Friday, January 13, 2012

Energy & Growth Importance of Nutrients in Our Body

Every food contains nutrients of some sort and every part of your body requires them. Your body needs macronutrients in large amounts and micronutrients in small, or "trace," amounts routinely for overall wellness and normal function. Learning more regarding the ways your body utilizes nutrients may inspire you to appreciate and emphasize nutritious foods in your diet.
If you've ever experienced lethargy or exhaustion after eating too little food, you've witnessed the energy-related significance of nutrients. Your body relies upon macronutrients, including carbohydrates, protein and fat, for energy. All of your cells reap energy from carbohydrates, according to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, which are easily stored in your body. When carbohydrates are unavailable, your body turns to protein for fuel. Fat is the most concentrated bodily energy form, which helps fuel low to moderate intensity activity. Healthy carbohydrate sources include whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Nutritious protein-rich foods include fish, low-fat dairy products, beans, lentils and lean meats. Healthy fats are prevalent in nuts, seeds, avocados and vegetable oils.
Growth and Development
Your body requires macronutrients and micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, for normal growth and development. Protein allows for lean tissue growth, for example. Fats play a crucial role in brain and body development. The mineral zinc supports proper growth and development during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Valuable sources of zinc include oysters, beef, crab, chicken, fortified cereals, baked beans and yogurt. Calcium and vitamin D allow for healthy bone growth and density.
Oxygen Transport
The mineral iron plays an essential role in oxygen transport, or the movement of oxygen throughout your blood and body. Poor oxygen delivery caused by an iron deficiency results in fatigue, an increased risk for illness and hindered work performance, according to the ODS. Top sources of iron include chicken liver, oysters, beef, clams and fortified cereals and oatmeal.
Immune Function
Eating sufficient amounts of food and nutrients supports a strong-functioning immune system -- a network in your body that works to protect you from toxic substances, infections and diseases. B-vitamins, including thiamine, niacin, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12, play significant roles in your body's ability to fight illnesses, according to the American Dietetic Association. Vitamin C, which may be the best-known antioxidant, protects your body from cell damage, infections and bruising. Zinc also supports immune function and wound healing. The best way to establish a healthy, antioxidant-rich eating lifestyle is to consume well-balanced meals and snacks, including a variety of foods and at least 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables daily.
Body Function Regulation
Nutrients also help to regulate your body function. If you consume too little fiber, which is prevalent in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, your digestive system may fail to function normally, according to, leading to constipation and other gastrointestinal problems. Consuming too few carbohydrates can trigger ketosis -- a state caused by incomplete fat digestion -- making way for dehydration, weakness and nausea. Consuming too few omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish such as salmon, flax seeds and walnuts, may cause blood circulation, mood, heart and cognitive problems.

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