Nutrition is an important part of our life. We now realize that quality of our health depends upon the nourishment that we provide to our body. However, our dietary habits are influenced by many factors. Factors influencing human nutrition are as follows:
5. Economic status
15. Climate etc.
Most people eat what they like or because it is a norm or out of habit. Their choice of food is not influenced by the awareness of its nutritive value. Few people know the way body utilizes food. It is also necessary to understand that a delicious dish is not necessarily a nutritious one.
Nutrition is the science of food and its interaction with an organism to promote and maintain health. Thus, nutrition is combination of processes by which all parts of the body receive and utilize the materials necessary for the performance of their functions and for the growth and renewal of all the components.
Food is the substance taken into the body that will help meet the body’s needs for energy, maintenance of health, growth and reproduction.
Nutrition has been defined as food at work in the body. Nutrition includes everything that happens to food from the time it is eaten until it is used for various functions in the body. Nutrients are components of food that are needed by the body in adequate amounts in order to grow, reproduce and lead a normal, healthy life. Nutrients include water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins; hence the plural form of these words has been used. Thus there are over 40 essential nutrients supplied by food, which are used to produce literally thousands of substances necessary for life and physical fitness.
Adequate, optimum and good nutrition are expressions used to indicate that the supply of the essential nutrients is correct in amount and proportion. It also implies that the utilization of such nutrients in the body is such that the highest level of physical and mental health is maintained throughout the life-cycle.
Optimum nutrition means that a person is receiving and utilizing essential nutrients in proper proportions as required by the body while also providing a ‘reserve’.
Nutritional status is the condition of the body as it relates to consumption and utilization of food. The nutritional status of a person may be either good or poor.
Good nutritional status refers to the intake of a well-balanced diet, which supplies all the essential nutrients to meet the body’s requirements. Such a person may be said to be receiving optimum nutrition.
Poor nutritional status refers to an inadequate or even excessive intake or poor utilization of the nutrients to meet the body’s requirements. Overeating can also result in poor nutritional status of a person.
Malnutrition refers to the physical effects on the human body of a dietary intake may be defined as 1.2 x BMR. The BMR (Basel metabolic Rate) is the minimum energy expenditure necessary for body maintenance at rest with no physical activity.