Nutrition – What are the Nutritional Needs?
Nutrition as it applies to our daily lives means that we take in what we need to maintain our body’s healthy state. Nutrition has become an important word thanks to the involvement of the USDA in our daily food requirements, and the FDA’s involvement in determining what is and is not dangerous for us to consume. But what is our responsibility in the nutrition game? Do we understand what our nutritional requirements are, how to fulfill those requirements, and how to look for real nutritional value in our foods? I’m not sure that nutrition has been successfully addressed in its own right. We hear nutrition in relation to our vitamin intake, our fortified cereals and milk, and in the context that we need “nutritional value” from our food choices. But what really is nutrition when applied to our daily bodily functions? Today, we must determine how much nourishment we need, how much physical exercise we need, and how best to accomplish those ends. Calorie needs, nutritional needs, physical needs, and education about those needs now is information we should all understand, at least as it applies to our individual self.
If you will visit your local doctor, library, or fitness center, there is massive amounts of information available to help educate and to help you make good health choices, no matter what the age group. Nutrition refers to the nurturing of our body, in our ability to keep it healthy and functioning as it is supposed to do. Our ability to provide the body with all it’s necessary food, vitamins, and minerals so that we continue to thrive in our daily life processes. If you were to take a cross section of the population, and check for adequate levels of the most used and fortified vitamins and minerals, you would probably find that as high as 80% or the population is lacking in a least one of the vitamins and minerals. Now, that doesn’t sound too bad, until you stop to think, what if it’s calcium? A calcium deficiency brings on osteoporosis, a deteriorating of the bone.
This disease alone costs millions in medical expense to the population. Can you see how a little more cooperation and open-minded participation on the part of our medical field could result in far fewer health problems? It would also have provided the general population with a viable way to discern their nutrition, vitamin and mineral needs, accurately. So how do we determine that we are providing the essential nutritional needs? That knowledge comes by educating ourselves about what our individual needs are, the needs of our family, and then taking that knowledge and applying it to the foods we buy, that we prepare, and that our families consume. Quite often, our vitamin and mineral needs outweigh our caloric needs. In those instances, we turn to manufactured vitamins and minerals to fill the gap. This is a part of our nutritional needs, also. Nutrition is one of the most complex areas to gain useful knowledge about, because there are so many components, and because each person has their own individual needs. Women needs differ from those of men, and older women’s needs differ from those of a young girl. As we age, our needs constantly change; therefore continual education about nutrition is a fact of life. The nutritional needs of a cardiac patient are different than those of a healthy, middle-aged hiker.
Can you see the complexity of the situation now? What we really need is to develop a scale that determines the nutritional needs of our bodies on a cellular level, so that as we age, as our physical condition changes, or our health changes, we can recalculate our needs, based on cellular changes and content in our body. Individuality is the key to understanding each person’s nutritional needs, and then working to educate us is the key to fulfilling those nutritional needs. Good nutrition should be the ultimate goal of every person alive.
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