Importance of nutrition in human life

Food and nutrition are the basis of human life. Food is mainly whatever an individual eats. But nutrition is something which is constant. All humans require the same factors for nutrition. Only the amount and source varies.

Nutrition is the supply of material required by organisms to stay alive. Human body requires seven types of nutrient. A nutrient is a source of nourishment, an ingredient of food e.g. protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber and water:

1. Protein: composed of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (N,C,H,O)

2. Carbohydrate: composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (C,H,O)

3. Fat: composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (C,H,O)

4. Vitamins: Vitamins are organic compounds we require in tiny amounts. There are 13 vitamins including four fat soluble (A,D,E and K) and nine water soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C )

- Vitamin A (night blindness caused due to deficiency)

- vitamin B1, thiamine (beriberi caused by deficiency)

- vitamin B2, riboflavin (deficiency leads to mouth lesion)

- vitamin B3, niacin (deficiency leads to liver damage)

- vitamin B5, pantothenic acid (deficiency linked with inability to cope with stress)

- vitamin B6,pyrodoxamine (deficiency leads to anemia)

- vitamin B7, biotin (deficiency leads to dermatitis),

- vitamin B9, folic acid (deficiency leads to birth defect)

- vitamin B12, cyanocobalamin (deficiency leads to anemia)

- vitamin C, ascorbic acid (scurvy is caused due to deficiency)

- vitamin D (deficiency leads to rickets)

- vitamin E (deficiency leads to anemia)

- vitamin K (deficiency leads to bleeding)

5. Minerals: Apart from carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen human body needs: (a) potassium (electrolytes), (b) chlorine ((electrolytes), (c) sodium (electrolyte), (d) calcium (bone), (e) phosphorus (energy), (f) magnesium (bones), (g) zinc (enzyme), (h) manganese (enzyme), (i) copper (enzyme), (j) iodine (thyroid), (k) selenium(enzyme) , (l) molybdenum (enzyme), ( m) cobalt(nerve tissue) ,(n ) sulphur (insulin),(o) iron(enzyme) and (p) chromium(amino acid) .

6. Fiber: Dietary fiber intake is associated with better glycemic control and favorable cardiovascular disease risk factors including chronic kidney diseases in type 2 diabetic patients. Diabetic patients are encouraged to take more dietary fiber in daily life. Dietary fibers are mainly found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

7. Water: Water makes up more than two-thirds of the weight of human body. Without water human would die in a few days. All the cells and organs need water to function. Water serves as a lubricant. Water regulates body temperature. Drinking right amount of water helps, among other functions, reducing headache, maintaining mental concentration, digestion of food, maintaining healthy skin, maintaining joint and muscle health, physical activity, flush out toxins from the body, maintaining good mood, weight loss, boosting metabolism, and protection from


Lack of knowledge on nutrition and poor diet contribute to major diseases including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and other deficiency disorders. The cost of treating diet related diseases speak strongly for nutrition education.



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