Nutrition: What Is It And Why Is It Important?

Nutrition, nourishment, or aliment, is the supply of materials - food - required by organisms and cells to stay alive. In science and human medicine, nutrition is the science or practice of consuming and utilizing foods.

In hospitals, nutrition may refer to the food requirements of patients, including nutritional solutions delivered via an IV (intravenous) or IG (intragastric) tube.

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Nutritional science studies how the body breaks food down (catabolism) and how it repairs and creates cells and tissue (anabolism). Catabolism and anabolism combined can also be referred to as metabolism. Nutritional science also examines how the body responds to food.

Fast facts on nutrition

The human body requires seven major types of nutrients.

Not all nutrients provide energy but are still important, such as water and fiber.

Micronutrients are important but required in smaller amounts.

Vitamins are essential organic compounds that the human body cannot synthesize.

What is nutrition?

A selection of nutritious food in bowls

As molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics advance, nutrition has become more focused on metabolism and metabolic pathways - biochemical steps through which substances inside us are transformed from one form to another.

Nutrition also focuses on how diseases, conditions, and problems can be prevented or reduced with a healthy diet.

Similarly, nutrition involves identifying how certain diseases and conditions may be caused by dietary factors, such as poor diet (malnutrition), food allergies, and food intolerances.