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Nutrition is important because people’s health is depending on macronutrients energy providing nutrients including carbohydrates fats proteins as well as micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are important for cellular respiration growth reproduction and maintenance of our bodies. Nutrients provide energy, repair bodily injury how to resist infections and disease. Additionally, humans need water for respiration, digestion, metabolism, waste removal, and temperature regulation. There are six important nutrients group require for healthy body functions this include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.
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First of all, carbohydrates are important macronutrients in a person's diet because they provide high source of energy for the body. Carbohydrates are found in several Foods including rice, wheat, grain, fruits, vegetables, legumes, milk, seeds, and nuts. In 2015 the Dietary Guidelines for the Americans (2015, US) established guidelines for intake or carbohydrates. USDA recommends between 130 grams to 325 grams of carbohydrates per day depending on individuals calorie target. According to the acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges individual should consume 45 to 65% calories of carbohydrates of their total calories. Foods such as vegetables provide vitamins minerals and other nutrients. Carbohydrates help regulate the metabolism of proteins and fats and they contain dietary fiber for proper elimination of waste.
In today's society people are consuming large amounts of unhealthy carbohydrates that may lead to health problems. Americans consume large amounts of carbohydrates with high glycemic index levels. Pastries, desserts, bread, bagels, pasta, potatoes, and many others that contain high glycemic levels are over-consumed. High glycemic levels quickly elevate blood sugar levels. Insulin in the body moves glucose from the bloodstream into cells. People who eat large amounts of these foods develop cravings for more carbohydrates because insulin quickly brings their bodies down to low glucose levels. Frequently consuming foods with high glycemic level results in insulin resistance and causes arthrosclerosis, type II diabetes, and accelerates the aging process. Dr. Ray Kurzweil author of Fantastic Voyage writes that eating certain carbohydrates such as peanuts, beans, lentils, peas, carrots, brown rice is better than eating white potatoes, white rice, pastas, and candies. If an individual eats too many carbohydrates without exercising, the liver converts excess glucose into fatty acids and triglycerides that can be stored as body fat; as a result, a person who does not engage in physical exercise or monitor their carbohydrate intake will gain weight.
Additionally, proteins are important macronutrients that make up to 20% of our body weight and compose our muscles, hair, skin, nails, eyes and internal organs. (Hass, 40) Milk and milk products are primary sources of protein. Other foods such as whole grains and vegetables also contain protein. Like carbohydrates and fats, protein provide energy; however, they main function in building new cells and tissue. Also, they are responsible for forming antibodies in our immune defense system and regulating metabolism (Haas, 60). Milk products promote healthy bone and reduce the risk of low bone mass. The US government recommends 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight for males and females 19 years or older (Haas, 61) are made of amino acids and some of these amino acids are essential in order for individuals body to function properly. Dr. Allison M Hass, author of staying healthy with nutrition rights than 9 amino acids including histamine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine are always necessary amino acids that people have to obtain from food he mentions nine amino acids that are essential and six amino acids that are non-essential. They are non-essential because our bodies are constantly producing these amino acids in their own (41). Foods that are high in all essential amino acids include beef, pork, lamb, eggs, milk and cheese (Haas, 43).
Lastly, fats are the third class of macronutrients necessary in a person's diet. Fats are an important energy source for our bodies during rest. Certain fats such as unsaturated fats are healthier than saturated fats and trans-fats. Unsaturated fats include vegetable oils such as canola sunflower and soy, which are liquids at room temperature. Saturated fats include butter lard and animal fats, which are solid at room temperature (Haas, 66). Trans-fats are found in several foods by the food industry throughout the hydrogenation process when the food producers convert unsaturated fats into saturated fats to prolong shelf-life of the food. High consumption of trans fats is detrimental to human health because it increases blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol leading to various cardiovascular diseases (Haas, 67). Two fatty acids, linolenic acid or a Omega-6 fatty acid and Alpha linolenic acid or an omega-3 fatty acids are essentials and people most consume this in their diets for Healthy Growth of blood vessels and nerves and to maintain healthy structure tissues (Haas, 68). Omega-6 fatty acid can be found in plant or Oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, soy, sesame and oat germ, wheat germ and rice bran. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in flaxseed and flax oil as well as cold weather fish including salmon, cod, trout, etc (Haas, 68). The recommended dietary intake for fats is set as 20 to 35% of our total calorie intake per day. Nutritionist stress the importance of eating unsaturated fats and limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats consumption to avoid cardiovascular problems and to maintain a healthier weight on body.
Fruits and vegetables are important source of micronutrients that provide vitamins and fiber for humans. Vitamins act as coenzymes in the metabolic functions of the body. Fiber mainly functions in maintaining a healthy intestinal tract and specific fibers known as soluble fibers lower cholesterol levels. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins A and C as well as folate and potassium for our bodies. Vitamin A can be found in bright orange vegetables, tomatoes, leafy greens and orange fruits. Citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, as well as leafy green vegetables contain high amounts of vitamin C. Individuals, who consume a generous amount of fruits and vegetables have been shown to have a reduce risk of chronic disease such as cardiovascular, type II diabetes and certain cancers. The USDA recommends that individuals consume 2 cups of fruits and 2 and half cups of vegetables per day based on a 2000-calorie intake diet. It encourages people to choose from a variety of vegetables including legumes, dark green, starchy vegetables and others throughout the week.
Minerals are important micronutrients because they make up bones, teeth, soft tissue, muscles, blood and nerve cells (Dunne, 10). Calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, selenium and zinc should be consumed to maintain a healthy body. Minerals are found in drinking water as well as in a wide range of foods; therefore, individuals are able to obtain minerals through a diverse and wholesome diet (Dunne, 17).
Lastly, water is an inorganic nutrient essential for cell functioning. Proper cell functioning requires a homeostatic balance of fluid inside and outside the cell. Water consumption ensures that the human body is able to balance fluids, transport nutrients throughout the body, excrete waste products and regulate nerve impulses to the brain and muscles (Ghosh, 51). Nutritionists recommend decreasing calories, fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, red meat, dairy foods, refined sugar, salt, processed foods and soda, and they increase fresh fruits and vegetables, water, fiber, whole grains, legumes and vegetable oils. A person's diet should mainly consist of four basic food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains/legumes, and proteins/fats/oils (Haas, 493).
I used www.myfitnesspal.com from Underarmor, a web nutrition and exercise tracker with a huge food database, to analyze an individual's daily nutrient intake. First I feel in my personal information under my profile tab in the computer program. Next I recorded all my food that I ate in every meal section throughout the day for one day. I use the search tool in the program to find a specific food that I consume any given meal. The computer program listed every food that I consumed on their each meal. The program found a food item and automatically recorded the amount of nutrients for each item selected. The food list, along with the food’s nutrients, was separated individually. Next, I look at the report that they program suggested in order to evaluate my daily nutrient intake and to compare my intake to the recommended daily intake. I used the information from the reports to figure out whether or not my diet is balanced and nutritious. I used this data to construct a plan in how to make my diet healthier in the future.
The reports that were generated by the Myfitnesspal.com web-program suggest that I have a mediocre nutritional diet. In general, I need to increase my protein intake and decrease my intake of fats. First of all, the data shows that I do not consume enough foods from the fruit, grain, vegetable and dairy groups as recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines (shown in the MyPlate report). On the other hand, my intake of sugars exceeded the recommended amount. In order to improve my nutrition, I need to consume 4.0 whole grains and 4.0 grams of other grains. The data illustrates that I need to consume about 40% more grains daily. Furthermore. I consumed almost nothing of the amount of vegetables that I needed daily. I need to improve my nutrition by increasing my intake of vegetables like dark-green, red and orange vegetables, starchy vegetables, beans and peas, and other vegetables throughout the week as recommended by the USDA. Out of all the food subgroups. My milk intake was deficient as well, I only consumed about 50% of milk products that I needed. Because milk provides calcium and promotes healthy bones, I need to consume the recommended daily amounts to avoid risk of calcium deficiency and osteoporosis.
According to the Calorie Report that was generated by the web program, my calorie intake was over the norm. In order to maintain a healthy body weight and a healthy heart, I need to decrease the amount of saturated fats in my diet. I know that I frequently eat some sort of fast food for lunch because of my busy schedule. But I need to eliminate foods that contain high amounts of saturated fat in order to improve my health. I need to monitor my consumption of trans fat and keep my intake at this low level.
I am very active in my daily routine but I do not exercise as in a gym. My lifestyle is not sedentary (there is always a shed to built or a fence to erect), therefore I feel that I should maintain the same amount of physical activity. According to my data from the Diet Analysis reports. I am consuming enough calories everyday; therefore I am getting enough energy to burn. I need to increase my intake of healthy nutritious foods though, and I need to start an exercise regime.
In general, I am consuming enough calories, but I am not consuming a variety of different foods. On occasion, I do not eat a varied breakfast. I always drink an Ensure by itself most of the time. I eat foods that are high in nutrient density. I did not record many foods daily, however my calorie intake was high. My diet consists of high amounts of fats especially saturated fat. However. I did not consume many vegetables, healthy sources of carbohydrates and proteins. Instead. I received a lot of my carbohydrates from rice and high fattening foods.
In conclusion, I learned that my diet was not balanced or nutritious throughout the day period. My meals were not balanced in that I ate meals with low nutrient density. I didn't eat a variety of foods at each meal, but my caloric intake from each of the foods was high. I consumed elevated amounts of fat, including high amounts of saturated fat. I need to reduce my intake of fat especially saturated fat in order to maintain a healthy heart and weight. I need to eat a wider variety of foods that are high in nutrient density in order to gain all the required nutrients without eating an excess amount of calories. Furthermore. I usually eat little amounts of nutrients for breakfast, depleting my body of energy that is required to function in the morning. In order to make my diet more nutritious, I need to eat more fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains.
If I continue to consume this high amount of fat, I may develop chronic disease involving heart problems. Moreover, I consumed foods high in cholesterol. High cholesterol may also lead to chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis or other cardiovascular diseases. I frequently consumed carbohydrates that were high in fat, which included foods such as white potatoes, white rice, pasta, and soda. According to choosemyplate.gov, I need to eat more peanuts, beans, lentils, peas and carrots (2019, US).
Overall. I intend to change my unhealthy habits by decreasing my low-density calories and reduce my intake of fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, refined sugar, processed food, and soda. I will try to increase my intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, water, fiber, whole grains, legumes, and vegetable oils. I need to remember which foods are destructive to my health, shop for healthier foods, and monitor my intake of nutrients. After all, nutrients are important in the healthy functioning of my body and I need to make changes in order to improve my overall health at the present moment and for the future.
- Dunne. Lawn J. Nutrition Almanac Fifth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill. 2002.
- Haas. Elson M. MD. and Buck. Levin. PhD.RD. Staving Healthy with Nutrition. The Complete Health.gov. http://www.health.gov/dietarvguidelinesidga2005/reconunendations.htm. 2005.
- Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. 21 century edition. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2006. Ghosh. Urbi. Nutrition. New York: Pearson Custom Publishing. 2009.
- Kurzweil. Ray. PhD and Grossman. Terry. MD . Fantastic Voyage. New York: First Plume Printing. 2005.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. ChooseMyPlate.gov Website. Washington, DC. Vegetables. www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables.html. Accessed February 17, 2019.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Retrieved from http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.