Headline You Make the Choice About Your Health

Eating Nutrients in the Right Amounts Will Keep You Healthy

by Andreanna Wright, age 12

Nutrition is important for all humans, but not many people consider it in their daily lives. Nutrition is the process of how we eat and how our bodies use food. We need food to provide our bodies energy so they can do their job.

Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals are important nutrients that help the body function. Carbohydrates provide energy so we can stay alert during the day. Small amounts of fats also provide energy. Proteins help rebuild and grow cells. Vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium and iron, help keep nerves, skin, bones and muscles in their best condition. Some scientists believe that vitamins A, C and E can protect against cancer. Consuming a variety of nutrients is crucial for the health of our bodies.

Both fiber and water are necessary to maintain our body’s basic functions. Fiber helps food move down the large intestines with ease. The fiber in fruits and vegetables can increase the food’s bulk and makes digestion easier. Water is essential to a human’s diet, making up 65 percent of our body. Cells need water to maintain chemical reactions. In fact, the human body needs about 2 liters of water per day.

Necessary calorie consumption varies by gender, age and activity level. On average, a man needs 2,700 calories per day, while a woman only needs 1,900 per day. A sixteen-year-old boy needs 3,200 calories per day and a girl of the same age needs 2,100 calories each day. The more activity performed, the more calories are needed.

Unfortunately, many people don’t consume enough nutrients, which results in malnutrition. This leads to weakness and disease. In developing countries, fifty-four percent of children under the age of five are affected by malnutrition, which is about 6.6 billion deaths a year.

There are different ways to get proper nutrition. You might be surprised to learn that in America much of the food we eat comes from South America, including corn, bananas and tomatoes. In hot countries like Australia people prepare raw vegetables in simple ways. In West Africa, meat, beans and nuts are blended into a stew called gumbo. A Japanese diet of raw fish and tofu is beneficial for long-term health.

Eating a healthy diet can benefit you in the long run. You will have more energy, healthier emotions and a longer life. You make the choice. You can change your life with better nutrition.

[Source: The Kingfisher Children’s Encyclopedia]