Nutrition is the study of how nutrients interact in relation to the body’s growth, reproduction, health and illnesses. Good nutrition and physical activity go hand in hand, together they can aid in decreasing the development of various chronic diseases such as, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. As the focal point of contact with the patients, nurses must be able to comprehend and explain the benefits of good nutrition. Over the course of seven days I have utilized the MyDietaryAnalysis program to observe the number of calories that I have consumed, the amount of water that I have drank, and the number of calories that I have burnt while exercising.
There are six nutrients, all of which are essential for producing the body’s energy, proper function, and creating the building blocks for growth and repair. The six groups of nutrients that can be found in foods are carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils, minerals, water, and vitamins.
Eating a varied diet of vegetables, fruits, dairy products, whole grains, and healthy fats and proteins is the best way to include an ample amount of the six essential nutrients. These six groups of nutrients are broken down into macronutrients and micronutrients. The types of nutrients that our body needs to consume in large amounts are known as macronutrients whereas on the other hand, micronutrients are nutrients that are only required in a small amount. The major macronutrients required are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Macronutrients provide fuel for athletes to burn while running and weight lifting. Even though our body requires macronutrients in large amounts, micronutrients are important as well. Micronutrients are defined as vitamins and minerals. These two nutrients aid in the regulation of the body functions such as, mood, mental health, energy levels, and physical health. At the end of the seven days, I noticed that my nutrient intake consisted of a large percentage of the macronutrients; protein and carbohydrates. Nutrients are daily vital components that satisfy our body’s demands. Carbohydrates are the simplest sugars and are known as the primary source of energy. Carbohydrates can be found in dairy, whole grains, and legumes. Endurance athletes such as marathon runners, often use the term carb ” loading before a race. Carb ” loading is defined as stocking up on high carbohydrate foods a few days prior to a marathon in hope to increase their stored energy content so their body can be supplied with energy during the race. Another nutrient that is vital to the body are proteins. The function of proteins is to repair and maintain tissues. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Individuals that are recovering from an injury, surgery, or are older adults require more protein. Proteins can be found in meats, seeds, nuts, and dairy products. Another nutrient is fats and oils and they are an important source of energy at rest. Fats can be beneficial, but an excessive amount of fats can be unhealthy and lead to chronic diseases. When the body doesn’t burn fats, they are transported and stored in adipose tissue. Fats and oils are found in butter and dairy products. Vitamins and minerals that perform hundreds of essential tasks everyday within our bodies. Vitamins aid in the release of macronutrients and support our immune systems. We can find vitamins in leafy green vegetables, fruits, and meats. Minerals such as iron, can be found in meats. Minerals help with energy production and fluid regulation. Water is a necessity for humans to survive. The majority of the adult human body is made up of water. This nutrient can regulate our body’s temperature through the process of sweating and can also flush out our body’s waste through urine. Water can be found within fruits, juices, water, and vegetables. Many individuals choose specific diets that eliminate particular nutrients from their eating habits for a certain amount of days or weeks. Personally, I don’t believe in diets, I believe that foods should not be categorized as good or bad but should be eaten and focused on in balance. I feel that many diets can sometimes lead to health issues of their own. People who diet must be extremely careful in that they are still consuming the proper amount of nutrients. My sister made the decision of becoming a vegetarian over the summer and has removed all sources of meat from her diet. I support her decision but at the same time, I worry that this diet won’t supply enough protein, minerals and vitamins. I have researched and have found that a vegetarian diet can still contain sources of protein, but they must obtain this nutrient in different ways such as legumes, nuts, eggs, beans, and vegetables. I believe that having a balanced healthy eating plan is a better path to take; this is a process that enables the nourishment of our bodies, mind, and spirit. The body requires various nutrients in order to maintain, regulate function, and fight off infections. A nutritional deficiency takes place when the body isn’t absorbing or obtaining enough of a certain nutrient. Nutritional deficiencies may lead to gastrointestinal, skin, renal, liver and blood disorders and in some cases stunt bone growth. One of the more commonly known disorders is anemia which is associated with a mineral deficiency, iron. Iron aids in the process of creating red blood cells, without enough iron the cells will decrease in size, number and become pale. These pale red blood cells aren’t able to supply the correct amount of oxygen to tissues and organs. On the other hand, iron overload is characterized by too much iron in the bloodstream which increase