Nutrients And Malnutrition

Learn basic nutrition - What are nutrients? The key sources and why you need them to prevent malnutrition.



Nutrients are not nutrition. Nutrition is the study of nutrients. And nutrients are components of food that are essential for our body and its basic functions (providing energy, acting as building blocks for growth and repair, regulating important chemical processes in our bodies). Foods also contain non-nutrient that are important for the human body, like fiber and antioxidants. Some of them may be harmful to the human body such as pesticide residues.

All essential nutrients are broken down into two categories:

MACRONUTRIENTS and MICRONUTRIENTS. Also, one other essential nutrient is water. They are all called essentials because the human body cannot make them.




Macronutrients are nutrients that your body needs in larger amounts for proper functioning and they are measured in the form of calories. Three types of macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Micronutrients on the other hand are required in smaller amounts and they include vitamins and minerals.


Unfortunately, it is more than common that many people don't have enough of these important nutrients. These deficiencies are responsible for imbalances in the human body and they cause a variety of diseases such as digestion disorders, skin problems, stunted or defective bone growth, dementia, and many other diseases. Sometimes, your body is unable to absorb certain nutrients even if you are consuming them so it is possible to be deficient in any of the nutrients your body needs.


Deficiencies of nutrients are called MALNUTRITION and address three broach group of conditions:

  • undernutrition - includes wasting (low weight-for-height), stunting (low height-for-age) and underweight (low weight-for-age);

  • micronutrient-related malnutrition - includes micronutrient deficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals) or micronutrient excess; and

  • overweight, obesity, and diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers)

and symptoms may be lack of energy or strength, poor physical performance, lack of energy and breathlessness, quick changes in weight, changes to skin and nail. It is estimated that 11% of the worldwide population is under-nourished. You can imagine developing countries where hunger is a huge issue but it is most than common worldwide because obesity is also caused by malnutrition.




In this case, a holistic approach is the best option because this approach treats the body as a whole and a healthy diet is not just a lifestyle. I would like to mention my story when I suffered from amenorrhea for two and a half years. There were more reasons but one of them was my diet. I went through a difficult period of time while I started dieting as well. All this time nobody could help me and all doctors I was talking to said that only one option is hormonal treatment - which is BS in my eyes. The cure was of course state of mind but when I have a break from a gym and from dieting and when I gained a little bit of weight (body fat). To clarify this, fat is good and I already know but these times I was confused by all media, diets and I have not knowledge enough. So I basically try to avoid any fat and also carbs and from time to time I was binging on the food. This case can be classified as malnutrition as well because my body was unnourished.


I stand by the opinion that every disease comes from the inside. A healthy diet and lifestyle are really important and it is not just a trend. So if you suffer from any conditions you may take a step back and really think about if your body really has everything it needs because small changes make a big difference.



Conclusion


Malnutrition means in other words undernutrition and is caused by not having enough food/nutrients or having a diet that lacks proper nutrition (calories of energy, protein, vital vitamins and minerals), or being unable to properly absorb nutrients from the food person eats to sustain good physical health and brain potential. Malnutrition is a result of the poor quantity and quality food intake or frequent illness.




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