Concepts of nutrition.

By Aaron cooper

micro-nutrients and macro-nutrients.

Micro-nutrients Vitamins and minerals:

  1. Vitamins: these are crucial for maintaining the correct bodily functions as they allow individual specific metabolic reactions and prevent diseases. Most vitamins our body requires can't be made in our bodies so must be obtained through our diet. Vitamin D however, is synthesized by the reaction of sunlight on our skin and vitamin K can be produced by the bacteria that naturally occur in our large intestine. Vitamins facilitate processes that release energy and also support the immune system. Vitamins are usually grouped into fat soluble (A, D, E, K) or water soluble (B vitamins and C). Fat soluble vitamins can be stored in the body but water soluble ones cannot and are therefore excreted if in excess.
  2. Minerals: Macro-minerals are required in relatively large amounts e.g calcium. however trace elements are required in a much smaller amount.All minerals are essential for healthy development as they play key roles in enzyme and hormone production, immune system functioning, body structures and muscle contraction. Excessive mineral build up is prevented by absorption and excretion as needed. Some minerals compete for absorption, such as iron, zinc and copper.

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common terminology.

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

Recommended daily allowance, now more commonly referred to as Dietary reference values (DRV) are umbrella terms that explain how much of each nutrient we should have daily. The umbrella term covers:

  • Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI)
  • Estimated Average Requirements (EAR)
  • Lower Reference Nutrient Intake (LRNI)
  • Safe Intake (SI)

Optimal level

Optimal level refers to the process of calculating how much of a nutrient is required based on an individual level. This takes into account individual requirements and lifestyle elements. This process is complicated and requires complex biochemical analysis that is not routine practice.

Safe Intake (SI)

This figure represents an amount of nutrient that is thought to be high enough to meet the needs of the majority of people without causing risk to health. However, it is only an estimate as there may be insufficient information to estimate the distribution requirements of a population.

Estimated Average Requirements (EAR)

These requirements are the most commonly used to assess daily energy requirements.

estimated average requirements.


  • Male: 55 g
  • female 45 g

  • Male: 56 g
  • female:46 g

  • Male; 30 g
  • female: 20g

Functions within the body.

  • Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel.
  • Carbohydrates are easily used by the body for energy.
  • All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
  • Carbohydrates can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.
  • Carbohydrates are mainly found in starchy foods (like grain and potatoes), fruits, milk, and yogurt. Other foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and cottage cheese contain carbohydrates, but in lesser amounts.

  • Growth (especially important for children, teens, and pregnant women)
  • Tissue repair
  • Immune function
  • Making essential hormones and enzymes
  • Energy when carbohydrate is not available
  • Preserving lean muscle mass

  • Normal growth and development
  • Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)
  • Absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
  • Providing cushioning for the organs
  • Maintaining cell membranes
  • Providing taste, consistency, and stability to foods