Nutrition, nourishment, or aliment, is the supply of materials - food - required by organisms and cells to stay alive. In science and human medicine, nutrition is the science or practice of consuming and utilizing foods.

What is Nutrition, and what are Nutrients?

Nutrition, nourishment, or aliment, is the supply of materials - food - required by organisms and cells to stay alive. In science and human medicine, nutrition is the science or practice of consuming and utilizing foods. Nutrients are substances that provide nourishment that is essential for the maintenance of life and for growth. The fresh food you eat is loaded with nutrients necessary for good health, such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. But many older adults aren't getting enough nutrients from their diets. ... Yet even if you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, you may still fall short of needed nutrients.

Diet and Nutrition

+ What is Fast Food?

Fast food is a type of mass-produced food designed for commercial resale and with a strong priority placed on "speed of service" versus other relevant factors involved in culinary science.

+ What is Organic Food?

Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

+ What is a GMO?

A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering or transgenic technology. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

+ What are the Healthiest Diets?

  • The Mediterranean Diet perhaps the world's healthiest diet is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It features fish and poultry—lean sources of protein—over red meat. Red wine is consumed regularly but in moderate amounts.
  • Paleo Diet a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.

+ What are the Seven Major Types of Nutrients that the Body Needs?

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Proteins
  3. Fats-Non Energy Macronutrients
  4. Fiber
  5. Water- Micronutrients
  6. Vitamins- Vitamins are essential organic compounds that the human body cannot synthesize. Vitamin D deficiency is a major public health problem worldwide in all age groups, even in those residing in countries with low latitude, where it was generally assumed that UV radiation was adequate enough to prevent this deficiency, and in industrialized countries, where vitamin D fortification has been implemented now for years.
  7. Minerals- The best example of a mineral is iodized salt - iodine is added to prevent iodine deficiency, which affects about 2 billion people, globally; it causes mental retardation and thyroid gland problems. Iodine deficiency remains a serious public health problem in over half the planet.

+ Diseases of the Aged

Most of the diseases from which older people suffer also occur in younger people. Many of these conditions are chronic and correct nutrition is essential to enable the body to function as well as possible in the circumstances.

Of all the nutritional diseases of all ages obesity is probably the most common. Obesity increases the incidence and/or aggravates the discomfort of many complaints, e.g. bronchitis, shortness of breath, gallstones, hernias and all diseases of the bones and joints (such as osteoporosis and arthritis). Wrong eating habits sometimes play an important part in causing diseases and in some cases a change of diet forms part of the treatment.

+ Cardiovascular Diseases

From childhood cholesterol and other fatty substances are deposited in the blood-vessel walls. This can develop into a condition in which the blood-vessels are narrowed and their walls hardened. If the blood-vessels supplying the heart muscle with blood are seriously constricted individuals may suffer from angina (heart-cramp) when they are tense or become physically active. If the flow of blood to the heart muscle is interrupted, a heart attack occurs. As the blood-ves¬sels become hardened they lose their elasticity, which may cause fragility of the walls and bleeding. When this occurs in the blood-vessels supplying the brain a stroke results. A more prudent life-style and eating habits may decrease the incidence of coronary heart disease. Existing damage cannot, however, be eliminated.

+ Constipation

One is constipated when irregular bowel movement causes discomfort and indigestion. People who have healthy living and eating habits usually have one or more motions every day, but this is not absolutely necessary. The most common causes of constipation are:

  • Too small a food residue in the intestinal tract;
  • Neglect of the call to defecate which usually goes hand in hand with living at too fast a pace and irregular toilet habits;
  • Inactivity
  • Certain diseases of the digestive tract, e.g. cancer and diverticulitis (a form of inflammation occurring most frequently in the colon or large intes¬tine);
  • Medicines such as certain painkillers and remedies containing iron.
  • What stimulates movement of the bowels?
  • The presence of food in the stomach and intestines stimulates movement of the food residue to the lowest part of the colon (rectum). This stimulation usually occurs after the first meal of the day or even after a glass or more of water on an empty stomach.
  • Physical activity increases the stimulating effect of food and liquid. Immobility, as when one is confined to bed, can promote constipation in one of two ways:
  • There is a lack of adequate stimulation for the forward movement of the contents of the intestinal tract. Further, the immobile person is dependent on someone else for aid in responding to the urge to defecate. If there is no response at the right time, the urge disappears.
  • Food residue in the colon. The volume of the residue is determined by the amount of food and liquid ingested, the amount of food fiber in the diet, and the ability of the fiber to hold water. If the food intake is small because of illness or a slimming diet the residue is, of necessity, also small, Only plant-foods (cereals, fruits, vegetables, dry legumes and nuts) are sources of food fiber. The fiber of cereals is found mainly in the bran, and the coarser the bran the more water it can hold. If the edible peel and pips of vegetables and fruits are eaten, the fiber intake will be appreciably more. Strained fruit and veget¬able juices contain no fiber.
  • The best treatment for constipation is prevention. Drink a lot of water and eat sufficient food fiber, get sufficient exercise and avoid the unnecessary use of laxatives.

