Hey guys, I know I have been slack… with everything, I have been home over a month and still no pictures of China, Paris, Spain or Portugal. But just keep waiting becasue I swear I will get to it. But for the mean time, I have got a little vent about why Nutrition is important.
“Optimum nutrition is needed for optimum health”
Nutrition is vital to keep a person healthy, balancing the amount of food consumed and the nutritional value combined with an active lifestyle. Nutritional needs change as a person ages and their body changes. Nutrition is vital to obtaining and maintaining health. Nutrients provide energy for the body, these three energy providers are Fats, Carbohydrates and Proteins. Good nutrition in early years of development prevents illnesses such as: rickets and other diseases associated with mal nutrition. “…Our diet plays a key role in realizing our full genetic potential” Morgan and Bird 2003.
A persons food choices can reflect identity. The traditional diets of those who follow the Jewish and Muslim faith are based on the appropriate hygiene practices of food handling at the time of their creation and the Buddhist Faith is mainly vegetarian. The followers have learnt the mixing and matching of foods in order to order to achieve a balanced diet over time, and this is handed down from generation to generation. So when someone simply decides to become a vegan or vegetarian without doing any research on where to source the nutrients from it is likely they will end up malnourished and deficient in vital vitamins and minerals in a vain attempt to improve their health.
The same for people all over the world who have no special dietary requirements and simply rely on the local ‘chippy’ or other fast food joint to obtain their meals from. This mal nourishment is unintentional and due to lack of education. Education needs to be the first port of call in this aspect, teaching people who are struggling to make appropriate nutritional food choices. According to Wojcicki& Heyman, 2012, “Evidence suggests that knowledge of the Dietary Guidelines … has been associated with increased likelihood of meeting dietary guidelines for dairy, protein, and intakes of fruits and vegetables” which would lead to an overall better health.
The relationship between nutrition and beneficial outcomes in pediatrics can be seen through the nutritional value of breast milk. Breast milk allows infants to grow and develop normally, compared to formula, which is developed to come as close to breast milk as technology can allow, but many nutrients are either lacking or in such low doses. The majority of infants are formula fed, Center for Disease Control National Immunization Survey, 2009.
A study by Andres, Badger and Pivik in 2011 was on the brain responses in relation to speech in infants receiving breast milk and milk formula for the first 6 months of life, it was done to show diet related differences in stimuli process (the differentiation of speech sounds). It wasn’t until the infants were 6months old that the differences were region specific (of the brain), while breast fed infants could differentiate at temporal sites, but not by formula fed infants.
An article on the benefits and risks of vegetarianism in infants written by De Bruyne,Van Winckel, Vande Velde and Van Biervliet, shows that a vegetarian diet at a young age is achievable as long as parents and caregivers are knowledgeable otherwise the infant could be at a high risk of being mal nourished and deficient, especially in calcium and B12. “The more restricted the diet and the younger the child, the greater the risk for deficiencies” Danner and Kirby, 2009.
Today, mal nutrition, which used to be considered only in third world countries is constantly being found in western societies in the form of chronic illnesses due to our consumption of food like product. With statistics from the American Statistical Association, diet related health problems now being one of the leading causes of death in Western Society, with heart disease at the top. Optimum health is what we all strive for, but usually it takes a wakeup call, like a health scare, to remind us that our health is the only thing we really have, and in so many cases the change of diet could halt the progression of some diseases and in some cases make people pain free or put their disease in recession.
While in Medicine and Health Science circles it is common knowledge that in order to obtain optimum health we first need the best nutrition available to us, In a holistic approach, the best way to help your body ‘cure’ or repair itself is to give it the best available resources. This starts with nutrition, while the message is spreading there is still a lot of uneducated people who are under the impression that their recommended nutritional intake can be obtained from a fast food place. As the shift comes in and changes the mind set of people all over the world, a lot of illnesses that are diet related will have their progression halted.
Diet always is the best source of vitamins and minerals, supplements are a foot hold for those suffering from an inability to absorb or have adequate intake. The use of supplements in the elderly can be beneficial as the body may not be as good as it used to in extracting nutrients from food, and as the desire for food lessens it can be considered as a good alternative to the inadequate amount of nutrients consumed. While supplements are advertised on tv adverts and magazines like they are vital to our health, this is not always the case as they are exactly what they say they are, Supplements. They only assist in what we already consume. They can range in assisting athletes in the form of protein and supplements to ‘ensure a better after work out recovery’ to a multi-vitamin that a sufferer of osteoporosis takes daily.
Nutrition is key to achieving better health as through optimal diet optimal health is best achieved. Appropriate nutrition needs to be considered through the entire lifetime, being deficient in only one thing can sometimes cause detrimental effects on the health of an individual. Through education, people from all around the world can start to make better choices and make the shift away from the food like product of over processed foods and towards a healthier alternative. Diet can be a key factor in recovering from an illness, not to mention stopping it’s progression and in some cases, reversing the symptoms. When diet falls short, supplements can be used alongside to allow an individual to get back on their feet before altering their diet to include an appropriate intake of all nutrients.
Andres, A, Badger, T & Pivik, R, 2011, ‘Diet and gender influences on processing and discrimination of speech sounds in 3- and 6-month-old infants: a developmental ERP study’, Developmental Science, 14, 4, pp. 700-712, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost. Viewed the 25th of August 2013.
Bird, S and Morgan, P, 2003, ‘Optimum nutrition for optimum health: the Rowett Research Institute’, Nutrition Bulletin, 28, 1, pp. 39-42, CINAHL Plus with Full Text, EBSCOhost. Viewed the 25th of August 2013.
Danner, E and Kirby, M 2009, “Nutritional deficiencies in children on restricted diets”. Pediatric Clinics of North America, Volume 56, Issue 5, Pages 1085-1103, Published the 3rd of October 2009. Viewed the 27th of August 2013
Heyman, M and Wojcicki, J 2012, ‘Adolescent nutritional awareness and use of food labels: results from the National Nutrition Health and Examination Survey’, BMC Pediatrics, 12, p. 55, MEDLINE Complete, EBSCOhost. Viewed the 24th of August 2013
Van Winckel, M, Vande Velde, S, De Bruyne, R, & Van Biervliet, S 2011, ‘Clinical practice: vegetarian infant and child nutrition’, European Journal Of Pediatrics, 170, 12, pp. 1489-1494, MEDLINE Complete, EBSCOhost. Viewed the 24 of August 2013.