Nutrition

.. to lead to death. Water is a colorless compound of hydrogen and oxygen that almost every cell in the body needs to survive, it contains no calories. Even tissues that are not thought of as watery contain large amounts of water. Water makes up about three-fourths of the brain and muscles, and bone is more than one-fifth water.

In all, water accounts for about one-half to two-thirds of the body’s makeup. One of water’s many important jobs is to carry nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body through the blood and lymphatic systems. Also, it plays an important role in regulating body temperature; the heat released when we lose water through perspiration helps keep us cool. We cannot rely on thirst as the only indicator of water requirements. It is possible to quench your thirst without putting back into your body the amount of water you need.

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That’s the reason you’re advised to drink 6 to 8 glassed of fluid every day, whether you’re 6 thirsty or not. This recommendation has special meaning for the elderly, they are less likely to get thirst signals when their bodies need water. Drinking water past the point of thirst also lessens the risk of dehydration for people who live in really hot climates, or athletes and laborers who sweat all the time. It’s almost impossible to take in too much water, since the body is very efficient at getting rid of what it doesn’t need. Most of the water we drink comes from beverages, including juice, milk, and soft drinks. Coffee and tea also supply water, but these sources are taken daily and they increase loss of water through the kidneys.

Solid foods also add a lot to our daily water intake. Most fruits are more than 80 percent water, and even foods that don’t seem juicy or moist supply us with large amounts of water. Minerals Minerals are necessary for good health and growth. Certain amounts of minerals are needed to keep our bodies working properly. The two important body functions that mineral elements do are building and regulating. The building functions have to do with the skeleton and all soft tissues, including the blood.

The regulating functions include heartbeat, blood clotting, maintenance of blood pressure, water balance, nerve responses, and carrier of oxygen from the lungs to tissues. Large amounts of some minerals are needed in the diet because they are present in large amounts in the body. These minerals – calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and sulphur are known as macrominerals. More than 100 milligrams of these minerals are needed everyday. Others, called trace minerals, are needed in small amounts. These are iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, and selenium.

Some mineral elements are considered harmful, such as lead, mercury and cadmium. Phosphorus helps strengthen bones and teeth and is also a part of every body tissue. It 7 has more functions than any other mineral element. Antacids can interfere with phosphorus absorption. If used for a long time antacids could cause severe bone demineralization. Good sources of phosphorus are meat, fish, poultry and eggs.

Fruits and vegetables are usually low in phosphorus and are not good sources. Potassium is necessary for the fluid inside body cells. It helps control muscle action and transfer of nerve impulses. Prolonged vomiting and kidney disease will cause potassium deficiencies. The best sources of potassium are fruits and vegetables.

Sodium is found mainly in the blood and fluids outside body cells. It maintains water balance inside and outside the cells. The sending of nerve impulses also depends on the proper amounts of sodium. Doctors will often advise patients to reduce the amount of salt in their diet in cases of high blood pressure, kidney disease, cirrhosis of the liver and congestive heart disease. A decrease in salt can reduce water holding, which usually is associated with these health problems.

Magnesium is important to the normal functioning of nerves and muscles. When there is not enough magnesium in the body, people could have symptoms like muscle spasms, weakness, irregular heart beat, and leg cramps. In malnourished people, a lack of magnesium will cause tremors and convulsions. Since there are too many vitamins and minerals to research in full, I have listed below the essential ones and what each one does for the body. Vitamin A: Promotes good eyesight and helps keep the skin and mucous membranes resistant to infection. Vitamin B1: (thiamine) – Prevents beriberi.

Important to carbohydrate energy and health of nervous system. Vitamin B2: (riboflavin) – Protects skin, mouth, eyes, eyelids, and mucous membranes. Vitamin B6: (pyrido xine) – Important in the regulation of the central nervous system. 8 Vitamin B12: (cobalamin) – Needed to form red blood cells. Niacin: Maintains the health of skin, tongue, and digestive system. Folic acid: (folacin) – Required for normal blood cell formation, growth, and reproduction.

Other B Vitamins: biotin, pantothenic acid. Vitamin C: (ascorbic acid) – Maintains collagen, a protein necessary for the formation of skin, ligaments, and bones. It helps heal wounds, and mend fractures and aids in resisting some types of viral and bacterial infections. Vitamin D: Important for bone development. Vitamin E: (tocopherol) – Helps protect red blood cells.

Vitamin K: Necessary for formation of prothrombin, which helps blood to clot. Vegetarians Some Americans eat vegetarian diets for reason of culture, religious beliefs, health, dislike of meat, compassion for animals, and belief in non-violence. Most vegetarians eat dairy products and eggs, and have excellent health. Vegetarian diets meet with the Dietary Guidelines and can meet all known nutrient needs. The key to a healthy vegetarian diet is to eat a wide variety of foods including fruits, plenty of green leafy vegetables, whole grain products, nuts, and seeds. Because animal products are the only sources of vitamin B-12, vegetarians must supplement their diet with this vitamin.

Also vegetarian diets, especially for children, need to have the right amount of vitamin D and calcium, which comes from dairy products. In the eighteenth century, scientists learned more about how food helped the body work. And in the twentieth century, vitamins were discovered as essential elements in the human diet. So much is known about nutrition today it’s hard to believe that 100 years ago rickets was a common disease for young people, lack of iron for the wealthy, and cavities 9 were a part of life for children. Two hundred years ago, the average life expectancy was 35 years.

One hundred years ago, it was 40 years. Today, with all our medical advances and knowledge of nutrition the life expectancy could be 75 years. But even with this knowledge Americans still continue to eat too much food that is too high in fat, cholesterol, sugar, and salt! Health and Beauty Essays.