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Breaking Down Nutrition

Breaking down nutrition includes the study of nutrients in our food and how they impact our bodies. This includes nutrients that are important for our health and well-being, how our diet can help our bodies achieve a healthy nutritional balance and the usefulness of biochemical and physiological processes in nutrients. 

Breaking down nutrition into seven key components that are essential to our health:

To maintain a healthy balance of nutrients, you need to take into account your age, level of exercise, any diseases present, medications, and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The Importance Of Nutrition

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A balanced diet will result in good nutrition and is vitally important for our body’s overall health. Breaking down nutrition and categorizing it into desired health benefits can help ensure that we strive to lead healthy lives. These categories include but are not limited to:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Support our growth
  • Improve our mental health
  • Maintain good energy levels
  • Drastically reduce our risk for certain diseases
  • Help us to live longer and healthier lives

Without good nutrition, we can become weak and sick. We need the correct amounts of proper nutrients to grow and perform our day-to-day mental and physical tasks.

What Is Good Nutrition?

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Is this a simple cabbage vs. lettuce nutrition comparison? 

Nutrition is the study of how both food and drink categories affect our bodies, with special attention to essential nutrients that are necessary for the body’s health. Nutrition looks at the physiological and biochemical processes involved and how substances in food provide energy or are transferred to body tissues. These nutrients are where our bodies source their energy. Good nutrition is getting the right amounts of nutrients from healthy foods and in the right combinations for our body’s daily needs. The study of nutrients in food groups goes beyond simple comparisons such as cabbage vs. lettuce nutrition and more into in-depth research on how food groups affect our bodies.

An important part of the study of nutrition is looking at diseases that can result from malnutrition and the role that food plays in the development of chronic disease.

We can divide nutrients into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are those nutrients that the body needs in large amounts. These provide the body with energy (calories). Micronutrients are those nutrients that the body needs in smaller amounts.


  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat


Water soluble vitamins

 Fat soluble vitamins


The breakdown of nutrition is a work in progress, and scientists are discovering new information daily. We know that poor nutrition can lead to digestive problems, food allergies, lack of energy, depression, anxiety, and weight gain. Many of the most prevalent chronic diseases, such as heart diseases, cancer, and ADHA, can be directly linked to nutrition, or lack thereof.

The Role Of Nutrients In Your Body

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Every macro and micronutrient has a role to perform in our body, no matter how insignificant it may seem.



These are the macronutrients that fuel your body. If you are partaking in high-intensity exercise, carbohydrates are your go-to nutrient. They also preserve muscle mass during exercise and provide fuel for your central nervous system to keep your brain active. It is recommended that 45-65% of calorie intake should be from a carbohydrate source, as carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for our bodies, especially for the brain. An active or athletic individual would increase that percentage due to the increased fuel needed during high-intensity exercise.

Carbohydrate Food Sources

  • Grains, especially whole-grains
  • Fruit 
  • Some vegetables, such as potatoes and peas 
  • Dairy 
  • Sugar 


These are the macronutrients that build your body. They handle tissue structure, which includes organ tissue, muscle, nails, hair, skin, tendons, bones, ligaments, and blood plasma. Proteins form part of the membranes of cell plasma and play a large part in the body’s metabolism and hormone system. Proteins also regulate the acid/base balance to maintain a neutral environment in our bodies.

Recommended Daily Allowance

  • Sedentary Individuals: 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  • Recreationally Active: 0.45-0.68 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  • Competitive Athlete: 0.54-0.82 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  • Teenage Athlete: 0.82-0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  • Body Builder: 0.64-0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  • When restricting Calories: 0364-0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight

Protein Food Sources

  • Legumes
  • Soy products
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains Seeds
  • Meat alternative products
  • Animal sources


Fats are the macronutrient responsible for your energy reserves and for transporting fat-soluble vitamins through the body. Fats provide insulation for the body and protect vital organs.

Recommended Allowance

  • Aim for 20-35% of your total daily calories from fat
  • Aim for less than 10% of total daily calories from saturated fat. This can be done by focusing on fat from nuts, seeds, avocado, fish, and most oils.

Fat Food Sources

  • Oils
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocados
  • Meat, fish, dairy


Vitamin B1

Thiamin is needed to release the energy in food. It prevents Beriberi, which is a vitamin B1 deficiency. We need thiamin to digest and break down the foods that we eat, to keep our metabolism active, and to help our muscles and nervous system do their job effectively.

