Why is Nutrition Important?

Why is nutrition important? - Importance and Benefits

Proper nutrition is essential for the overall health of your body. Think of nutrition as the fuel and exercise as regular maintenance for your body. Without the proper fuel (food) our body cannot achieve its optimum health potential. Thus, healthy nutrition is essential for a healthy body.

Ingest the wrong food without putting it to regular use (exercise) and your body will not be able to perform well and will eventually rebel against you and show signs (symptoms) that it is being mistreated. In other words, many health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet.

Poor nutrition can have a very negative impact on health and can cause deficiency diseases (such as scurvy and beriberi); threatening conditions like obesity and metabolic problems; and common chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Conversely, maintaining proper nutrition by healthy and balanced eating can benefit you in a multitude of ways by:

  • delaying the effects of aging
  • help you stay at your optimal weight
  • boost and reinforce your immune system
  • improve athletic performance (during exercise, sports and training)
  • keep you fit and active well into old age
  • help you improve your endurance (by not getting fatigued as easily)
  • protect your teeth and bones
  • enhance your mental abilities (memory, concentration, mood)
  • protect against serious illnesses such as: heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, obesity and gallbladder disease just to name a few

Why is Nutrition Important - Classification of main nutrients:

There are seven major classes or nutrients:

  • protein
  • carbohydrates
  • fats
  • fiber
  • minerals
  • vitamins
  • water

Why is Nutrition Important? - The Basics of Today's Proper Nutrition

It's important to know what kind of foods we should ingest more and which types less. Thus, here is the guideline:

  • Minimize fat intake - cut down on all fats from fatty or fried foods, butter, margarine, cream, oils and saturated fats. If you do this you will make your diet much healthier and avoid gaining too much weight.
  • Load-up on good quality carbohydrates
  • - pasta, brown rice, wheat breads, cereals and fruits. These will help maintain constant energy levels and elevate your metabolism.

  • High fiber - is essential to keep everything inside our body moving smoothly and helps lower cholesterol, prevents bowel cancer and gallstones and keeps our weight in check. Whole grain breads are full of fiber as well as brown rice, barley, lentils, vegetables, beans and bran breakfast cereals.
  • Get enough vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants - fruits, vegetables and grains are loaded with vitamins, minerals and a host of other natural substances like phytochemicals which function as anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants fight free radicals that can damage our cells and membranes. There are numerous studies that indicate lower rates of heart disease and cancer for those people who eat lots of veggies and fruits.
  • Easy on the sugar and sweets - in the right amount sugar is a useful fuel during exercise, exertion and sports. However, in excessive amounts sugar can help with gaining weight (fat) and can also cause dental problems (caries - tooth decay).
  • Light on salt - it's hard to avoid salt in today's world because most commercial foods are packed with it. Thus, it is important to buy foods that have no added salt or salt-reduced products. When you pick up something at the grocery store check the label(s) and look at the item on the list named "sodium" as this is the more formal and scientific name for salt. Any food label which says the sodium content is more that 15% high and should generally be avoided. If they sodium content is 5% or less that is low and therefore acceptable.
  • Drink plenty of fluids - water is the key! If the body is properly hydrated it will work efficiently. The recommended amount is 8 glasses per day, and even more in hot weather. However, the precise amount of water needed depends on the level of activity, temperature, humidity and other factors. If you physically exert yourself or expose yourself to heat your water loss will increase which means your daily fluid intake will need to increase as well. Alcohol and coffee are not recommended and do not count because they are diuretics and force your kidneys to excrete more fluids than normal.
  • Don't rush your meals - this means that stress, tension and rushing your meals are not good for your digestion and health. You need to relax and take your time ingesting the food. This is also one of the simplest ways to keep your weight in check.

Why is Nutrition Important - The Food Pyramid!

The new and updated food pyramid below is the USDA food pyramid, and is a general nutrition guide for recommended food consumption for humans. By looking at it you can see what foods are good to eat in larger quantities versus the foods that you should eat in limited or smaller amounts.

Why is Nutrition Important? - Conclusions

Proper nutrition does not require too much of an effort if you adhere to the basic principles on the long-run. Having an awareness of what foods are good for you versus the ones you should avoid is something that we can all learn about. Armed with such knowledge you can be light years ahead in terms of providing your body with the right fuel (food) to make sure it runs at optimal levels. If you can do this for your body, your body will certainly reward you in so many ways on so many levels! Knowing the answers to the question of - why is nutrition important - is a step in the right direction!

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