the risk for cirrhosis of the liver. Protein deficiencies lead to the disease kwashiorkor and is characterized by edema in the stomach. The deficiency of the nutrient protein is almost unseen in developed countries but is noticeably seen in underdeveloped countries. The major nutrient that is noticeable when eaten in excess is carbohydrates. An excess amount of carbohydrates leads to artheriosclerosis which is defined as the accumulation of plague in arteries which in turn causes them to narrow. On the other hand, the deficiency of carbohydrates results in ketosis because your body is now compensating for the lack of carbohydrates and is instead breaking down proteins for energy. As one ages nutritional needs change and become more and more important. Malnutrition is a disease that is often underdiagnosed and happens to be a frequent issue in the elderly population. Doctors are not recognizing the signs and symptoms of involuntary weight loss and abnormal eating patterns. Authors of the journal Nutritional Factors in Physical and Cognitive Functions of Elderly People, I.H. Rosenberg and J.W. Miller, have examined that the, quality of life of the aging individual depends profoundly on their capacity for physical activity, mental alertness, and cognitive function, (AJCN, 1992). A healthy diet helps stimulate physical activity, mental alertness, and cognitive function. A careful nutritional assessment is necessary in order to diagnose and treat this population for nutrient deficiencies. I completed the Dietary Analysis Lab over the course of seven days while recording everything that I ate from cream cheese on a plain bagel to marinara sauce on pasta. I found that the Dietary Analysis Lab is extremely interesting to observe because it tracked my calories, the amount of water that I consumed, and the quality and quantity of my physical activity. From the information that I logged in the lab was able to create various reports. One particular report that I found interesting is the MyPlate’ report. This report took the five food groups from my diet and created a chart displaying the recommended amount of the groups versus the actual amount that I consumed. Before completing the Dietary Analysis Lab, I have always thought that I had a healthy and balanced life style. I try to make the effort to exercise every day for at least forty ” five minutes and I try to drink enough water throughout the day. I also try to switch up my workout routines so that I am applying different muscles. When the lab laid out my results, I found that I was mistaken. Most of the nutrients in my diet were just short of the recommended daily intake, and my overall dairy intake 0.7 cups when it should have been 3.0 cups. My water intake also did not meet the required amount. The amount of water that was recommended was 2,700.0 g when my actual overall intake was only 1,051 g. Dairy products contain calcium and other vitamins which aid in maintaining strong bones and muscle mass. There are multiple products that can increase my dairy intake such as, yogurt, milk, and cheese. After reading my results I came to the realization that I need to not only increase the amount of dairy that I consume but also many other nutrients as well. America has witnessed a drastic rise of obesity throughout the recent decades. Obesity is a chronic disease that has come to affect thousands. Today, many Americans are not fulfilling all the nutrient groups and the required amount of physical activity that is needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Doctors use the BMI scale (Body Mass Index) to measure a value derived from one’s weight and height. Today doctors and nurses are seeing more and more BMI values towards the top of the chart. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 is documented as overweight and a BMI value of 30 kg/m2 and over is documented as obese. It has been studied that, as a result of these behaviors, the Nation has experienced a dramatic increase in obesity. Today approximately 1 in 3 adults (34%) and 1 in 6 children and adolescents (16.2%) are obese, (Healthypeople.gov, pg1). These overwhelming statistics have led to young children and adolescents being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease earlier and earlier. Physical activity is an extremely important building block in keeping our bodies healthy. Physical activity is the act of moving and using energy that can be in forms of daily life activities, such as, walking your dog, doing yard work, and doing chores around the house. The senior news writer of the American Medical Association, Sara Berg states that to help increase physical activity, some physicians are trying the technique of gamification, which is the application of game design elements into non ” game contexts such as the use of wearable devices and counting steps, (Berg, 1). Athletic technology has improved over the past few years, manufacturers are now producing devices that can monitor one’s heart rate as they are exercising, monitor one’s sleeping pattern, and track the amount steps one takes a day. Doctors and physicians are hoping that they can utilize technologies advances towards decreasing the rate of obesity. Together, good nutrition and physical activity can help individuals lead a healthy and content life. The Dietary Analysis Lab tracked my physical activity, and the amount of water and food that I had consumed over the course of a week. After logging in my activity and information, the program created several reports. This program was very insightful and helped me understand that I need to change my dietary habits by adding more dairy products, vegetables, water and fruits.