A Comprehensive Guide To Nutrition And Its Growing Importance

The meaning of nutrition is simple. It is the process of studying the nutrients present in food, how the human body utilizes them, and the interrelation between health, diet, and disease. 

Nutritionists take ideas from genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology to know all about nutrition and its impact on the human body. 

Nutrition also means the way individuals reduce the risk of diseases with dietary choices, how allergies work, and the consequences of taking an extra or negligible amount of nutrients, which is the ultimate source of nourishment in the body. 

Carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fat, fiber, minerals, and water are all part of a healthy nutrition diet. An imbalance of nutrients in the diet will increase the risk of certain health conditions in the person’s body. 

This article shares valuable insight on the types of nutrients an individual needs and why. It also specifies the role of the nutritionist and the dietitian. 


Macronutrients are the type of nutrients required in larger quantities by your body.



There are three types of carbohydrates: fiber, starch, and sugar. Among these, sugars are considered simple carbs. The human body rapidly breaks down sugars and absorbs them to process starch. 


Although they make people quickly energized, they won’t fulfill their appetite. Plus, they can also cause an uplift in blood sugar levels and increase the chances of having type 2 diabetes. 


Fiber, which is also a type of carbohydrate, is of great health benefit. Some fiber types are broken down to be used for energy, others pass through the body, and a few others get metabolized by gut bacteria. 


You must’ve heard about the term “complex carbs,” right? These are nothing but unprocessed starch and fiber. The human body usually needs some time to tear down complex carbs and absorb them. 


An average person usually feels full or meets their appetite for a long time after eating a fiber-rich meal. Fiber is also beneficial in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. 


And if it comes to comparison, complex carbs will always be a healthier and better choice than refined carbs and sugars. 



Proteins are full of amino acids, which are naturally-occurring organic compounds. 


In general, 20 amino acids are out there, comprising some essential ones that people need to procure from food. The human body can take care of producing the rest of the amino acids. 


Some food ensures all the protein, which implies that they comprise every essential amino acid required by your body. 


Typically, most plant-based diet options lack complete protein, so an individual following a vegan diet must eat a wide variety of food items in a day to fulfill their daily need for essential amino acids. 



Fats are crucial for: 


  • Helping organs boost hormone production
  • Reducing inflammation 
  • Enhancing brain health
  • Lubricating joints 
  • Enabling the body to absorb some vitamins


Excess fat in the body can result in liver disease, high cholesterol, obesity, and other health issues. However, the type of fat consumed by the individual makes a difference. Unsaturated fats like avocados are healthier than saturated fats like cakes and sausages derived from animals. 



An adult human body comprises about 60% of water, and the body requires water for several of its bodily functions. However, it’s essential to know that water is calorie-free and doesn’t provide energy. 


Several experts recommend intaking at least eight glasses or 2 liters of water a day. However, you also get water indirectly from dietary sources like vegetables and fruits. A properly hydrated body will excrete pale yellow urine. 


However, an individual’s daily water requirement also depends on their health status, activity involvements, body age and size, environmental factors, etc. 


Micronutrients are types of nutrients required in smaller amounts by the body. They typically comprise vitamins and minerals. Several food products, such as fortified cereals and rice, now come with these health nutritions.



Oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon are essential for the human body. Also, dietary minerals like potassium, iron, and others play a crucial role in regulating your bodily functions. Primarily, an individual can get their much-needed minerals from a diverse and balanced diet. 


So, to sum it up, the essential minerals required by your body are: 


  • Potassium: It is an electrolyte that ensures smooth and proper functioning of the heart, muscles, and kidneys. Individuals with kidney disease shouldn’t consume too much of this mineral. Food like lentils, beans, dried fruit, coconut water, avocados, and bananas are good sources of potassium.


  • Sodium: It is yet another electrolyte that helps regulate the body’s fluidity while maintaining muscle and nerve function. Too much sodium intake can result in fatigue, lethargy, and confusion, whereas excess sodium can lead to stroke. Table salt is a good source of sodium for the body. 


  • Calcium: It is essential to produce bones and teeth. Plus, it aids in improving the cardiovascular system and supports the body’s nervous system. Remember that excess calcium consumption can result in kidney stones, constipation, and a reduced absorption rate of other nutrients. Green leafy vegetables, legumes, tofu, and dairy products are good sources of calcium. 


  • Phosphorus: This mineral can be found in almost all body cells, and it promotes the health and wellness of the bones and teeth. Although an excess of phosphorus in the body won’t cause any problem, having a low amount of phosphorus can result in reduced appetite, bone disease, and other issues. Cashews, lentils, salmon, and dairy products are good sources of phosphorus. 


  • Magnesium: It plays a crucial role in improving muscle and nerve functioning of the body. It lets you regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure while enabling the body to produce DNA, bones, and proteins. Excess intake of magnesium through diet can lead to digestive and heart problems. Beans, spinach, and nuts are good sources of magnesium for the body. 


  • Zinc: It plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall health of the immune system, the body cells, the creation of proteins, and wound healing. Excess zinc intake can result in headaches and digestive problems, whereas low intake can lead to hair loss, diarrhea, and skin sores. Baked beans, fortified breakfast cereals, beef, and oysters are some good dietary sources of zinc. 


  • Iron: Iron is exceptionally crucial for forming red blood cells in the body. It also plays a key role in creating hormones and forming connective tissues. About 8 mg of iron is good enough for an adult in a day. Tofu, spinach, lentils, beef liver, and fortified cereals are some excellent sources of iron. 


  • Manganese: This mineral plays a key role in blood clotting, supporting immunity, and producing energy in the body. A female adult needs about 1.8mg of manganese a day, whereas a male adult needs 2.3mg. Spinach, chickpeas, brown rice, hazelnuts, and mussels are some great sources of manganese. 


