The human body is made up of trillions of cells. Each cell’s most important need is for energy (fuel), oxygen (for burning), and water (as the living environment). The nutrients that must come from food are very important components to build these cells. So, how do we contrast nutrition to life? The beginning of a lifecycle is at embryotic stage where multiplicity of specific bodily functions takes place. We are talking about blood cells, kidney cells, nerve cells, etc.
With the demand for rapid growth of a human life, it is imperative that nourishment synchronizes with such demand. This is where nutrition plays its critical role in all living cells. The need for nutritional nourishment can range from a growing fetus to an elderly person. Having a balanced diet is so important especially for growth and development of a child. The need for nutrition continues as we age because there is a great turnover of cells and tissues as the body undergoes through several cycles of life. Nourishing the body necessitates a wholesome diet that contains the essential nutrients because no single food will supply all the nutrients that the body needs. For as long as there is life, nutrition is essential to keep the body alive and well.
To simply contrast, the human body needs for nourishment in order to stay alive is just like providing regular maintenance to your motor vehicle to keep it in good running condition. Besides having gasoline to an automobile, it is also important to ensure that the fluids are at adequate and normal levels. The automobile can not just run with gasoline alone, it must have those important elements, such as the engile oil, fluids for transmission and radiator and alike. For the human body, the provision of adequate nutrients nourishes the body to function at its optimum.
So, to see it clear and simple – the macronutrients are your gasoline, oils and fluids for the automobile engine while micronutrients are the spark plugs that complete the combustion process. Therefore, maintaining the engine, radiator, transmission, and other parts of the automobile is just as important as we maintain a healthy heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and other body organs. That is because we are living cells!
Macronutrients – The basic components of foods are calories (energy) and nutrients. There are six (6) kinds of nutrients – Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals and Water. Of these, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats are macronutrients. They are referred to as “energy” nutrients because they contain calories and provide energy to fuel the body. The difference is that each nutrition has individual value of calories per gram. For example, 1 gram of Carbohydrates has 4 calories; 1 gram of Protein has 4 calories; and 1 gram of Fat has 9 calories.
Micronutrients – Vitamins and Minerals are micronutrients and they are only needed in small amounts to help the macronutrients complete their job. Vitamins and minerals do not contain calories, but they are called “essential” nutrients because they are needed to complete the body’s chemical processes. In addition, the body can not normally make them, therefore, they must be obtained from a food source.
Contrasting micronutrients in layman’s terms, they work like spark plugs in the automobile that crank up the engine. In essence, building a good health necessitates the essential nutrients – the macronutrients and micronutrients.
The amazing fact about the human body is that it is made up of 650 muscles and 206 bones all powered by a heart that beats close to 36 million times a year. The exchange of oxygen and expulsion of carbon dioxide (breathing) works about 23,000 times a day while the mind through the power of eyesight performs about 10 billion computer-like calculations to read a sentence in seconds.