Why Nutrition? – It is still clear that there is a big gap between those who “have” and those who “have not” in terms of the human coexistence. Hunger and starvation continue to challenge the survival of the poor and less fortunate people who continue to rely on limited food supply. Without realizing the importance of many different nutrients found in many different foods, the poor people will eat whatever is edible and available just to survive. And so, many suffer from poor health conditions, such as poor growth and development of the young and poor health among the very old.

I strongly believe that proper nutrition should start at early childhood. Proper growth and development of the human body depends so much on the proper nutrition it receives. For example, many young children suffer from poor growth and development resulting from deficiency diseases due to inadequate nutrient intake especially protein. In pregnancy, many women suffer catastrophic effects such as stillborn or miscarriages resulting from nutrient deficiencies such as Folic Acid. Infections due to low immune system, and anemia are the classic syndrome resulting from dehydration and malnutrition among the elderly.

Eating a well balanced meal does not require expensive spending. For example, taking advantage of a summer garden can make your dinner plates colorful in appearance and nutrients. Canning vegetables and fruits harvested from your backyard’s summer garden can have a yummy tummy effect during cold winter months. Refurbishing your summer garden with an early Fall garden of greens can give you a bountiful stores of collards and turnips in time for a Thanksgiving Feast.

Common sense is the key to achieving a sense of well-being and of optimum health. Research studies have shown that it is evident that dietary intake are significant factors in the cause of several major chronic diseases as a result of obesity or overweight state. For that matter, dietary modifications become so important so that risk for such chronic disease can be minimized. Understanding nutrition does not have to be a complicated issue, however, it is important to understand that common sense nutrition means balancing calorie intake (eat or drink) and calorie output (physical activity).

Understanding nutrition as it relates to health is as simple as ABC. In simple terms, when we talk about nutrition we are talking about food, but understanding how the foods work in the body is a way to know that to survive well is to eat well. Having a good understanding of nutrition can pave your way on how to eat well to achieve good health. Nutrition helps you identify how your illness, health condition or problem may be caused by the food you eat. This can range from poor diet (malnutrition), food allergies, metabolic diseases, and others. Nutrition can also help you see how your health condition and/or problems can be prevented or minimized with a healthy diet.

As mentioned earlier, the amount of energy that comes from food that we eat daily seems to be the prime importance of mankind’s way of life. However, mankind also needs to understand the balance of surviving. For example, the body’s activities must be sustained by the amount of energy from food it is received. This means that your food intake (what you eat) should equates your energy output (what your body can burn). Otherwise, imbalance results from either more intake and less output, or more output and less intake.

There are many consequences in unbalanced diet which can be severe. Malnutrition itself is a very dreadful disease and can come in many forms. Usually the vulnerable group of people, especially the children suffer the most when unbalanced diet affects their growth. As said, healthful and balanced diet does not necessitate expensive buying. A wide variety of wholesome food groups can be grown in our own backyard.

Ofelia B. Mutia, MS.,RDN.,LD.