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Food & Health

For Human Body To Function Maximally, It Needs Essential Foods

balanced diet
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For the human body to function maximally, food is very important for maintenance and agility. This is so because, the human body is made up of various cells, tissues and organs , which are living  entities, and therefore needs to be fed, to be kept alive. To stay healthy our bodies need good quality food with nutrients in them. Without these 5 nutrients carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals our bodies would not survive. A good balanced diet is needed to get the right amount of each nutrient in your body.

Therefore, your body needs food to stay alive, and needs foods with essential nutrients to remain healthy and strong. In other words, you need food to stay alive. If your body is denied food, starvation comes in, and if this is left unchecked, would lead to your cells dying and invariably your system would shut down.  The human body requires a wide range of nutrients to remain healthy, including vitamins, minerals, fat, protein, fiber and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates or sugars burn fast for quick energy, while protein molecules are used by cells for  complex processes. The body also needs water, a substance that is  needed for every process that the body performs.

All living things need food to survive. It gives us energy for everything that we do. It also gives the body what it needs to repair muscles, organs and skin. Food helps us fight off dangerous diseases.  It is important to eat a wide range of food in order to stay healthy. Nutrition is the science that deals with food and how the body uses it. 

How Does The Body Use Food ? 

Food has nutrients in it— substances that give our body many important things that we need. They provide us with energy and also help control the way our body grows. 

Before nutrients can go to work food must be broken down so that they can pass into our body. This is called digestion. It starts when we chew the food that we eat. When we swallow it it travels on to the stomach where it is mixed together with water and other fluids. Then the food is passed on to the intestine. Nutrients escape through the walls of the intestine into our blood. From there they are carried to all parts of the body. Most food leaves waste that the body cannot use. Some of it goes to the kidneys and turns into urine. The liver also filters out waste. What is left over passes through the large intestine and leaves our body. 

Nutrients : There are six main groups of nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins , minerals and water. The energy that food gives us is measured in kilo-calories, or one thousand calories. A calorie is the energy that is needed to raise the temperature of water by one degree Celsius. 

Minerals – Minerals are needed for growth. They are inorganic, not made up of living things. Our body needs different amounts of various minerals. Calcium and magnesium, for example, are important for bones and teeth. We also need small amounts of iron. It is a component of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen to red blood cells . Fluorine or zinc are other minerals we need in very small amounts. They are called trace elements.

 •Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our body. Sugars and starches have carbohydrates in them.  Sugar is a simple carbohydrate. It gives us energy very quickly. This form of energy can be found in dairy products, honey, syrup, jams and jelly.  Starches must be broken down into sugars before our body can use them. They are found in beans, bread , potatoes, cereals, corn, pasta, peas and potatoes. They provide our body with a constant supply of energy.   

Fats – Our body needs fat in small amounts. Fats are made up of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. They store vitamins and produce fatty acids. We need these acids to produce cell membranes. Fats can come from animals or plants. They are in meat and dairy products, like butter and cheese. Other types of fats are in vegetable oils, nuts or seeds. Too many saturated fats produce a high level of cholesterol, a waxy material made by the body. It starts building up in the walls of blood vessels and may block blood as it flows through our body.

Proteins – Proteins are among the most important building blocks of our body. Muscles, skin and hair , for example, are made up of proteins.  Proteins are complex molecules made up of amino acids. The body can produce some of them itself, but we must get the others from food. Proteins are in cheese, eggs fish , meat, milk, as well as in nuts, peas and beans. 

 •Water  – Although water does not give us energy it is the most important nutrient. We may be able to live on without the others for weeks, but we cannot go on without water for more than a few days. Water has many functions in our body. It helps break down food. It also cools the body down when it becomes too hot. The body carries away waste products in a watery solution.  Our body needs about 2 –3 litres of water a day. We get it from the water and liquids we drink but also from fruits, vegetables and other food. 

Vitamins – Our body needs a variety of vitamins to stay healthy. Each of them does a different job. Vitamin A, for example, helps skin and hair grow. Vitamin C is needed to fight off infections. Vitamin D helps the growth of bones and teeth . 

There Are Guidelines To Good Eating Habit: 

• Be careful of your weight. Obesity can lead to health problems. 

• Be careful not to eat food that has too much saturated fat and cholesterol 

• Do not eat too much sugar. High-sugar foods and drinks have a lot of calories but not many nutrients. 

• Don’t put too much salt on your food. This may lead to high blood pressure. 

