domingo, 7 de noviembre de 2010

Food and nutrients

Did you ever hear the saying, “You are what you eat”? It’s not just a saying. It’s actually true. What you eat plays an important role in your health. Eating a variety of healthful foods promotes good physical health and provides energy for growth and activity. Many common diseases and their symptoms can be prevented or helped with healthful eating. Knowing what your body needs can help you choose foods to meet those needs.

Nutrients are chemical elements or compounds that the body needs for normal functioning and good health. There are six main classes of nutrients:
1. Carbohydrates
2. Proteins
3. Lipids
4. Water
5. Vitamins
6. Minerals.
The body needs these nutrients for three basic purposes: energy, building materials, and control of body processes.
A steady supply of energy is needed by cells for all body functions. Carbohydrates, and lipids, mainly, provide this energy through the cellular repirationEnergy is measured in units called kilocalories (kcal), commonly referred to as Calories.
Molecules that make up the body are continuously broken down or used up, so they must be replaced. Some nutrients, particularly proteins, provide the building materials for this purpose. Other nutrients—including proteins, vitamins, and minerals—are needed to regulate body processes.
Nutrients can be classified in two groups based on how much of them the body needs:
• Macronutrients are nutrients that the body needs in relatively large amounts. They include carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and water.
• Micronutrients are nutrients the body needs in relatively small amounts. They include vitamins and minerals.
The exact amount of a macronutrient an individual needs depends on many factors, including gender and age.

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