A balanced diet containing the right proportion of fruits, veggies, seeds, meat, and nuts is necessary for your overall well-being. After all, these are the food groups that have all the seven nutrients that enhance and support your mental and physical health. With that being said, let’s take a closer look today at the types of nutrition your body needs and why.
What exactly does nutrition mean?
Nutrition refers to the physiological procedure of getting energy from the food sources for metabolic and growth activities. Your body begins to absorb the nutrients when the digestion starts. Generally, nutrients are divided into two main categories, i.e., macronutrients and micronutrients.
Micronutrients include vitamins, iron, calcium, etc. Such nutrients tend to include components necessary for the metabolic acts of the body. These also help to build and repair the damaged tissues for supporting the organs. On the other hand, macronutrients are the main source of energy in the body that is produced through the breakdown of food items. Some examples of macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Technically, your body has the capacity to produce most nutrients. However, your body is not able to produce the fat-soluble compounds, such as vitamin E, which act as antioxidants. Thus, you need to have sufficient fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamin E to fill up the requirement.
In order to understand the idea of nutrients better, you need to know about the types of nutrition first. As such, the types of nutrition can be separated into two groups, i.e., heterotrophic and autotrophic.
Difference between heterotrophic and autotrophic nutrition
‘Autotrophic’ is a term that is a combination of two words, ‘auto’ which means self and ‘trophic’ which means nutrition. The organisms that fall under this particular category have a green pigment known as chlorophyll that traps energy derived from the sunlight.
In this procedure, an organism prepares their food from the inorganic minerals, such as mineral salts, water, carbon dioxide, etc. Trees and plants can break this food down into glucose to grow and survive. This overall procedure is known as photosynthesis.
Also, Chemotrophic nutrition is a part of this mode of nutrition where the organisms synthesize organic food through chemical reaction. They rely on substrates like nitrate, iron, hydrogen sulfate, etc. to break the food down. Sulfur bacteria and nitrobacter are two chief examples of chemoautotrophs.
A heterotrophic organism is unable to independently produce food and depends on plants and animals for the food source. This particular group can be divided into three sections based on the mode of feeding and the choice of foods.
The organisms in this particular category feed on animals and plants to absorb the required nutrition. Coprophagous, herbivorous, omnivorous, and carnivorous are a few subcategories of holozoic nutrition.
In this case, two or more organisms can depend on one another for food. Mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism come under this mode of nutrition.
Such organisms depend on the decaying and dead matter. Earthworms, fungi, bacteria, etc., follow this nutrition mode.
As humans follow the heterotrophic mode of nutrition, they are dependent on meat, vegetables, and fruits to get the required nutrients. It is the prime reason why dieticians suggest taking nutritious meals.
Types of nutrition needed by humans
Given below is a complete list of the seven vital nutrients that are crucial for the health and wellness of humans. Read the following nutrition facts and make sure you take them into account in your meal planning.
Carbohydrates are also called saccharides or carbs. They are differentiated further based on the total number of monomers they contain, such as polysaccharides, monosaccharides, or disaccharides. Foods like grain-based items, bread, noodles, and rice are full of carbs.
Human body is able to break down the carbohydrates into glucose that supports body and brain function. Also, it helps to prevent the loss of muscle mass simply by keeping the body from turning protein into energy. Thus, eating complex carbs help you stay full for a long time and control body weight.
Proteins are the group of molecules that create amino acids. This type of nutrition helps in creating hormones and enzymes and ensures muscle formation. Out of the twenty amino acids found in body protein, ten are absorbed from your daily diet.
Your body requires amino acids to repair damaged tissues and produce newer proteins. Protein requirements can be fulfilled through the inclusion of different foods in the diet, such as beans, nuts, dairy, red meat, and eggs.
Fats are necessary to supply energy and ensure cell growth. Your body needs fats to absorb the vitamins. Also, you need healthy fats from your daily diet to protect organ damage. They are known to control the bodily temperature and energy.
Typically, food items contain two main types of fats – unsaturated and saturated. You can consume food items with lower quantities of saturated fats, such as chocolate, coconut oil, cheese, seafood, and butter. Natural sources of unsaturated fats are avocados, nuts, and salmon.
To balance health and nutrition, the human body requires two litres of water each day. It helps to form the digestive juices, and acts as the basis of sweat, urine, and blood. Along with that, water is necessary to moderate body temperature, maintain tissue health, lubricate joints, reduce the risks of cystitis, and keep the bladders free from bacteria.
Minerals are the essential micronutrients that are helpful in building stronger bones and maintaining heart health. Calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, magnesium, chloride, and sodium are the minerals necessary for a healthy body.
Fibers are a type of polysaccharide or carbohydrate that helps in proper digestion. But the human body does not get any calories or nutrients from the fibers. But it helps to remove toxic waste from the digestive tract.
Furthermore, it helps to regulate bowel movements and eliminates cancer risk from the body. Vegetables, nuts, bran, wheat, and wholemeal bread are a few examples of fiber-rich foods.
Vitamins are the essential nutrients that your body requires in smaller amounts. The human body is unable to produce vitamins. Thus, your diet is the only source of vitamins for your body.
Vitamins can be classified further into two types – fat-soluble and water-soluble. Examples of fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin K, E, A, and D that easily move through the kidneys and get excreted. Then, there are water-soluble vitamins like thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, B12, and C, riboflavin, and folate that are stored in the cells.
Healthy sources of essential nutrients
Understanding different types of nutrition is only the beginning. You also need to know about the types of fruits and veggies that have those nutrients in order to plan a balanced meal. So, here’s giving you some examples in that regard:
- Green leafy vegetables,
- seeds, and
- Fortified cereals,
- egg yolk,
- seeds and nuts, etc.
- lentils, and
- Millets, and
- rice, and
- whole grain, etc.
- Different nuts
A change in daily diet to make it more nutritious can go a long way in keeping you physically and mentally fit for a long time. So, are you ready to make that change?