Vitamin B1 Food Sources

  • Whole grains
  • Dried beans
  • Peas
  • Peanuts
  • Animal proteins

Vitamin B2:

Riboflavin is used to build and maintain body tissues. 

Vitamin B2 Food Sources

  • Whole grains
  • Green and yellow vegetables
  • Animal proteins

Vitamin B6:

Pyridoxine assists with the development of the nervous system and is involved with the production of blood. Vitamin B6 helps break down protein and glucose to produce energy for the body.

Vitamin B6 Food Sources

  • Potatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Yeast
  • Nuts
  • Bulgur
  • Fish
  • Rice
  • Bananas

Vitamin B12:

Cobalamin promotes proper growth and development of the nervous system

Vitamin B12 Food Sources

  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified non-dairy milk
  • Fortified nutritional yeast
  • Algae
  • Animal products

Vitamin C:

Ascorbic Acid helps with the formation of growth hormones. It is required for the building of strong gums, teeth, and bones and is a powerful antioxidant.

Vitamin C Food Sources

  • Citrus fruits
  • Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Peppers

Folic Acid 

Folic Acid helps build DNA and protein and helps maintain a healthy intestinal tract. It aids in bone growth and prevents nervous system birth defects.

Folic Acid Food Sources

  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Yeast
  • Wheat germ

Vitamin A:

Retinol is vitally important for healthy vision, skin, and hair

Vitamin A Food Sources

  • Animal products
  • The body can make vitamin A from vegetables that have carotene
    • Carrots
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Pumpkin
    • Other red-orange vegetables

Vitamin D

This promotes strong teeth and bones and prevents bone disease rickets.

Vitamin D Food Sources

  • UV-treated mushrooms
  • Dairy milk and fortified non-dairy milk
  • Fortified cereals
  • Cod liver oil
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Egg yolks
  • Produced by the body when exposed to sunlight. 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E prevents damage to cell membranes and protects your vitamin A reserves. It also aids in the production of blood.

Vitamin E Food Sources

  • Seeds and Nuts
  • Vegetable oil

Vitamin K aids in blood clotting

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Vitamin K Food Sources

  • Green leafy vegetables


Calcium maintains our teeth and bones and helps our blood clot. It also assists nerves and muscle function.

Calcium Food Sources

  • Calcium-treated tofu
  • Legumes
  • Almonds
  • Dairy milk & fortified non-dairy milk
  • Dark green vegetables
  • Sardines
  • Clams
  • Oysters


This regulates the water balance in cells and assists with nerve function. It is very important for maintaining heart rhythm.

Potassium Food Sources

  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Cereal
  • Potatoes
  • Dried beans


Sodium regulates water balance and stimulates nerves.

Sodium Food Sources

  • Table salt
  • Bread
  • Almost everything


This forms blood cells and transports oxygen throughout the body.

Iron Food Sources

  • Fortified cereals
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dried fruits
  • Animal proteins


This aids in the transport of carbon dioxide forms enzymes, and aids in healing wounds.

Zinc Food Sources

  • Whole grains
  • Dairy milk and fortified non-dairy milk
  • Legumes


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Water makes up most of our body and is found in blood, tissues, and organs.

  • Moistens tissues such as those in the mouth, eyes, and nose
  • Protects body organs and tissues
  • Helps prevent constipation
  • Helps dissolve minerals and other nutrients to make them accessible to the body
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Lubricates joints
  • Lessens the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products
  • Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells

We lose water each day through sweat, breathing, and urination, so it’s important to stay hydrated. ‌Drink enough water to prevent feeling thirsty. Besides drinking plain water, here are some alternative methods for staying hydrated:

  • Non-caffeinated beverages, such as herbal tea (caffeine is a diuretic, so coffee, black tea, and energy drinks should not be relied on for hydration)
  • Water with a squeeze of lemon or infused water
  • Getting enough fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables can contain anywhere from 60 to over 90% water!
  • Milk or non-dairy milk
  • Fruit and vegetable juices. Aim for no more than one cup of 100% juice per day, as fruit juices do not contain as much fiber as their whole counterparts and can be calorically dense. 


Nutrition is a critical part of health and development. Better nutrition is related to improved infant, child, and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease), and longevity.

Healthy children learn better. People with adequate nutrition are more productive and can create opportunities. Malnutrition, in every form, presents significant threats to human health. 

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HMT News Team

HMT News Team 

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