Why Nutrition is Important to Health

Why Nutrition is Important to Health

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Healthy and balanced nutrition is very important for everyone. Good nutrition is fundamental
for good health. It is the process by which we obtain food and use it for growth, keeping our
bodies working properly and refrain from diseases.

Eating a balanced diet is very important for good health and wellbeing. Food provides our
bodies with the energy, required fat, protein, vitamins and minerals to live, grow and work
properly. We need a variety of different foods to provide the right amounts of nutrients for
good our health.

  • Primary nutrients to live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats)
  • Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)
  • Water

Prevention is better than cure. The earlier a person starts to eat a healthy and balanced diet,
the more he or she will stay healthy. A healthy diet prevents malnutrition and protects from
diseases like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke. Today, many people consume
lot of saturated fat, trans fats, sugars, and more sodium than fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber
which will reflect to our body in reverse one day without any notice.

Vitamins

These are organic compounds we require in tiny amounts. An organic compound is any molecule that contains carbon. It is called a vitamin when our bodies cannot synthesize (produce) enough or any of it. So we have to obtain it from our food. Vitamins are classified by what they do biologically – their biological and chemical activity – and not their structure.

Vitamins are classified as water soluble (they can dissolve in water) or fat soluble (they can dissolve in fat). For humans there are 4 fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C) vitamins – a total of 13.
Vitamins and foods illustration
Popular food sources of vitamins

Water soluble vitamins need to be consumed more regularly because they are eliminated faster and are not readily stored. Urinary output is a good predictor of water soluble vitamin consumption. Several water-soluble vitamins are manufactured by bacteria.

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Fat soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestines with the help of fats (lipids). They are more likely to accumulate in the body because they are harder to eliminate quickly. Excess levels of fat soluble vitamins are more likely than with water-soluble vitamins – this condition is called hypervitaminosis. Patients with cystic fibrosis need to have their levels of fat-soluble vitamins closely monitored.

We know that most vitamins have many different reactions, which means they have several different functions. Below is a list of vitamins, and some details we know about them:

Vitamin A
chemical names – retinol, retinoids and carotenoids.
Solubility – fat.
Deficiency disease – Night-blindness.
Overdose disease – Keratomalacia (degeneration of the cornea).
Vitamin B1
chemical name – thiamine.
Solubility – water.
Deficiency disease – beriberi, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
Overdose disease – rare hypersensitive reactions resembling anaphylactic shock when overdose is due to injection. Drowsiness.
Vitamin B2
chemical name – riboflavin
Solubility – water
Deficiency disease – ariboflanisosis (mouth lesions, seborrhea, and vascularization of the cornea).
Overdose disease – no known complications. Excess is excreted in urine.
Vitamin B3
chemical name – niacin.
Solubility – water.
Deficiency disease – pellagra.
Overdose disease – liver damage, skin problems, and gastrointestinal complaints, plus other problems.
Vitamin B5
chemical name -pantothenic acid.
Solubility – water.
Deficiency disease – paresthesia (tingling, pricking, or numbness of the skin with no apparent long-term physical effect).
Overdose disease – none reported.
Vitamin B6
chemical name – pyridoxamine, pyridoxal.
Solubility – water.
Deficiency disease – anemia, peripheral neuropathy.
Overdose disease – nerve damage, proprioception is impaired (ability to sense stimuli within your own body is undermined).
Vitamin B7
chemical name – biotin.
Solubility – water.
Deficiency disease – dermatitis, enteritis.
Overdose disease – none reported.
Vitamin B9
chemical name – folinic acid.
Solubility – water.
Deficiency disease – birth defects during pregnancy, such as neural tube.
Overdose disease – seizure threshold possibly diminished.
Vitamin B12
chemical name – cyanocobalamin, hydroxycobalamin, methylcobalamin.
Solubility – water.
Deficiency disease – megaloblastic anemia (red blood cells without nucleus).
Overdose disease – none reported.
Vitamin C
chemical name – ascorbic acid.
Solubility – water.
Deficiency disease – scurvy, which can lead to a large number of complications.
Overdose disease – vitamin C megadosage – diarrhea, nausea, skin irritation, burning upon urination, depletion of the mineral copper, and higher risk of kidney stones.
Vitamin D
chemical name – ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol.
Solubility – fat.
Deficiency disease – rickets, osteomalacia (softening of bone), recent studies indicate higher risk of some cancers.
Overdose disease – hypervitaminosis D (headache, weakness, disturbed digestion, increased blood pressure, and tissue calcification).
Vitamin E
chemical name – tocotrienols.
Solubility – fat.
Deficiency disease – very rare, may include hemolytic anemia in newborn babies.
Overdose disease – one study reported higher risk of congestive heart failure.
Vitamin K
chemical name – phylloquinone, menaquinones.
Solubility – fat.
Deficiency disease – greater tendency to bleed.
Overdose disease – may undermine effects of warfarin.

Most foods contain a combination of some, or all of the seven nutrient classes. We require some nutrients regularly, and others less frequently. Poor health may be the result of either not enough or too much of a nutrient, or some nutrients – an imbalance.

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