Nutrition Basics Explained in Simple Words

Coach Sapna on November 05, 2016

Nutrition is something that everyone should know a little bit about. After all, what we eat affects our health more than anything else, so, knowing what to eat is crucial. But, even more, important is to know what not to eat.

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There are six classes of nutrients, namely: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, and finally Water. All that your body needs to grow and repair is acquired through a combination of these six nutrients. Food and water are our biggest source of energy, but a lot of food, while filling, is not rich in nutrients.

Carbohydrates

Also known as the fuel that our body functions on, carbohydrates are raw energy. We need them for the body to function normally. There are two types of Carbs:

  • Simple Carbs (Good Carbs): These are Carbohydrates that are found in sugars such as glucose, lactose (milk), maltose (grain sugar), and sucrose (sugar). These usually have no nutritional value and are laden with calories.
  • Complex Carbs (Bad Carbs): These carbs are available in whole grains, beans, starchy vegetables, and fruits. Full of vitamins and minerals, these carbs are high in nutritional value and recommended as they reduce cholesterol and also provide fiber.

Proteins

Health and nutrition go hand in hand. When it comes to proteins, the simplest way of understanding them is that they are the building blocks of the human body. Muscles, hair, and skin are all dependent on protein to stay healthy.

Effects of Protein

The most important function of protein is to build muscle. When you go to the gym or exercise, your muscles are put under stress, and it is the reparation of the muscle that builds it stronger. To build muscle, our body uses protein. Hormonal activity in the body is also largely controlled by proteins.

Where to Get Protein?

Meat, Eggs, Fish, Whey, Lentils (Indian Daal), Milk, Soy products, Sprouts (Muung), and Soy products (Soyabean) are all excellent sources of protein.

How Much Protein to Eat?

The amount of protein you should be consuming is dependent on your age and how much physical activity you engage in daily.

  • Children: A standard of 1.0-1.6 g/kg in body mass.
  • Adults: 0.8g/kg of body mass.
  • Athletes/ Weight Lifters: 1.2-1.7 g/kg of body mass.

Fats

Fat is an excellent source of energy. Compared to the 4 calories of carbohydrates, fats provide 9 calories per gram. Fat in the body is cushioning when you fall or get hurt and prevents damage to crucial organs, sort of like an airbag in a car.

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are the all-rounders of nutrients as they accomplish several different functions, depending on what vitamin or mineral it is. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best source of vitamins and minerals. There are two types:

Water-Soluble Vitamins: These are vitamins that can be dissolved in water and are available in juicy things such as fruits and vegetables. Vitamins B, and C are the two main water-soluble vitamins.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins:  These are vitamins that are delivered via fatty foods and oils. Vitamins A, D, and E are all fat-soluble vitamins. Milk is rich in both vitamins A and D.

Hydration and Water

If our body was a machine, water is the grease that makes all the parts move smoothly. It is the main carrier of nutrients throughout the body. 60% of a body’s mass is nothing but water and lean tissue (muscles and organs) is 70% water.

Obviously, water is crucial to living a healthy life and most people ignore its importance. Consuming fluids should be a habit and not a necessity. Most people drink water when they feel thirsty, when, instead,a steady intake of water and fluids is important to staying healthy longer. Water also retards the ageing process.

So, drink water more regularly and not just when you are thirsty!

What Did You Learn?

A basic nutrition education is crucial to living a healthy lifestyle. Equipped with the nutritional knowledge and healthy eating facts you gathered here, you can plan a healthy meal plan as well as an exercise regimen. Running for beginners is a good start to your now- healthy lifestyle!

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Coach Sapna

PGDM from Kirloskar Institute Of Advanced Management Studies | PGDHRM from Symbiosis | Graduation in Microbiology (Hons) from Delhi University Marketing enthusiast by profession, with the love for interacting with consumers to understand their psychology towards any brand/product. Through my articles, I intend to help all those who are looking for inspiration and happiness in life.
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