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How Good Nutrition Can Impact Overall Health

How Good Nutrition Can Impact Overall Health

We have all heard the saying “You are what you eat.” However, many of us do not realize the impact of nutrition on health.

Food possesses nutrients that help our bodies function. Nutrients in food are nourishing substances that are crucial to the maintenance of our body’s development, and growth. Therefore, when our body lacks or does not have nutrients, our health can decline.

Read on to learn more about the impact of nutrition on health.

Understanding The Impact of Nutrition on Health

If a person does not get an adequate amount of nutrients from their diet, their body’s metabolic processes can stop or slow down.

We can think of nutrients as information or instructions for our bodies. Without instructions or information, our bodies will not be able to function properly.

It would be best if we think of food this way, instead of focusing on how many grams or calories we are consuming.

That way, we can focus on choosing the right kind of food that we should include in our diets, rather than the ones that we should exclude. Remember, food is not the enemy.

The nutrients that we get from certain foods can help reduce disease and boost our health.

The Impact of Nutrition on Health: Malnutrition in Developing Countries

In developing countries, it can be difficult for many people to get the nutrients that they need. Infectious disease is prevalent in developing countries, and a massive part of that is due to malnourishment.

However, people in developed countries may also experience malnourishment. Many people often go for convenience rather than choosing a healthy diet. That is why many people tend to favor instant meals and fast food over healthy foods because they are satisfying and quick.

A study shows that an Americans’ calorie intake was at around 3,600 calories a day. Despite the large number of calories that Americans consume, much of the food that they eat is high in sodium and fat, rather than other healthy nutrients.

Another significant reason why people are not getting enough nutrients in developed countries is because of fads. The impact of nutrition on health by gender is explored in numerous research.

A study shows that young women who try out fad diets lack copper and potassium. These results were a cause of concern, because those vitamins and minerals help prevent chronic conditions and keep our bodies healthy.

The risks of poor diet and nutrition

What further emphasizes the impact of nutrition on health is how one’s diet is partially responsible for about 30-40% of all kinds of cancer. While nutrition is not a cure nor a direct cause of cancer, it still plays a significant role.

The impact of nutrition on health can also be seen in how it affects children. If children do not receive adequate nutrition. they will not reach their optimal weight and height. Along with that, they may suffer from symptoms of malnourishment and other conditions.

Additionally, a poor diet can make people overweight or obese, especially if they are consuming a diet high in processed foods. However, weight gain is not the only problem.

Obesity and being overweight have been linked to many conditions and illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease, among others.

What happens when your body lacks a nutrient?

When we do not consume the daily dietary requirements of our body, this compromises the ability of our body to function.

Lack of protein

Your body can also suffer because of a lack of protein. If you do not eat the right kind of proteins or do not consume enough proteins, you can develop liver problems, experience a decline in energy, weaken your immune system, and see atrophy of the muscle.

Tooth decay

We cannot ignore the effects of diet on our teeth as well. When you eat a diet high in sugar, it can easily lead to tooth decay. The sugars and acidic components of food may weaken your teeth, especially if you do not practice proper oral hygiene. Additionally, a diet that lacks some nutrients can lead to gum disease and can make it hard for you to fight off or resist infection.

Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin deficiency is also becoming a larger problem for many people all over the world. For instance, a common vitamin people lack is vitamin D. A lack of vitamin D can lead to falls in the elderly, diabetes, infections, certain kinds of cancers, and immune system disorders, among others.

Lack of calcium

Another common nutrient that many people lack is calcium. Calcium is an abundant mineral in our bodies and is crucial for vital tasks, such as hormone secretion and muscle function. A lack of calcium can lead to hypocalcemia, osteoporosis, dental changes, etc.

Physical decline

Other than diseases, a nutritional deficiency can have a huge impact on the quality of life of a person and the way their body looks. For instance, if you lack folate, vitamin C, and iron, you may have brittle and dry hair. You can feel tired because you lack iron, and have spoon-shaped or ridged nails from low levels of calcium, protein, vitamin A, etc.

Additionally, lacking certain nutrients, especially vitamins, can impair cognition. Although the results of this study are still uncertain because the study was done on animals. However, one example is that nutrient deficiency can make a person feel tired and sleepiness can affect cognition.

How can I get more nutrients?

The simplest way to make sure that you get more nutrients is by making sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

This includes making sure you eat enough food from the five food groups every day. It would be best if you try to cook as many healthy meals as you can, rather than eat processed food, which are packed with preservatives. And it would also be ideal to consume salty, fatty, and sugary food in smaller amounts.

It would also be wise to consult a doctor before taking any supplements. Some supplements can have side effects, and you may not need them if you eat a balanced diet. A doctor will be able to assess your health and can determine whether you need to take supplements.

We should always prioritize our health, and make better decisions to keep our bodies performing at the optimal level. Learning more about nutrition and the impact of nutrition on our health can help us live more fulfilling lives.

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Sources

Malnutrition and Health in Developing Countries https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1180662/ 15 May 2020

Younger women not getting enough nutrients, survey warns https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/younger-women-not-getting-enough-nutrients-survey-warns/ 15 May 2020

Food Supply https://ourworldindata.org/food-supply#the-global-perspective-on-caloric-supply 15 March 2020

Nutrition and Breast Cancer Risk Reduction https://www.breastcancer.org/tips/nutrition/reduce_risk 15 May 2020

Health Risks of Being Overweight https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-risks-overweight 15 May 2020

Diet for Healthy Teeth https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diet-and-dental-health 15 May 2020

Cognitive Effects of Nutritional Deficiency https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3913300 15 May 2020

Should You Take Dietary Supplements? https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/08/should-you-take-dietary-supplements 15 May 2020

Nutritional Status and Food Safety http://www.fao.org/elearning/course/FN/EN/pdf/trainerresources/learnernotes0280.pdf 15 May 2020


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Written by Tracey Romero on May 05, 2020
Medically reviewed by Marie Bianca Angelica Tech, M.D.
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