• Include fiber in your diet. It helps food move along in your body. 

• Beware of alcoholic drinks. They have a lot of calories but no nutrients.

• Exercise every day. It helps the body burn calories and the fat you don’t need. 

• Eat a lot of grain products 

• Store and cook foods properly so that they do not lose their nutritional value. 

What You Eat Influences Your Exposure To Diseases: 

All over the world people suffer from illnesses that are caused by eating the wrong food or not having enough to eat.  The kind and quality of foods eaten in developing countries, predisposes the people to deficiency diseases when people do not get the right nutrients. Kwashiorkor is a disease that occurs if your body doesn’t get enough proteins. Marasmus occurs in young children who don’t get enough calories every day. They become weak, underweight and often die. 

Diseases often occur if you suffer from a lack of vitamins. Not enough vitamin D, for example, may lead to bone illnesses. 

In industrialised countries people often suffer from eating too much. Too much fat and cholesterol in your body can lead to heart diseases , obesity and  cancer . High cholesterol levels may make your arteries narrow. The result may be high blood pressure , a  heart attack or a stroke.  The lack of certain minerals may also lead to illnesses. Not enough iron in your food reduces the blood’s ability to make red blood cells, which are needed to transport oxygen through our body. 

Specific Foods That Benefit Parts Of Your Body?

When you think of major organs, you probably think of your heart and lungs, but your liver is both huge and essential, and doesn’t often get the credit it deserves. With a proper diet, we can give our liver a boost to help it do its job properly. The liver is important for functions as varied and important as removing harmful and poisonous substances from our blood, storing and exporting fat, regulating hormones, and producing bile for digestion. The liver is a key organ for detoxifying our bodies, ridding them of anything that could be considered harmful. If our livers aren’t healthy or functioning properly, the toxins that should be eliminated could end up staying in our bodies and cause damage.  You need good diet to support  your liver heath and as a result, the health of the rest of your body through your diet. Green leafy vegetables, and iron rich foods, nuts, cereals and pulses are helpful. 

There’s no question that maintaining a nutritious diet can help keep your body healthy. But when it comes to which foods can specifically benefit which body parts, a little is known , and these are vital for your health. 

Eyes :   Egg yolks, yellow corn . Lutein, one of the brightly colored (yellow, in this case) compounds calls carotenoids that give fruits and vegetables their color, may help ward off age-related macular degeneration, probably by acting as a cell-damage-fighting antioxidant.

Brain :   Salmon, tuna, sardines , foods that are healthful for the heart, stabilizing for the stomach, beneficial for the brain and more.  The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in cold-water, fatty fish is thought to play a role in protecting against dementia; one study found that people who ate lots of fatty fish had a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Calls  for eating four ounces of fish, twice a week.

Bones:   Milk, fortified soy beverage. The calcium in dairy products (and added to some soy beverages) is a building block of bone tissue early in life; later, it helps fight osteoporosis. The Dietary Guidelines recommend three cups of low-fat or nonfat milk daily.

Heart  :Baked potato, prune juice

Potassium, found in many fruits and vegetables, lowers the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, especially when consumption of sodium is reduced. Most of us should have about 4,700 mg of potassium daily; a small baked potato has 738, a cup of prune juice 707.

Lungs :Broccoli, Brussels sprouts: Vegetables three cups daily,  are associated with reduced cancer risk. And research suggests that the glucosinolate in cruciferous vegetables (those in the same family as cabbage, whose name means “cross-bearing” and refers to the shape of the petals) might be especially useful in keeping carcinogens from damaging DNA, thwarting cancer’s development. 

Stomach: Ginger

Benefits: There’s evidence that eating ginger can battle motion sickness and perhaps nausea associated with pregnancy. As little as a gram of powdered ginger might tame nausea or vomiting, though medications appear to work better at fighting those ills.

Colon: Beans and peas

 Beans and peas are excellent sources of fiber, whose health benefits include keeping you regular. The dietary guidelines say women should consume 25 grams of fiber daily; men need 38.

Prostate: Green tea

Benefits: Although studies have been scant, promising research suggests that green tea’s antioxidant polyphenols may help prevent cancer of the prostate and other organs. Green tea is generally considered safe to consume in abundance.

Ovaries: Ice cream

Benefits: A 2007 Harvard study found that women who consumed high-fat dairy products such as ice cream reduced their risk of infertility. It’s not clear why; the authors surmised that the fat might somehow improve ovarian function when women are trying to conceive.

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