What is Nutrition?
– What is Nutrition?
- Nutrition is the intake of food, considered in relation to the body’s dietary needs (WHO) or the process of nourishing or being nourished
- Nutrition is important for everyone and is a cornerstone of good health throughout the life cycle
- Poor nutrition can lead to: reduced immunity, increased susceptibility to disease, impaired physical and mental development, reduced productivity
- Nutrition and food are fuel
- The benefits of good nutrition are numerous: boost the immune system, improve sport performance, delays ageing, protects teeth and gums, enhanced concentration, fights and prevents disease, energy for life, keeping a healthy weight
- Nutrition and foods are not always good
- Malnutrition (over and under nutrition) are huge problems globally
- Under nutrition – indicates a lack of the necessary energy, protein or micro nutrients required by the body for good health e.g. protein-energy malnutrition
- Micronutrient deficiencies occur when the body lacks one or more micro nutrients resulting in deficiencies which usually affect growth and immunity e.g. anaemia (iron deficiency)
- Causes of under nutrition: lack of knowledge, fad diets, disease and illness, life cycle changes, poverty, inadequate diets…
- Signs of under nutrition:
o Unplanned weight loss
o Weak muscles and/or loss of muscle
o Feeling tired all the time
o Low mood
o Increase in illnesses or infections
o Slow recovery from illness
o Failure to grow at the expected rate
o Changes in behavior such as appearing unusually irritable, sluggish or anxious
- 842 million people globally, mostly in developing countries suffer from under nutrition and 1 in 3 child deaths are related to under nutrition
- Iron deficiency anemia can occur when the body has a lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin to transport oxygen to the cells of the body – most common cause lack of iron in the diet
- Consequences include: fatigue, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, pallor and breathlessness
- Those at risk include: Infants > 6months and toddlers, menstruating women, pregnant women, vegetarians, diets lacking in Vitamin C, people with malabsorption or pathological blood loss
- Iron rich foods include: dark leafy greens, eggs yolks, broccoli, poultry, quinoa, red meat, shellfish, grains, dried fruits, lentils
- Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron more efficiently
- Over nutrition can lead to: Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease
- According to WHO Obesity is an “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health”
- The causes of Obesity are numerous and complex and include:
- Obesity health implications include: stroke, heart disease, pancreatitis, female disorders, arthritis, inflamed veins, gout, cancer, gallstones, liver disease, lung disease, sleep apnea
- Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce any/enough insulin or when the body cannot use the insulin that it produces
- There are 2 primary forms of diabetes Type 1 and Type 2
- Symptoms include: frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness, irritability, blurred vision, slow healing cuts…
- Cardiovascular disease is a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels and is the number 1 killer globally.
- Risk factors include: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, excessive alcohol, genetics,
- An unhealthy diet + an inactive lifestyle can lead to elevated blood pressure, blood glucose and blood lipids as well as overweightness or obesity. This can indicate an increased risk of developing a heart attack, stroke of heart failure
- A healthy diet and lifestyle can help to treat and prevent Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.
Good nutrition is extremely important
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