Nutrition is the science of food. All foods are made up of chemical compounds. When we eat various foods our body breaks them down into chemicals that we can then use.
There are five groups of chemicals present in the various foods we eat: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Proteins are found in foods like meat, eggs and dairy products. The body uses proteins to build and strengthen muscle and to keep our hair, teeth, nails and bones healthy.
Carbohydrates are found in foods like spaghetti, bread, cereal, rice, potatoes, most fruits, vegetables and sweets. Carbohydrates contribute to approximately 50 per cent of the body’s energy needs.
Fats are essential for good health. As well as providing an additional energy source, they give flavour and juiciness to many of the foods we eat. Fats also insulate the body and cushion our vital organs.
Vitamins are found in fruit and vegetables, dairy foods and meat and are essential in their role of triggering vital bodily functions.
Minerals are contained in almost everything we eat. Most people can obtain the minerals they need by simply eating a variety of foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. Minerals help form new body tissue and carry out various important bodily functions.
Nutrition is vital to maintaining good health at all ages. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water! Although water has no nutritional value, it is one of the most important components of our diet because it is essential for digestion, transportation of body wastes and for maintaining the body’s structure.