Nutrition is a part of science that studies, as well as analyzes and interprets, the relational effect of nutrient in food and other food substances to the growth, life and health maintenance, reproduction, and diseases of people and also of living organisms. Food digestion, absorption and assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion are processes that are taken up also in nutrition.
The food intake or diet of a person represents the kinds of food he/she eats, and which is determined by the availability of the food, how the food was processed or prepared, and how good the food was. A healthy diet involves the food preparation and methods of storage, which both are instrumental processes in preserving the food nutrients from oxidation, heat or leaching, as well as from the risk of food poisoning. Nutrients are composed of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and amino acids, and vitamins, as well as water, oxygen, and minerals.
It has been studied and observed that our dietary needs change as we age and this occurrence will continue through all the stages in life; therefore, the food nutrients will also be affected such that they undergo a relational adjustment as we grow older. The dietary changes are not only due to our changing age but can be due to economic, psychological, and social factors.
Good and proper nutrition starts at the first six months of an infant, wherein nutritionists highly recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies with their breast milk since it is full of nutrients and antibodies which the babies need. The feeding of solid food takes place, normally after six months, combined with breast milk.
The dietary nutrition for the pre-school age group considers the following food combination – carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, milk and dairy foods, protein and good quality fats, as well as vitamins A, C, calcium, iron and zinc.
When the child reaches school age, which stretches to puberty, proportions of the nutritional requirements according to their age and physical, mental and social activities will now vary, such that it is imperative that a healthy balance of food nutrients be afforded to ensure a healthy lifestyle. What is recommended for this age group is a proportional balanced diet of complete nutrients, including calcium, iron and protein with vitamin supplements, and must be found in any of the three meals each day – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
As we enter adulthood, the majority of our body’s growth and development will be over and the gradual slowing down requires a shift more on adult nutrition to maintain a physically active life. The dosage of food intake, at this age level, should be limited into individual portions but not forgetting to still have three meals a day and that snacking should be choosing healthier options, like whole grain toast, fruits. Because the meal portions, at this age level, are eaten in smaller portions, it is suggested that large meals be cooked so that the rest of the food can be frozen and re-heat for the next meal.
It is indeed constraining when we reach the elderly stage as continued changes in our bodies are happening, slowing down are appetite for food and limiting our mobility, and, with that, the buying and preparing of good food is also restricted. What is suggested, when this situation happens, is to buy pre-cooked meals, which are nutritionally balanced, which can be frozen for a longer period of time, so that small portions can be heated as the need arises.
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