What is nutrition ? Nutrition is the process by which living things receive the
food necessary for them to grow and be healthy.
We associate food with
nutrition. Food is needed to maintain health, as a source of energy and to carry
out life processes such as breathing, growing, excreting and reproduction.
When we think of food, we think of it in terms of its calorific value. The
calorific value is determined by the calorimeter and defined as the energy
content of food. Food energy is measured in calories (cal) or kilocalories
(kcal). One calorie is equivalent to 4.2 joule and one kilocalorie to 4.2
There are factors that would affect the calorie requirements of humans.
The first factor is sex. Males generally need more calories than females
because they are more active than females. Active females would definitely need
more calories than a male who does no exercise at all.
The second factor is body size. a bigger body size requires more energy
because there is more weight to support.
The third factor is the physical activity of an individual. A person who
carries out more manual work needs more calories than an office worker who does
more sedentary work.
The fourth factor is the state of health of the individual. Sick people need
more energy than healthy people to fight against diseases and repair damaged
The fifth factor sit he surrounding temperature. People who live in cold
climates need more energy to maintain a constant body temperature.
Good nutrition intake results in good health. The individual is energetic and
healthy and all his basic life processes function smoothly. He does not fall ill
easily, does not catch the flu when he comes in contact with a person who has
the sniffles and is usually cheerful and
On the other hand, should a person indulge in poor nutrition intake, he may
face immediate health ailments and face more serious health problems in the long
run. Poor nutrition intake means not having a balanced diet of sufficient
proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins. he may consume too much red meat and
too much fats. he stays away from vegetables, fruits and drinks very little
water but drinks too much soda.
Firstly, a person with bad nutrition intake may suffer from malnutrition. He
lacks proteins and vitamins. He may suffer from undernourishment, scurvy,
rickets and even night blindness. His body weight drops. he becomes thin and
lethargic. He may have a pot belly, and dry skin. Vitamin deficiency can be seen
in swollen and bleeding gums, soft bones and poor vision.
Secondly, poor nutrition can result in anorexia nervosa. It is an eating
disorder where a person limits eating and weighs at least 15% less than his
ideal weight. He fears being fat. the victim is thin and depressed. In very
serious cases, the victim dies.
Thirdly, Poor eating habits can result in obesity. Excessive eating results
in excess fat being stored in body parts like the abdomen, buttocks and limbs.
The person looks fat and sometimes develops low self-esteem.
Next, when there is excessive intake of salts, fats and cholesterol (in food
like egg yellow, meat, prawns, cuttlefish), the person may develop high blood
pressure, the silent killer of this era. Then, there is the diabetes mellitus
which is a metabolic disorder. High sugar intake may result in this modern
disease of luxury living. These two diseases can lead to stroke, a
debilitating condition. In addition, another
is heart disease or heart attack caused by arteriosclerosis which is cholesterol
accumulation on the inner walls of the arteries.
Whatever one's span of life, short or long, one should maintain a healthy
lifestyle. as far as it is humanely possible, one should eat healthily and
sensibly to ensure good nutrition. It is no fun being sick, ill and unhappy.
Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, to be enjoyed. The first step is to
take care of the body and the body will take care of itself.