Food provides us with what we need to live, as long as we know its properties and how often and in what quantity we must include them in our daily diet. Eating is pleasant, nurturing is a preventive task of the first order and does not have to contradict itself with pleasure.
Good nutrition is characterized by the adequate intake of good quality food. It is one that satisfies the organic needs and repairs the plastic and energetic losses of the body.
The food we need:
Much of our health depends on the food we eat. A diet must contain the nutrients that the body requires to live balanced. They are: water, minerals, carbohydrates, they charge to provide energy for the growth, the recovery of the tissues and the regulation of the activities of the body.
Clear guidelines on food:
Dr. Pedro Escudero (1877-1963), Argentine nutritionist doctor, established guidelines for a healthy diet, which are valid today.
Amount: the food must be sufficient to supply the amount of calories we need and maintain the balance of the balance, which is the relationship between what enters and what is lost.
Quality: the diet must be complete. This means that it will contain all the essential substances that we mentioned.
Harmony: different foods must keep a certain proportion between their quantities.
Adequacy: the diet will be sufficient, complete, harmonious and appropriate to each organism, taking into account the age, sex, health status and activity.
Liquids or fats – organic compounds – their function provide energy and participate in the development of cell membranes.
Carbohydrates or carbohydrates – organic compounds – their function provide energy and participate in the development of cell membranes.
Proteins – organic compounds – their function regulates the functions of the organism. They activate growth. They allow the absorption and fixation of mineral substances.
Vitamins – organic compounds – their function intervenes in the formation, growth and repair of tissues. They act as function regulators. They are part of the tissues.
Mineral salts – inorganic compounds – their function regulate metabolic processes.
How is energy measured?
The energy we need to live is measured in calories or kilocalories. Foods have different caloric values, according to the nutrients they contain. Let’s see:
1 gram of carbohydrates: 4 calories.
1 gram of protein: 4 calories.
1 gram of fat: 9 calories.
How many daily calories do we need?
There is no single diet for all people. The food requirements are different according to age, activity and health conditions. What is important is an idea that contains all the essential nutrients and in sufficient quantity.
The daily amount of calories our body needs to stay healthy varies according to different factors.
Age: the caloric intake needed in the first years of life is higher than that of adulthood, since in childhood there are caloric requirements for the normal growth and development of the body (bones and muscles do not stop growing) ; as well as to replenish the energy that children spend on physical activity. As for adults, as our age progresses, the composition of the body varies. Thus, although we stay at the same weight, we lose muscle and gain fat; that’s why it’s important to stay active and perform sports, walks and physical exercises.
Sex: women need fewer calories than men, since their body composition is different. They have a greater amount of fatty tissue, which requires less energy to be maintained than muscle tissue. In contrast, the man has more muscle mass, with which the calories to maintain it must be increased.
Activity: is the main factor that can vary the amount of calories we need daily. If we increase physical activity, our need for calories increases.
Biological Moment: the needs of calories increase during pregnancy and lactation. To normally cover the energy requirements of the mother and the baby, the caloric intake should be moderately increased by a total of 84,000 more calories, which will be distributed on a regular basis between the 20th and 30th trimesters of pregnancy. During lactation, the increase in calories will be higher to ensure proper milk production.
Health Status: Calorie needs increase in certain conditions such as fever, burns, hyperthyroidism, surgery, etc