+ Hypertension

The possible causes of hypertension are: An inherited tendency; sex (men run a geater risk than women); age; tension; and two factors related to nutrition, viz excessive use of salt and obesity. It is known that tension can cause a sudden and temporary rise in blood pressure. Food that contains a lot of salt can cause hypertension in individuals with an inborn sensitivity to salt. Non sensitive individuals remain normal on the same diet. The possibility of a person developing heart problems is much greater if he has high blood pressure and is, in addition, obese. A loss of weight is sometimes the only prescription for moderately high blood pressure.

+ Gout

Gout runs in families. It is a form of arthritis; usually the big toe is the first joint to be affected. Individuals suffering from gout have an excess of uric acid in the blood and uric acid crystals in and around the affected joints. Normally uric acid is systematically excreted in the urine and only small amounts are found in the blood.

Uric acid is formed in the body from purine. Liver, kidneys, brains, gravy, meat extract and sardines are the richest sources of purine.

Other kinds of fish, all kinds of meat, dry legumes, wheat-germ and rolled oats are moderately rich sources. Half of the uric acid in the blood of normal people is formed by the body itself. The other half, contributed by food, nevertheless plays a very important part in the control of gout and prevention of acute attacks. The obese should follow a diet that will reduce weight slowly. Fasting leads to an increase in blood uric acid and may bring on an attack of gout.

+ Diabetes Mellitus

One of the symptoms of those who suffer from diabetes is too high a blood sugar (glucose) level. The glucose comes from digested food and is normally transported rapidly from the blood to the tissues. The ability of the elderly to handle glucose becomes impaired. The bloodstream can therefore easily become overloaded with glucose. Diabetes which develop at an advanced age is usually of a mild nature. As a rule, no medication is necessary, as the diabetes can be controlled by diet alone:

  • Eat starchy foods (such as brown and whole wheat bread, potatoes and sweet potatoes) and dry beans, peas and lentils instead of sugar, sweets and other sweetened foods and liquids.
  • Eat fat and fatty foods sparingly and eat only moderate quantities of meat, fish and eggs.
  • Appease the appetite with vegetables and satisfy the craving for sweetnes with fruit. Choose those fruits that are not very sweet and where possible eat vegetables and fruit unpeeled.
  • A fibre-rich diet helps to keep the blood sugar level normal.
  • Control body weight and follow a balanced slimming diet if you are over¬weight.
  • Eat small amounts of food more often.

+ Cancer

The link between cancer and diet is just as mysterious as the disease itself. Much research has pointed toward certain foods and nutrients that may help prevent—or, conversely, contribute to—certain types of cancer.While there are many factors you can't change that increase your cancer risk, such as genetics and environment, there are others you can control. In fact, estimates suggest that less than 30% of a person's lifetime risk of getting cancer results from uncontrollable factors. The rest you have the power to change, including your diet.

+ What to be Aware of in Your Diet

  • Processed and red meat- Processed meat is any meat that has been smoked or fermented or includes added salt and nitrites to enhance flavor. The connection between processed meat and cancer is consistent, says Dr. Giovannucci. For instance, about 30 prospective studies of colorectal cancer—the third most diagnosed cancer in men—found that eating around 50 grams a day of processed meat (about 2 ounces) is associated with about a 20% increase in colorectal cancer risk.
  • Antioxidants- Antioxidants no doubt are important for cancer prevention, as they help neutralize free radicals that can damage cells. But the larger question is whether taking more through your diet or supplements further reduces your risk.
  • It is important to consume foods high in antioxidants, since they offer other benefits, too, like improved cardiovascular health. Dr. Willett's suggestion: do not target individual antioxidants, but instead aim for a diet that includes a variety of high-antioxidant foods. "Focus on bright colors, such as dark green, orange, purple, and red fruits and vegetables—for instance, spinach, carrots, and tomatoes."
  • Glycemic Index
  • Carbohydrates have a Jekyll-and-Hyde role with cancer: they can be good or bad depending on the source. Glycemic index (GI), a measure of how fast carbohydrates turn into sugar in the blood, helps us tell the good from the bad.
  • A study of 3,100 people, presented at the 2016 Experimental Biology forum, found that consuming foods with a high GI (70 or higher on the 100-point GI scale) was associated with an 88% greater risk for prostate cancer. High-GI items include sugar-sweetened soft drinks, fruit juices, and processed foods like pizza.
  • On the flip side, eating lower-GI foods like legumes (beans, lentils, and peas) was linked with a 32% lower risk of both prostate and colorectal cancers. Another study, published March 2015 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, linked a high-GI diet with lung cancer, the second most common cancer among men. The study showed an almost 50% increase in risk among people with the highest GI diet compared with those with the lowest.
  • Calcium- Some evidence suggests higher calcium intake can lower the risk for cancer, especially colorectal cancer. Researchers believe calcium binds to bile acids and fatty acids in the gastrointestinal tract. This acts as a shield to protect cells from the damaging stomach acids. However, other research has shown that extra calcium—2,000 milligrams (mg) or more per day—may be linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer. "We do not know for certain why calcium has such a wide influence on cancer," says Dr. Giovannucci. "Your best bet is to keep your daily calcium intake to 500 mg to 1,000 mg per day, either from food like dairy products or supplements."

+ Weight Gain and Cancer

A 2014 study in The Lancet found that a higher body mass index increases the risk of developing some of the most common cancers. Scientists discovered that among five million people studied, gain of 34 pounds was linked with a 10% or higher risk for colon, gallbladder, kidney, and liver cancers. Experts say body fat produces hormones and inflammatory proteins that can promote tumor cell growth.