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Human nutrition


Human nutrition refers to the provision of essential nutrients necessary to support human life and health. Generally, people can survive up to 40 days without food, a period largely depending on the amount of water consumed, stored body fat, muscle mass and genetic factors.

Poor nutrition is a chronic problem often linked to poverty, poor nutrition understanding and practices, and deficient sanitation and food security.Malnutrition and its consequences are immense contributors to deaths and disabilities worldwide. Promoting good nutrition helps children grow, promotes human development and eradication of poverty.

The human body contains chemical compounds, such as water, carbohydrates (sugar, starch, and fiber), amino acids (in proteins), fatty acids (in lipids), and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). These compounds consist of elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, and so on. All the chemical compounds and elements contained in the human body occur in various forms and combinations such as hormones, vitamins, phospholipids and hydroxyapatite. These compounds may be found in the human body as well as in the various types of organisms that humans consume.


Nutrients∗ Deficiency Excess
Food Energy starvation, marasmus obesity, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease
Simple carbohydrates None. diabetes mellitus, obesity
Complex carbohydrates none obesity
Saturated fat low sex hormone levels cardiovascular disease
Trans fat none cardiovascular disease
Unsaturated fat none obesity
Fat malabsorption of fat-soluble vitamins, rabbit starvation (if protein intake is high), during development: stunted brain development and reduced brain weight. cardiovascular disease
Omega-3 fats cardiovascular disease bleeding, hemorrhages
Omega-6 fats none cardiovascular disease, cancer
Cholesterol during development: deficiencies in myelinization of the brain. cardiovascular disease
Protein kwashiorkor
Sodium hyponatremia hypernatremia, hypertension
Iron anemia cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease
Iodine goiter, hypothyroidism Iodine toxicity (goiter, hypothyroidism)
Vitamin A xerophthalmia and night blindness, low testosterone levels hypervitaminosis A (cirrhosis, hair loss)
Vitamin B1 beriberi
Vitamin B2 cracking of skin and corneal unclearation
Niacin pellagra dyspepsia, cardiac arrhythmias, birth defects
Vitamin B12 pernicious anemia
Vitamin C scurvy diarrhea causing dehydration
Vitamin D rickets, osteoporosis, balance, immune system, inflammation hypervitaminosis D (dehydration, vomiting, constipation)
Vitamin E nervous disorders hypervitaminosis E (anticoagulant: excessive bleeding)
Vitamin K hemorrhage
Calcium osteoporosis, tetany, carpopedal spasm, laryngospasm, cardiac arrhythmias fatigue, depression, confusion, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, constipation, pancreatitis, increased urination
Magnesium hypertension weakness, nausea, vomiting, impaired breathing, and hypotension
Potassium hypokalemia, cardiac arrhythmias hyperkalemia, palpitations

  • Chlorine as chloride ions; very common electrolyte; see sodium, below
  • Magnesium, required for processing ATP and related reactions (builds bone, causes strong peristalsis, increases flexibility, increases alkalinity). Approximately 50% is in bone, the remaining 50% is almost all inside body cells, with only about 1% located in extracellular fluid. Food sources include oats, buckwheat, tofu, nuts, caviar, green leafy vegetables, legumes, and chocolate.
  • Phosphorus, required component of bones; essential for energy processing Approximately 80% is found in inorganic portion of bones and teeth. Phosphorus is a component of every cell, as well as important metabolites, including DNA, RNA, ATP, and phospholipids. Also important in pH regulation. Food sources include cheese, egg yolk, milk, meat, fish, poultry, whole-grain cereals, and many others.
  • Potassium, a very common electrolyte (heart and nerve health). With sodium, potassium is involved in maintaining normal water balance, osmotic equilibrium, and acid-base balance. In addition to calcium, it is important in the regulation of neuromuscular activity. Food sources include bananas, avocados, vegetables, potatoes, legumes, fish, and mushrooms.
  • Sodium, a very common electrolyte; not generally found in dietary supplements, despite being needed in large quantities, because the ion is very common in food: typically as sodium chloride, or common salt
  • The "nutrition-learning nexus" demonstrates the correlation between diet and learning and has application in a higher education setting..
  • We find that better nourished children perform significantly better in school, partly because they enter school earlier and thus have more time to learn but mostly because of greater learning productivity per year of schooling."
  • 91% of college students feel that they are in good health while only 7% eat their recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables.
  • Nutritional education is an effective and workable model in a higher education setting.
  • More "engaged" learning models that encompass nutrition is an idea that is picking up steam at all levels of the learning cycle.
  • Mahan, L.K. and Escott-Stump, S. eds. (2000). Krause's Food, Nutrition, and Diet Therapy (10th ed.). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Harcourt Brace. ISBN . 
  • Human Nutrition. Readings from Scientific American. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman & Co. 1978. ISBN  
  • Thiollet, J.-P. (2001). Vitamines & minéraux. Paris: Anagramme. 
  • Willett, Walter C.; Stampfer, Meir J. (2003). "Rebuilding the Food Pyramid". Scientific American. 288 (1): 64–71. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0103-64. PMID 12506426. 
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Wikipedia

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