole foods are unprocessed foods as we get them from nature, such as milk, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and protein. They can also be referred to as fresh foods since they are not processed, canned or frozen.
Organic foods are generally foods that have been grown without synthetic insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Meat and poultry from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, have been fed organic feed and live in a fairly open environment, are also classified as organic.
Vegetarian diet consists of consuming no meat, poultry or fish. Legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, and vegetables are the mainstay of this diet as well as eggs and dairy products.
Vegan diet follows the vegetarian diet limitations and also excludes eggs and dairy products.
Gluten-free diet usually is a result of health issues, such as celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, kamut, spelt, barley and rye.
Lactose intolerance is the inability to process the lactose found primarily in milk products.
Kosher foods are those that are produced within the regulations of the Jewish law. Typically, a manufacturing plant needs to be inspected and certified.
|Vitamin A||Vitamin D||Vitamin E||Vitamin K|
Functions: Cell growth, healthy skin, and hair. Bone/tooth development and proper functioning of immune system.
Functions: Build bones; maintenance of blood calcium levels.
Functions: An antioxidant; development of nervous tissue. Helps protect red and white blood cells.
Function: Promotes blood clotting.
Functions: An antioxidant. Helps formulation of collagen. Assists with wound healing and iron absorption.
Functions: A coenzyme in energy metabolism. Aids in the functioning of the nervous system and normal growth.
Functions: A coenzyme in energy metabolism. Promotes healthy skin and normal vision.
Functions: A coenzyme in energy metabolism. Helps maintain healthy skin. Aids in normal functioning of the nervous system and digestive tract.
|Vitamin B6||Folate||Vitamin B12||Pantothenic Acid|
Functions: A coenzyme in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. Synthesizes red and white blood cells. Aids in the formation of DNA and new cells.
Functions: Aids in the formation of DNA and new cells.
Functions: Activation of folate. Helps normal functioning of the nervous system.
Functions: Energy metabolism.
Functions: Energy, protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism.
Functions: Mineralization of bones and teeth; aids muscle contraction.
Functions: Mineralization of bones and teeth; aids in enzyme formulation.
Functions: Energy metabolism; bone formulation and teeth maintenance.
Functions: Maintains water and acid base balance, and transmission of nerve impulses.
Functions: Maintains water and acid base balance.
Functions: Maintains water and acid base balance. Part of hydrochloric acid in stomach.
Functions: Part of thiamin and some amino acids.