Now, the remaining two crucial minerals are: 


  • Copper: Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, mushrooms, potatoes, oysters, and beef liver are some great sources of copper. 


  • Selenium: The best dietary source of selenium is Brazil nuts. Other excellent dietary sources include macaroni, ham, tuna, baked beans, oatmeal, and spinach. 



Every human body requires a smaller amount of each type of vitamin. Some of these vitamins, like vitamin C, are rich in antioxidants. They get rid of the toxic molecules from your body and protect your cells from any adverse impact. Vitamins are of two types: 


  • Water-soluble vitamins: It comprises vitamin C and the eight B vitamins.
  • Fat-soluble vitamins: It contains vitamins A, E, K, and D. 

Water-Soluble Vitamins 


Individuals must intake water-soluble vitamins daily as their body eliminates them rapidly while being incapable of storing them efficiently. 



Impact of Low Consumption

Impact of Excessive Consumption

Dietary Sources 

B-1 or Thiamin

The body excretes it via urine

Beriberi, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

Black beans, trout, pork, and fortified rice and cereals

B-2 or Riboflavin 

The body excretes it via urine

Swelling in the throat and mouth, skin disorders, hormonal problems 

Almonds, mushroom, yogurt, oats, breakfast cereal, beef liver

B-3 or Niacin

Dizziness, itching, burning, rashes, headaches, facial flushing

Pellagra, including neurological and digestive symptoms, red tongue, and skin changes

Fortified cereals, peanuts, brown rice, chicken breast, beef liver

B-5 or Pantothenic Acid

Digestive problems

Stomach pain, fatigue, burning and numb sensation in hands and feet

Sunflower seeds, mushroom, beef liver, breakfast cereal


Loss of muscle control, nerve damage

Swollen tongue, skin changes, itchy rashes, anemia

Potatoes, fortified cereals, chicken breast, beef liver, tuna, chickpeas

B-7 or Biotin


Hair loss, conjunctivitis, rashes around the eyes

Sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, salmon, egg, beef liver

B-9 or Folic Acid 

May increase the risk of cancer

Fatigue, weakness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath

Fortified cereal, asparagus, black-eyed seeds, beef liver


No adverse impact

Fatigue, weight loss, constipation, anemia

Plant milk, breakfast cereals, fortified yeast, oily fish, beef liver

Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid

Stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea

Scurvy, including poor wound healing ability, skin rash, and fatigue

Berries, broccoli, citrus fruits, fortified juices, baked potatoes

Fat-Soluble Vitamins 


The human body uses fats (lipids) to absorb fat-soluble vitamins via the intestines. The body stores them properly and doesn’t let go of them quickly. 


If the individual follows a low-fat diet, they won’t be able to absorb much of these vitamins. If your body produces an excess of these vitamins, problems may occur. 



Impact of Low Consumption

Impact of Excessive Consumption

Dietary Sources 

Vitamin A or Retinoids

Night blindness 

Orange pigmented skin color, joint and bone pain, skin irritation, dizziness, nausea, pressure on the brain

Dark leafy vegetables like spinach, beef liver, sweet potato, carrots

Vitamin D

Weak bones and poor bone formation

Damage to kidneys and cardiovascular system, changes in heart rhythm, weight loss, anorexia

Fortified juices, dairy products, oily fish, cod liver oil

Vitamin E

Retinopathy, peripheral neuropathy, reduce immune system

The blood may lose its ability to clot

Spinach, sunflower oil, seeds, nuts, wheatgerm

Vitamin K

Hemorrhaging and bleeding

Although no adverse impacts, it can interact with drugs like blood thinners

Natto, soybeans, green leafy vegetables 


Nowadays, multivitamin tablets, syrups, or capsules are widely available online or in physical stores. However, it’s recommended to consult a doctor before taking such supplements to check whether their body is right suited for them or not. 



Some human nutrients act as antioxidants. This nutrition can come from proteins, minerals, vitamins, or other molecular types. They enable the body to remove free radicals (toxic substances). Intaking an excess of these substances in the body can result in cell damage and disease. These are healthful foods that can boost your immunity, combat diseases, and help you live a better life. 

Nutritionist Vs. Dietitian

A registered dietitian (RD or RDN) is someone with vast knowledge and expertise in food, dietetics, and nutrition. 


To become a successful, certified dietitian, individuals must enroll themselves in an accredited university, follow a recognized curriculum, finish an internship, pass an exam, and finish 75 hours or more of education every five years. 


Today, dietitians can be found in multiple sectors, including public and private healthcare, the food industry, research, corporate wellness, and education. 


On the other hand, a nutritionist is someone who learns all about nutrition through formal education or self-study. However, they don’t meet the necessary certification to use the titles RD or RDN. Nutritionists play a key role in helping food science and technology and the food industry. 



The study of food and knowing the impacts of food on the body is what nutrition is all about. To intake various nutrients, it’s crucial to follow a diverse yet balanced diet. Several individuals get to indulge in a particular diet, in which they prioritize some foods and avoid others. 


Individuals who do this must plan their diet correctly to ensure they get all the required nutrients to maintain a healthy body. A person can get the most out of a diet rich in plant-based food products and has limited amounts of processed foods, animal fats, sugar, and salt. 

With this article, you must’ve known the importance of nutrition for your overall health. So, if you worry about your nutrition intake, consult a registered dietitian today.


Zandu Ayurvedic Team

Zandu Ayurvedic Team has a panel of over 10 BAMS (Ayurvedacharya), boasting a collective experience of over 50 years. With a deep-rooted understanding of Ayurveda, they are committed to sharing their expertise & knowledge through our blogs.
We use all kinds of Ayurvedic references in our content. Please use the contact form for any editorial queries.

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