Nutrition is a part of science that studies, as well as analyzes and interprets, the relational effect of nutrient in food and other food substances to the growth, life and health maintenance, reproduction, and diseases of people and also of living organisms. The study includes such processes of food digestion, absorption and assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion.
Diet of a person refers to what food the person regularly eats with respect to the food availability, how the food was prepared and cooked, and how the food tasted. In order to gain a healthy diet, food must be cared for in such a way that it is stored well, prepared and cooked properly, so that the nutrients in it are preserved from oxidation, heat or leaching, and from the risk of food poisoning. Carbohydrates, fats, proteins and amino acids, and vitamins, as well as water, oxygen, and minerals are referred to as food nutrients.
As we age, our dietary needs will also change and this interaction of our dietary needs with age will continue throughout the life phases, such that the food nutrients undergo a rational adjustment as we grow older. It is not just the stages of age where the diet of people changes, but there are also factors that contribute in the dietary change, such as economic, psychological, and social aspects.
Good and proper nutrition starts at the first six months of an infant, wherein nutritionists highly recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies with their breast milk since it is full of nutrients and antibodies which the babies need. The feeding of solid food takes place, normally after six months, combined with breast milk.
The early years of the pre-school age group should start with these nutritional requirements: carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, milk and dairy foods, protein and good quality fats, as well as vitamins A, C, calcium, iron and zinc.
As the child reaches school age which is until the teen years, this necessitates the proper feeding of a healthy, balanced diet of nutrients to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. What is recommended for this age group is a proportional balanced diet of complete nutrients, including calcium, iron and protein with vitamin supplements, and must be found in any of the three meals each day – breakfast, lunch, dinner.
As we enter adulthood, the majority of our body’s growth and development will be over and the gradual slowing down requires a shift more on adult nutrition to maintain a physically active life. The dosage of food intake, at this age level, should be limited into individual portions but not forgetting to still have three meals a day and that snacking should be choosing healthier options, like whole grain toast, fruits. Normally, most adults eat in small portions than they use to when they were young, so it is best to prepare and cook large meals and freeze the rest of the foods until the next meal.
It is indeed constraining when we reach the elderly stage as continued changes in our bodies are happening, slowing down are appetite for food and limiting our mobility, and, with that, the buying and preparing of good food is also restricted. What is suggested, when this situation happens, is to buy pre-cooked meals, which are nutritionally balanced, which can be frozen for a longer period of time, so that small portions can be heated as the need arises.
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