Most of Our Body Weight is Water: In a Nutshell: Nutrition

Last time I wrote a brief description of the digestive system. Now here’s a snapshot of what the different main food groups do for us!

Carbohydrates (consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen)
• Provide energy and heat
• Deposited as adipose (fatty) tissue if there is an excess

• Form amino acids needed for building and repair of tissue
• Maintain the balance between the blood and tissue fluids
• Provide energy and heat when there is insufficient carbohydrate

Fats (animal and vegetable)
• Produce energy and heat
• Support some organs eg kidneys and eyes
• Transport fat soluble vitamins

Fat soluble – A, D, E and K
Water soluble – B compounds and C
• Vitamin A – helps to fight infection, essential for vision in dim light
• Vitamin D – enhances absorption of calcium helping to maintain healthy teeth and bones
• Vitamin E – antioxidant
• Vitamin K – necessary for normal clotting of blood

Vitamin B compounds
• B1 – carbohydrate (CHO) metabolism
• B12 – maturation of red blood cells
• Other B vitamins, riboflavin, folic acid, nicotinic acid and pyridoxine between them are responsible for tissue growth, maturation of red blood cells, CHO and protein metabolism, aiding functioning of gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system
• Vitamin C – Needed for healthy bones and teeth, formation of red blood cells and aids production of antibodies to help fight infection

Mineral Salts
• Calcium – Hardening of bones and teeth, helps blood coagulation and contraction of muscles
• Phosphorus – Balance of body fluids, bones and teeth
• Sodium – cell activity (is present in all cells and tissue fluids)
• Potassium – maintains osmotic equilibrium
• Iron – essential for formation of haemoglobin in red blood cells
• Iodine – essential for formation of thyroxin

Water – Vital for all cell functions and chemical processes
• Dilutes and moistens food, aiding digestion
• Assists in regulating body temperature by evaporation of sweat
• Transports hormones and antibodies around the body
• Dilutes waste products and toxic substances
• Formation of urine and faeces
• Transportation of water soluble vitamins

About two thirds of our body weight is water!

Mary Leonard

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