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What is Nutrition – Explained in detail 2024

Welcome to Medical Advice Channel’s Blog, the Medical blog dedicated to providing high-quality Medical Tutorials, Articles, and Reviews. Today’s article is going to be about Nutrition. The following are some of the topics we will discuss;

What is Nutrition

Nutrition is the science of foods and nutrients, their action, interaction, and balance to health and diseases, and the processes by which the organisms ingest, digest, absorb, transport and utilize nutrients and disposes of their end products.

Nutrition is an important aspect of one’s life as it is a multi-disciplinary science that embraces agriculture, food technology, psychology, economics, religion, culture, and communication.

Nutrients, on the other hand, are chemical substances obtained from food and used in the body to provide energy, protection against diseases, and structural materials for the growth and maintenance of body tissues.

Some of the Nutrients our bodies require include;

  • carbohydrates
  • proteins
  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • fats

Diet, on the other hand, refers to whatever we eat or drink daily. Both the mental and physical health of our body greatly depends on what we eat. It is recommended that a person eats a balanced diet containing all the essential requirements.

Importance of Nutrition

Now that you know about what is nutrition, let us look at how important it is in our life. Nutrition is important in day-to-day life as it plays an important role in the growth and development of our body. Good nutrition can help to reduce the risk of some diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and osteoporosis. A healthy diet throughout life promotes healthy pregnancy outcomes. It also supports normal growth and development and also ageing.

What is nutrition 2021 - Good nutrition is essential for a healthy life
Photo by Alex Green from Pexels

Good nutrition helps to maintain a healthy body weight leading to overall health and well-being. It also plays an important role in immunity and immune functions. For bone and teeth health, it is evident that nutrition plays a role in strong bones and teeth. Nutrition also aids in the provision of energy in the body.

BMI and children

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. It is the cheapest method of screening for weight categories that may lead to a health problem. For children, BMI is age and sex-specific i.e. BMI-for-age. In children, a high amount of body fat can lead to weight-related diseases and other health issues being underweight can also put one at risk of health issues.

A high BMI can indicate high body fat. If a child has a high BMI for their age and sex, then a healthcare provider is required to further assessments that include; skinfold thickness measurements, evaluation of diet, physical activity, and family history. The following are the interpretations of a BMI percentile;

  • Underweight – less than the 5th percentile
  • Normal – 5th percentile to less than 85th percentile
  • Overweight – 85th to less than 95th percentile
  • Obese – equal to or greater than the 95th percentile

BMI weight obesity scale

In adults, we calculate the BMI of a person by using the below formula;

BMI = kg/m2


kg is a person’s weight in kilograms and m2 is their height in meters squared

A BMI of 25 and above is overweight, while a BMI between 18.5 – 24.9 is considered Healthy. A person with a BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight.

Use the BMI calculator below to calculate BMI for children and teens see the corresponding BMI-for-age percentile on a CDC BMI-for-age growth chart.

Body fat distribution and health risks

Body fat distribution is a predictor of health hazards of obesity in individuals with an upper-body fat pattern reflecting an excess of intra-abdominal or visceral fat. They have a significantly greater risk for diabetes, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, ischemic heart disease, some cancers, and even death from all causes. The effect of intra-abdominal fat appears to be separate from that of total body fat. Body fat distribution is measured or estimated using the following tests; anthropometry whereby a skinfold test and waist circumference is done, density is calculated and lastly, the conductivity test using a bioelectrical impedance is done.

Waist circumference and health risks

Waist circumference is important because if most fat is around your waist rather than at your hips, you are at a higher risk of health risk. The risk goes up with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. The health risks include hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Associated Nutritional health conditions

Taking to too many nutritional requirements can be bad, the same applies to taking fewer nutrients than required. This is called Malnutrition. Malnutrition can be categorized into two;


Refers to deficiency of one or more essential nutrients required by the body for normal functioning. It can occur due to insufficient accessibility to food or, poor absorption of food in diseases like Crohn’s Disease.

Over Nutrition

Refer to a condition where food intake exceeds dietary requirements. This can result in a person being overweight or, obese.

Some nutritional health conditions include;


This disease normally affects children and is caused by a child having a deficiency in Vitamin D or Calcium. Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for the formation of strong bones and teeth during a child’s development. In children with Rickets, the is a deformation of bones, especially bones of the leg.

Iron-deficiency Anemia.

This can be an inherited condition. It can also occur because of poor diet or even blood loss. Also, remember that an excessive amount of iron in the body will lead to Iron poisoning. This iron poisoning can occur in a condition called Hemochromatosis.

Read More on Iron Deficiency Anemia.


Marasmus is a form of malnutrition in which inadequate amounts of both protein and calories are consumed, resulting in low amounts of energy in the body. Most children with Marasmus have stunted growth, and this is because the body lacks essential proteins for growth and development.

Conditions that may occur due to overnutrition include;

    • Obesity
    • Hypertension
    • Cancer.
    • Type II Diabetes.
    • Cardiovascular disorders.

Essential nutrient requirements

The essential nutrient requirements include; carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Energy balance

Energy balance is when the change in energy stores equals food energy taken in minus energy spent on metabolism and muscle activities. It is important when you consume too much energy and burns too little, your body stores that excess energy as body fat.

The energy balance is composed of energy intake, energy expenditure, and energy storage. The body weight can change only when energy intake is not equal to energy expenditure over a given period of time. We take in energy in form of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.


Carbohydrates are the most abundant organic compounds in the universe. They are the ideal nutrients to meet the body’s energy needs, feeds the brain and nervous system, keep the digestive system fit and within the calorie limit, they help keep the body lean.

They consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atom. The digestible carbohydrates, together with fats and protein add bulk to food and provide energy and other benefits to food. Indigestible carbohydrates which include most of the fibres in foods yield little or no energy but provide important benefits to the body.

Carbohydrates are classified into two i.e. simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Sources of carbohydrates include; cereals, legumes, roots and tubers, fruits and vegetables, and added sugars in foods and drinks with empty calories.

Carbohydrates - essntial for good nutritionProteins

Proteins are chemical compounds that contain the same atoms as carbohydrates and lipids including carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen but including nitrogen atoms. Its building block is amino acids. Proteins are very important in tissue maintenance and growth, they constitute the chief solid matter of muscles, organs, and the endocrine gland.

protein rich foods

Proteins play a role in the formation of essential body-regulating compounds like hormones, haemoglobin, antitoxins, and enzymes. Helps in the regulation of fluid balance. Protein is also important in the maintenance of blood neutrality.

These Proteins also aid in the regulation of electrolyte balance. It is essential in the provision of a transport mechanism. Protein plays a role in antibody formation and the provision of energy. Sources of proteins include; animal sources e.g. fish, eggs, milk and milk products, and poultry from all kinds of animals. Plant sources e.g. nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Fats and oils

Fats are essential in the human body. The three elements that compose fats are; carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Fats perform various e.g. Nutrient fats provide essential fatty acids. Energy fats provide a concentrated energy source in foods. Transport fats carry fat-soluble vitamins.

Raw material fats provide raw materials for making needed products. Sensory appeal fats contribute to the taste and smell of foods. Appetite fats stimulate a person’s appetite. Satiety fats contribute to a feeling of fullness. Texture fats help to make food tender.


Vitamins are organic compounds that are present in foodstuffs in small amounts and are essential in the body for specific metabolic activities and are required in minute amounts. We can categorize Vitamins as fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. They also play various roles in our body like;

  • Formation of bones and teeth.
  • Protein synthesis and cell differentiation.
  • The antioxidant role.
  • Aid in normal growth and reproduction.

Fruits and Vegetable - a rich source of vitamins and irons

Sources of vitamins include fruits, and green leafy vegetables. The major role of vitamins is to help make possible processes by which other nutrients are digested, absorbed, and metabolized or built into body structures. Vitamins can be destroyed by light and heat during food preparation.

Also, Read

::::::::::::::::: >>> Vitamin Deficiency Anemia <<< ::::::::::::::::


Minerals are important in our diet and body. They account for 4% of body weight. We find minerals in all body fluids and tissues. They are inorganic and originate from the earth’s crust, not from plants and animals. They do not undergo digestion nor are they destroyed by heat and light during food preparation. Minerals are only lost when foods are lost in the water.

Minerals play important roles in our bodies. These roles include;

  • Forming structures of bones and teeth;
  • Maintenance of acid-base balance.
  • Serve as co-factors for many biological reactions.
  • They are components of essential body compounds.
  • Help in the maintenance of fluid balance.
  • Aid in the transmission of nerve impulses.
  • Assist in the regulation of muscle contraction.
  • Play a role in the growth of body tissues.

Sources of minerals include; dark green vegetables, legumes, kinds of seafood, nuts, cereals, and dairy products.


Water, next to oxygen is the body’s most urgent need. More essential to life than the food itself. A person can survive for weeks without food but only a few days without water. Sources of water include; drinking water, beverages, solid foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, and bread.

Water plays various functions in the human body, they include;

  • Acting as a solvent. water is a cell component.
  • water helps in temperature regulation.
  • Acts as a lubricant.
  • Also important because it acts as a chemical reactant.

As mentioned in the above points, water is a very important component of the human body. That is why we recommend that you should take at least 8 glasses of water every day.

Also, Read

:::::::::::::: >>> Dehydration <<< :::::::::::::::

Balanced diet

A balanced diet is a diet that contains different kinds of foods in certain quantities and proportions so that the requirement for calories, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and alternative nutrient is adequate and small provision is reserved for additional nutrients to endure that short length of leanness.

A healthful, balanced diet includes foods from the following food groups; vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, and dairy. A balanced diet is also known as a diversified diet, which is important in helping to maintain health and make a person feel well.

Healthy eating pyramid

The food pyramid translates the food guide into a graphic image. The broad base of the pyramid displays water followed by cereals; rice, pasta, bread, and other foods made from grains. It also includes the roots and tubers. Fruits and vegetables make the next layer.

Dairy products such as milk and yoghurt are included in the same tier as meat, poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts. The foods at the top of the pyramid include fats, oils, sugars, and sweets. we are should consume these products sparingly.

Healthy eating pyramid

Glycemic index

The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Foods low on the glycemic index scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily while foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly.

Low glycemic index foods tend to foster weight loss while foods high on the glycemic index scale help with energy recovery after exercise. It is important to always know the right kinds of food and their corresponding glycemic index for a healthier diet.

Also, Read

:::::::::::::: >>> How To Live a Healthy Lifestyle Easily <<< :::::::::::::::

Tips for healthy eating in Nutrition

The following are the recommended tips for healthy eating;

  1. Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
  2. Base meal on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice, or pasta.
  3. Have some dairy or dairy alternatives such as soya drinks.
  4. Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat, and other protein.
  5. Drink plenty of fluids.
  6. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar.
  7. Eat less salt.
  8. Get active and have a healthy weight.
  9. Do not skip breakfast.

Recommendation for good Nutritional Health

Engage in healthy eating habits and also exercise to remain healthy and fit. Nutrition is vital for the well-being of a person, therefore we should provide nutrition education for everyone to have a better knowledge of nutrition.

::::::::::::::::::: >>> Iron Deficiency Anemia <<< ::::::::::::::::::::

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