Poor nutrition is a worldwide problem. “Malnutrition has been dubbed the world's "silent emergency", a condition leading to death and disability on a vast scale, particularly among children and women of child-bearing age. Malnutrition destroys lives by compromising health, learning, productivity, curiosity, incentive and hope. Malnutrition engenders social and economic costs that cripple the development of individuals, communities and nations.” “One in every five children in the
developing world is malnourished and poor nutrition is linked to more than half of all child deaths worldwide. Early childhood malnutrition is considered one of the most prevalent risk factors for morbidity and mortality in children under five and may lead to cognitive and physical deficits later in life. The cycle continues as malnourished mothers give birth to low birth weight children who are more at risk for childhood disease and malnourishment.” According to the National Institute of Health the and the World Health Organization:
• Poor nutrition in early childhood may lead to cognitive defects and poor physical development
• Increase in susceptibility to and severity of infections
• One in every five children in the developing world is malnourished and poor nutrition is linked to more than half of all child deaths worldwide
• Healthy children learn better
• Healthy people are stronger, more productive, and better able to break cycles of poverty and realize their full potential
Food provides the energy and nutrients you need to be healthy. Nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Healthy eating is not hard. The key is to
- Eat a variety of foods, including vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products
- Eat lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and low-fat dairy products
- Drink lots of water
- Limit salt, sugar, alcohol, saturated fat, and trans fat in your diet
Simple carbohydrates: These are also called simple sugars. Simple sugars are found in refined sugars, like the white sugar you'd find in a sugar bowl. If you have a lollipop, you're eating simple carbs. But you'll also find simple sugars in more nutritious foods, such as fruit and milk. It's better to get your simple sugars from food like fruit and milk. Why? Because sugar isn't added to these foods and they also contain vitamins, fiber, and important nutrients like calcium. A lollipop has lots of added sugar and doesn't contain important nutrients.
Complex carbohydrates: These are also called starches. Starches include grain products, such as bread, crackers, pasta, and rice. As with simple sugars, some complex carbohydrate foods are better choices than others. Refined grains, such as white flour and white rice, have been processed, which removes nutrients and fiber. But unrefined grains still contain these vitamins and minerals. Unrefined grains also are rich in fiber, which helps your digestive system work well. Fiber helps you feel full, so you are less likely to overeat these foods. That explains why a bowl of oatmeal fills you up better than sugary candy with the same amount of calories as the oatmeal.
All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods Group. Beans and peas are also part of the Vegetable Group. Select a variety of protein foods to improve nutrient intake and health benefits, including at least 8 ounces of cooked seafood per week. Young children need less, depending on their age and calorie needs. The advice to consume seafood does not apply to vegetarians. Vegetarian options in the Protein Foods Group include beans and peas, processed soy products, and nuts and seeds. Meat and poultry choices should be lean or low-fat
Fat is a type of nutrient. You need some fat in your diet but not too much. Fats give you energy and help your body absorb vitamins. Dietary fat also plays a major role in your cholesterol levels.
But not all fats are the same. You should try to avoid
Vitamins are organic substances (made by plants or animals), minerals are inorganic elements that come from the earth; soil and water and are absorbed by plants. Animals and humans absorb minerals from the plants they eat. Vitamins and minerals are nutrients that your body needs to grow and develop normally. Vitamins and minerals, have a unique role to play in maintaining your health. For example Vitamin D helps your body absorb the amount of calcium (a mineral) it needs to form strong bones. A deficiency in vitamin D can result in a disease called rickets (softening of the bones caused by the bodies inability to absorb the mineral calcium.) The body cannot produce calcium; therefore, it must be absorbed through our food. Other minerals like chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc are called trace minerals because you only need very small amounts of them each day. The best way to get enough vitamins is to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods. You can usually get all your vitamins from the foods you eat.
Minerals are important for your body to stay healthy. Your body uses minerals for many different jobs, including building bones, making hormones and regulating your heartbeat. There are two kinds of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals are minerals your body needs in larger amounts. They include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur. Your body needs just small amounts of trace minerals. These include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium. The best way to get the minerals your body needs is by eating a wide variety of foods. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a mineral supplement.
Minerals we need to be healthy: