What is nutrients? Function and importance of Nutrients | Functions of nutrition in the body.

What are the nutrients? Essential Nutrients for our daily life.

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Picture for Nutrients 

Important Nutrients for our daily life

Nutrition is the total process o breaking down of food or food substances taken in by the mouth to use for energy in the body.

According to Lusk Graham,” Nutrition is the sum process concerned with growth maintenance and repair of the living body as a whole or o its constituent parts”

According to yo Bedi, “Nutrition is the scientific term of food which deals with food values, food processing, its digestion, absorption and metabolism in the body”

Sufficient nutrition is necessary for maintaining healthy bodily functions. Good nutrition combined with regular physical activity is necessary for good health. Here, good nutrition means getting the right amount of nutrients from healthy food in the right combination. So, learning about nutrients is essential for everyone to live a proper healthy life.

Essential nutrients for our daily life.

It is well known that we should take essential nutrients from our diet. Those diets are also known as balance diets.

A balanced diet should contain about 60% of carbohydrates, 15% fats and 17% proteins, 1.5% minerals with a sufficient quantity of vitamins and water 6.1%.

Most essential nutrients for the body

A. Carbohydrates and its importance

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Picture for carbohydrates (from 123rf.com)

Carbohydrate is a macromolecule consenting of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

It supplies fuel for energy to our body. It can be found in various food substances. The major source of carbohydrates is rice, wheat, maize, barley, turnip, potato, yam, sugarcane, fruits, etc. In a Nepalese diet, (70 to 80%) portion is occupied by carbohydrates. Carbohydrate is converted into glucose, fructose, and lactose before it can be absorbed by the intestine. Extra carbohydrate is converted into fat and stored in the liver and muscle. One gram of carbohydrate supplies 4.1 calories of energy.

Functions of Carbohydrates

1. It supplies energy for all the cells in the body.

2. Lactose enhances the absorption of calcium.
3. It keeps the body warm.
4. Glucose is essential for the central nervous system.
5. It is essential to remove poisonous substances from the liver.
6. Carbohydrate prevents the protein from being used as energy.  

B. Proteins and its importance

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Picture for proteins (from  flicker)

Proteins are large complex molecules containing carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. Proteins are needed for the growth of our body as well as for repairing and building up of the worn-out tissues in the body. In other words, proteins are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. Fish, meat, egg, milk, beans, pulses, and green leafy vegetables are the sources of proteins. One gram of protein supplies 4.1 calories of energy.

Functions of Proteins

1. It supplies energy.

2. It builds up tissues 
3. Protein helps in the growth of children
4. It forms antibodies that help prevent infection, illness, and disease
5. Protein stimulates metabolism.
6. It helps repair and maintenance of body tissue
7. It helps in the synthesis of antibodies, enzymes, and hormones

C. Fats and its importance

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Picture of fat ( from Sutter stock)

Fats are the complex macromolecules that constitute carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They are classified as unsaturated fat (good fat) and saturated or trans fat (bad fat). In which, saturated fat remains in the solid form at room temperature whereas unsaturated fat remains in the liquid form at normal room temperature. Generally, fat from animal sources like ghee, butter, animal fat are called saturated fat and the vegetable oils are known to be saturated fat. They provide fuel for energy to the body. They supply more energy to the body than other nutrients. they supply more energy to the body than other nutrients. Fat can be classified as simple fat, compound fat, waxes, and derived fats. Fats supply fuel for energy to the body. One gram of fat produces 9.3 calories of energy. Fish oil, butter, cheese, ghee, adipose tissue, peanut, soya-bean, coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower and mustard oil are some sources of fats.

Functions of Fats

1. It provides energy to the body 

2. It helps in the absorption of vitamins 
3. It diminishes protein metabolism 
4. Fat spares the need for thiamine
5. Fat under the provides insulation against cold
6. Fat provides support to vital organs like heart, kidney, intestine, etc.

D. Vitamins and its importance

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Picture for Vitamins ( from flicker)

Vitamins are organic compounds required by an organism’s vital nutrients in limited amounts They are the enzymes that regulate the chemical reactions in the body. They also help to protect our body from diseases. They are found in different varieties of foods. There are thirteen types of vitamins essential for human beings. Vitamins are found in fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, eggs, etc. 
They are classified into two groups based on their solubility. They are:
i. Fat-soluble vitamins; Vitamin ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘E’, and ‘K’.
ii. Water-soluble vitamins: Vitamin ‘B’ complex and ‘C’.

Functions of Vitamins

1. Vitamins regulate chemical change in the body 

2. It is required for the metabolic process in the body 
3. It is required for maintenance of vision and norm
4. Absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It stimulates normal materialization and growth of bone and growth of bone and teeth 
5. Vitamins protect the body from diseases.

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