The importance of food in health lies in the fact that these substances provide essential nutrients for humans.
We all know that proper nutrition is the key to a healthy life. A correct diet is one that has all the nutrients necessary for the body and in the proper amount. Therefore, eating in large quantities is not synonymous with having a healthy diet.
→ What is the function of food?
Food is used by our body to perform metabolism, help maintain and grow tissues, and provide energy. It is worth mentioning, however, that the functions performed by a given food depend on the nutrients it has.
To take advantage of food, our body relies on the digestive system , which is responsible for breaking them into smaller portions to be enjoyed by the body. The portion of food that is harnessed by the body is called a nutrient.
→ What are the nutrients?
Foods have different nutrients, which are generally classified into macronutrients and micronutrients. The macronutrients are those that our body needs in great quantity, whereas the micronutrients are those that the organism needs in small amount.
The macronutrients are:
- Carbohydrates : nutrients that stand out for providing energy to the body;
- Lipids : nutrients that serve as energy reserves, help absorb some vitamins, and protect against mechanical shocks and cold;
- Proteins : essential nutrients for the growth and maintenance of body tissues.
The micronutrients are:
- Vitamins : nutrients related to the most diverse functions of the body, such as strengthening the immune system, maintaining tissues and performing metabolic processes.
- Mineral salts : nutrients that act in the most varied functions of the organism, such as the constitution of bones and teeth, regulation of body fluids and composition of hormones.
→ Importance of food and nutrients for health
Foods have nutrients that favor the correct functioning of the organism. Due to the lack of some nutrients, the body can suffer serious consequences due to the interruption of some basic activity. That is why a healthy diet should contain all the nutrients necessary for our health to be guaranteed.
The malnutrition occurs when a person has a deficiency of some nutrient. It can be triggered by insufficient nutrition or other problems, such as verminoses, anorexia, cancer, absorption problems, allergy or food intolerance.
Malnutrition can lead to physiological problems, which, in severe cases, can trigger the death of the patient. Normally malnutrition is diagnosed because of lack of energy to perform tasks, anemia, growth problems, changes in the skin, among other signs and symptoms.
To highlight the need for a healthy diet, we can cite some problems caused by the lack of vitamins in the body. Lack of vitamin A , for example, triggers vision problems, such as night blindness, in which patients can not see in dimly lit environments. Already the lack of vitamin Dcan lead to non-development of bones.
To have a healthy body, it is important to have a healthy diet, with different food groups and in adequate quantity. To assist in the amount of food to be eaten, the information contained in the food pyramid, a resource that helps the population to understand the daily needs of each nutrient, can be used as a basis.
→ How to have healthy eating?
According to the Ministry of Health, 10 steps should be followed for healthy eating. Are they:
- Make at least three meals and two healthy snacks a day;
- Include six portions of the group of cereals and tubers daily like potatoes and roots in meals. Give preference to whole grains and foods in their most natural form;
- Eat at least three servings of vegetables daily as part of meals and three servings or more of fruit in desserts and snacks;
- Eat beans with rice every day or at least five times a week;
- Consume three servings of milk and dairy products daily and a portion of meats, poultry, fish or eggs.
- Consume at most one serving per day of vegetable oils, olive oil, butter or margarine;
- Avoid soft drinks and processed juices, cakes, sweet and stuffed biscuits, sweet desserts and other treats;
- Decrease the amount of salt in the food and remove the salt shaker from the table. Avoid consuming processed foods with too much salt (sodium);
- Drink at least two liters (six to eight glasses) of water a day;
- Practice at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day and avoid alcohol and smoking.