What Is Nutrition: Definition and Importance

Friday, 30 September 2022

Our body needs a lot of care in order to be healthy and in great condition. Nutrition has a lot to do with health in our lives. In this article, we will explain what nutrition is and what it studies.

All human beings need special care to be healthy. Some need it more than others, that is why health professionals are so important. Not only do we need to be tested and consult with doctors regularly, but we also need more complex areas of medicine such as nutrition. Nutrition is pretty important for our health since it prevents us from getting more complex diseases that could lead to serious problems. Keep on reading to find out more about what is nutrition. 

What Is Nutrition? 

The Australian Natural Therapists Association explains that nutrition is the science that deals with the study of nutrients in food and how our bodies process them to keep us healthy and alive. Good nutrition allows people to stay healthy and out of danger of getting diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. This is achieved through a balanced diet and how the nutrients become useful thanks to physiological processes. 

On the contrary, malnutrition is very common all over the world. The term malnutrition refers to the condition of your body when your diet is not containing the right amount of nutrients. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “malnutrition, in every form, presents significant threats to human health. Today the world faces a double burden of malnutrition that includes both undernutrition and overweight, especially in low- and middle-income countries.” Malnutrition can refer to undernutrition, which means not receiving enough nutrients, and overnutrition, which means getting more nutrients than needed. 

Every person needs a certain amount of nutrients in their body, and there are various types of nutrients that people need to be healthy. Here are some of them: 

  • Carbohydrates: These include sugars, fibre, and starch. 
  • Proteins: Proteins consists of amino acids, and there exist 20 types of amino acids, some of which are essential for the human body. 
  • Fats: This nutrient helps the body absorb certain vitamins, lubricate joints, produce hormones, and preserve brain health among others. 
  • Water: It is recommended that people consume 2 litres of water a day since it is useful for many body processes. 
  • Minerals: These might include potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron among others.
  • Vitamins: These will help protect the cells from damage.
  • Antioxidants: This will help the body remove toxic substances. 

What Is a Nutritionist? 

A nutritionist is a professional in charge of studying food, nutrients, and dietetics. A nutritionist receives their patients, diagnoses them, and advises them on the best way to provide nutrients to the body to avoid any type of future disease, encouraging them to follow a healthy lifestyle and following a certain diet. These health professionals need certain skills in order to become a nutritionist: communication and listening skills, interest in science and nutrients, empathy, organisation skills, and understanding of science and food. 

Dietitians and Nutritionists

Although these terms are pretty similar, they have their differences too. Nutritionists provide health and dietary advice based on evidence to groups and large communities. They mainly focus on population and community health. On the other hand, dietitians give people information about nutritional science. One of the main differences between these two is that nutritionists are not regulated, whereas dietitians are. Dietitians can work in clinics, hospitals, and the medical nutrition science. 

If you want to get more information about this topic, you can read Why Study Nutrition? 5 Reasons Why You Should Get a Degree in Nutrition

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