Nutrition is the science that deals with the study of foods in relations to their effects on the human body. It is the study of various nutrients in relation to their effect upon the human body.
Health: is the state of being well in body or mind. It is the soundness of mind in relation to the proper functioning of other members of the body. Everybody has an ambition of becoming somebody in life. This can only come true if we are healthy.
Nutrition and health are interwoven. For example, it is only when a pupil or student is well fed that he can listen attentively and understands what he or she is being taught by the teacher. A hungry person will not be responsive to any form of training.
In fact, scientists have found that there is a strong correlation between good food and the intellectual development of human beings. Apart from its effect on the illectual development of man, good nutrition also plays an important role in the maintenance of good health.
People who are well fed have more resistance to disease than those who are poorly nourished. In a country where people are well fed, there will be less incidents of sickness and therefore less amount will be spent on health. Many diseases prevalent in most developing countries including Nigeria are caused by poor nutrition. The need for a thorough knowledge in foods and nutrition can not therefore be over emphasized.
Definition of Terms
Food: Food can be defined as that which nourishes the body. It is any substances which after consumption, digestion, and absorption by the body produces energy, promotes growth and repair the worn out tissues and regulates all the body processes.
Nutrients: Nutrients are chemical substance found in the food we eat, they are the substances that enable food to perform its function. They are classified into two namely macro-nutrient which are nutrients needed in the body in large quantity such as carbohydrates, protein and fats and oil, while micro nutrients are those needed by the body in little quantity such as vitamins and minerals salts.
Nutrition is the study of nutrients in relation to their function in the body. It also involves the study of the chemical and physical properties of the nutrients, their food sources, deficiency symptoms and their appropriate proportion in a balanced diet. The study of nutrition is very essential because of the importance of food to the survival and development of human beings.
Importance of Studying Foods and Nutrition in our Society
- To know the basic knowledge and principle of nutrition.
- To promote good intellectual development.
- To maintain good health.
- To know the kinds of food nutrients necessary to reduce the incidence of sickness.
- To know the kinds of food that will meet the dietary requirements of different age groups and those under different physiological conditions.
- To know the appropriate food processing techniques for the optimum conservation of nutrients in the food.
- To know how to plan, prepare and serve balanced meals for different physiological conditions and occasions.
- To be able to choose and care for kitchen equipment and utensils appropriately.
- To develop appropriate and manipulate skills in the various cookery processes.
- To be self reliant members of the society.
- To acquire the knowledge of different methods of cooking
The process of taking in and absorbing of nutrients is called human nutrition. There is an often quoted maxim that says ‘you are what you eat’. It is probably important to add this that we are what we eat and drink.
Importance of Human Nutrition
The following are the importance of human nutrition:
- Maintenance of good health and stamina
- Prevention of diseases.
- Helps to Increase life span
- It provides our bodies with all of the individual entities it requires for life to maintain growth and development.
Careers Associated with Food and Nutrition
Careers in foods and nutrition are various opportunities opened to those who have formal training in foods and nutrition. They include the following:
A. Teaching: Foods and nutrition teacher find job’ opportunities in school i.e. secondary schools, Schools of Nursing, Medical Schools etc. Where they impact knowledge to reduce the rate of ignorance about the science of nutrition, effect of malnutrition and encourage good cooking and feeding habits for the maintenance of good health.
B. Dieticians: nutritionist can be employed as dieticians in the hospital to give counselling to patients who need diet therapy.
C. Food science: Here the nutritionist have studied the basic chemical, bio-chemical, physical and biophysical properties of foods and their constituents, which involved the application of the knowledge of food science to the processing of foods, to the preservation of food, improve flavour texture, appearance and other desirable properties and also deals with production of new local food stuffs.
D. Food Technologies: Food Scientist was involved with the application of knowledge of preservation process and of the food. And as food technologist they are involve with designing equipment and technique for carrying out post harvest storage of food, preservation of processed foods for the production of new foods and labour saving equipment.
E. Community Nutritionist: Here they are involved in enlightening people in the community about the various aspect of Nutrition to promote good health.
F. Catering: Nutritionist set up catering services for self employment and attending to the catering needs of the public during parties, ceremonial occasions and other functions.