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The Nutrition Centre

Nutrition Basics

 

What are the ABCs of Nutrition?

 

Foods provide a range of different textures, flavors, colors and nutritional value, and eating a variety will ensure the best combination for good health. The nutrients in food include protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals and water…all of which are essential for continued good health.

The following tables provide an overview of the important functions of nutrition in our diet. such as fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, water, fibre and phytonutrients.
 

FATS

Provides fuel to keep the body working.

Plays an important part in simulating and protecting the body’s organs and other tissues.

Transports other nutrients into and around the body.

You need very small amounts to perform these important tasks. Major sources include butter, margarine, oils, all meats and poultry, cheese, full-cream milk and yogurt and nuts.

Fried and takeaway foods, chips, potato crisps, snack foods, cream, ice-cream, many dressings and sauces, most cakes, biscuits, cookies, pastries and chocolate all contain large amounts of fats and should be eaten sparingly.

There are different types of fats in foods and these become significant when considering blood fat levels and heart disease.

 

CARBOHYDRATES

An important fuel source for all body tissues, especially the brain.

Plays an important part in many body functions.

Transports other nutrients into and around the body.

Comes in two main forms – sugars and starches. Sugars are found naturally in fruit, milk and honey, and are added as sweeteners to many foods such as confectionery, cakes, soft drinks and jams. You find starches in breads, cereals, grains, vegetables and pulses.

 

VITAMINS

Help the body produce fuel from carbohydrate, fat and protein.

Work in combination with protein in growth and repair of body tissues.

Play an essential part in body functions.

There are two types of vitamins: water-soluble vitamins, that is, all B vitamins and Vitamin C which are found widely in foods including fruits, vegetables, cereals, milk and meat; and fat-soluble vitamins – A,D,E and K – which are found in animal fats such as butter, other dairy products, meat, fish, vegetable oils and margarines, wholegrain products, nuts and seeds.

 

MINERALS

Form a major part of bones, teeth and body fluids such as blood.

Play an essential part in body functions such as heart beat, muscle contraction and in the nervous system and fluid balance.

Occur widely in foods such as meat and fish, milk and cheese, fruits, vegetables and cereals.

 

FIBRE

Provides fuel to keep the body working.

Plays an important part in simulating and protecting the body’s organs and other tissues.

Transports other nutrients into and around the body.

You need very small amounts to perform these important tasks. Major sources include butter, margarine, oils, all meats and poultry, cheese, full-cream milk and yogurt and nuts.

Fried and takeaway foods, chips, potato crisps, snack foods, cream, ice-cream, many dressings and sauces, most cakes, biscuits, cookies, pastries and chocolate all contain large amounts of fats and should be eaten sparingly.

There are different types of fats in foods and these become significant when considering blood fat levels and heart disease.

 

WATER

An essential part of every body function. About two-thirds of the body is water.

We lose between one and three litres of water every day through the lungs and in urine, faeces and sweat. The body can survive only for a few days without replacing this loss.

Water is the best drink for health. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day and you will feel the benefit.

 

PHYTONUTRIENTS

Studies show that populations that eat a diet high in plant foods have a lower incidence of certain diseases including many cancers, cardiovascular disorders and diabetes.

Each plant food contains hundreds of biologically active compounds. Currently 12,000 phytochemicals have been identified in foods.

Phytochemicals have an impact in a variety of ways.

Rich sources include fruits, vegetables, pulses, including soybeans, herbs, tea, red and white wine, nuts and olive oil.

 
 
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