Definition of Nutrition and other Common Terminologies in Nutrition


Definition of Nutrition and other Common Terminologies in Nutrition

Nutrition is defined as the study of food composition and its effects on the body. It can also be defined as an art and science of nourishing the body. Nutrition can be described as a science because it can be proven in animals or human beings. Deficiency of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) for example, leads to angular stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth). Excessive intake of fatty foods can lead to overweight or obesity. Nutrition is also an art because the way the food is presented to the consumer may either be appealing or unappealing regardless of its nutritious values. Food is an edible substance that human being or animals eat or drinks that supply all the nutrients that will sustain maintain and promote life and growth. For example beans, maize, milk, fruit. Nutrients are chemical components of food that supply nourishment to the body. Examples are protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, water and carbohydrates. Micronutrients are the very small molecules that are also part of food composition that are needed in small quantities in the body but very important for good health. Examples of micronutrients are iodine, zinc, iron, vitamin A, selenium and others. Adequate diet is a diet that contains all the essential nutrients taking in the right proportion at a sitting. In our own community, an adequate diet is one that contains at least one food item from all the food groups e.g. carbohydrate, protein, fats & oil, etc. Malnutrition simply means bad nutrition. Bad nutrition can be classified as under or over nutrition.

Food value refers to the quality and quantity of essential nutrients that each food contains that will promote and rehabilitate good health. Food security is defined as the availability of food-stuffs in enough quantity and quality to every member of the household regardless of age, sex, religion, and individual condition. Nutrition security is the utilisation of the food nutrients in the body system in order to restore, maintain and promote quality and healthful life.

Description of an Adequate

Adequate diet is essential for optimal freedom from both infectious and non-infectious diseases. An adequate diet does not have to be expensive. Locally available foodstuffs can be easily used to plan an adequate diet. For examples, yam + beans + leafy green vegetables +crayfish and any fruit in season; Rice + beans + green leafy vegetables + frozen fish + any fruit in season; Boiled plantain + beans + piece of meat + leafy green vegetables + any fruit in season.

The Ancestral Human Nutritional Behaviour before and after Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions

In an attempt to understand the present modern dietary behaviours of Homo sapiens, it is very important to examine our ancestor’s diet behaviour; 100,000 generations of our people were hunter-gatherers before agricultural revolution. Their main sources of carbohydrates, fats and protein were from fruits, vegetables, nuts and wild animals. Their consumption of fiber was very high due to eating over one hundred different fruits and vegetables. Their consumption of salt was very low and that of potassium was very high. These two nutrients have been identified as the aetiology and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The consumption of omega-3 fatty acids was higher than omega – 6 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids have been implicated in the aetiology and prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. ‘Of necessity, the ratio of meat and fruits/vegetables varied with geographical location, climate and season’. Five hundred generations have depended on agriculture. The invention of digging tools led to introduction of root, tuber and bulbs to their diets. The Homo sapiens were domesticated to produce milk and protein. Large amounts of grains, milk and protein were consumed and they became more sedentary. Whereas, drinking of milk was rarely drank beyond infants.

The Homo-sapiens dietary behaviours have definitely changed our evolutionary diet due to agricultural and industrial revolution. Ten thousand generations have lived since the start of the industrial age. The industrial revolution has led to refining the grains into flour, processing of animal protein, thereby adding additives, salts and fats and oils to preserve the processed foods. The industrial revolution has also led to establishment of plethora of fast food restaurants. The industrial revolution has brought a drastic shift from diets high in fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and sea food to highly processed foods high in sodium and hydrogenated fats and low in dietary fibre.

Effects of Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions on Homo Sapiens’ Health

Over the past 100 years, the dietary behaviour of Homo sapiens has changed tremendously due to agricultural and industrial revolutions. These two revolutions have some adverse effects on human health. These adverse effects include:

• Increased consumption of highly processed and refined grain- based carbohydrates which may lead to increase in type ii diabetes mellitus.

• Increased consumption of refined sugar (sucrose) which was never part of our ancestors’ diet. This also could lead to increase in type ii diabetes mellitus.

• The increased usage of pesticides and fertilizers may result to reduced nutritional quality of the foodstuffs.

• The high increase of domestic animals and refined grains may ead to higher increase of omega 6 than omega-3 fatty acids which may lead to increase in cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

• Reduced consumption of fruits and vegetables and excess consumption of processed refined grains which may lead to constipation and colon cancer.

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