Term Paper: Nutrition Is the Study of the Organic

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Nutrition is the study of the organic process by which an organism assimilates and uses food and liquids for normal functioning, growth and maintenance and to maintain the balance between health and disease (Nutrition pp). Today, it is common knowledge that "you are what you eat," however, as recently as the 1960's the medical community claimed that nutrition had little to do with health (Nutrition pp).

It was believed that knowledge about the elements of food, such as the nature and role of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, was enough, and food was seen as the fuel humans needed to stay alive (Nutrition pp). Then came a series of discoveries that have revealed knowledge gaps concerning the role of food in health and proper functioning (Nutrition pp).

There are thousands of phytochemicals in food, each performing an essential role in the proper functioning of bodies (Nutrition pp). Enzymes also play an important part in nutrition, acting as a chemical catalysts in food and are also produced in the digestive system, playing a vital role in all the metabolic activity in the body (Nutrition pp). Antioxidants are another recent discovery, and it has been found that burning energy often causes damaging side effects on cells, and certain food elements such as vitamin C are seen to be vital in protecting against the aging effect of this oxidizing damage (Nutrition pp). The balance of essential fatty acids has been discovered to play a crucial role in maintaining good health, and includes omega 3 and omega 6 oils and minimizing hydrogenated fats that contain heavy metals (Nutrition pp). Moreover, emerging evidence suggests that phytoestrogens in food are related to the avoidance of metabolic syndrome, the regulation of cholesterol, and maintenance of bone density (Nutrition pp). It is now known that the human digestion system contains a population of a range of bacteria that are essential to digestion and are also affected by the food we eat (Nutrition pp).

Increasing complexity means that nutrition researchers today advocate a holistic approach, and admit that there are many nutrients and other factors which they do not know enough about, and that most foods contain most types of nutrients in various proportion (Nutrition pp). Needs are best met by eating a wide variety of fresh, unprocessed and un-manufactured food (Nutrition pp).

During the post World War II years, non-communicable endemic illnesses began to flourish, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity (Nutrition pp). These illnesses are usually recognized as being caused by lifestyle issues, including poor nutrition and low levels of exercise, yet despite this knowledge, the peak of the epidemic remains (Nutrition pp). Many blame this to the excess of refined carbohydrates, fewer vegetables and fruit and the wrong types of fat in the diet, while others blame the popularity of fast food restaurants (Nutrition pp).

Illness can be the result of an imbalance of nutrients, producing either an excess or deficiency that in turn affects body functioning, or the body can be affected at the micro or macro levels by nutrition, high energy levels can promote health through frequent activity (Nutrition pp).

The Importance of Proper Exercise

Frequent and regular physical exercise is important to develop and maintain physical fitness and overall health, and is necessary in the prevention of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, and maladies such as high blood pressure, depression and insomnia (Exercise pp).

Exercises are generally grouped into three types, flexibility, aerobic and anaerobic (Exercise pp). Flexibility exercises, such as stretching and yoga, improve the range of motion of the muscles and joints (Exercise pp). Aerobic exercises, such as jogging, walking, running, focus on increasing cardiovascular endurance (Exercise pp). Anaerobic exercises, such as weightlifting, increase short-term muscle strength (Exercise pp).

Exercise is an important part of physical therapy, weight loss or sports performance, and when exercising it is important to maintain a good diet to ensure the body has the correct ratio of macro-nutrients while providing amply micro-nutrients, to aid the body with the recovery process following strenuous exercise (Exercise pp). Exercise bulimia is a disorder in which too many calories purged from the body through exercising (Exercise pp). It is important to note that "delayed onset muscle soreness" can occur after any kind of exercise, especially if the body is in an unconditioned states relative to that exercise (Exercise pp).

List of activities used as physical exercises include: aerobics, calisthenics, cycling, dancing, pilates, rowing, running, sport, stretching, walking, warming up, weight training, and yoga (Exercise pp). Classes of physical exercise include aerobic, anaerobic, endurance, high-density, high-intensity interval training, and resistance training (Exercise pp). Some activities fall into more than one class, for example, cycling can be used for endurance or high-intensity interval training, and weightlifting is resistance training and also high-density exercise (Exercise pp).

There are many common myths surrounding exercise, some of which have a basis in reality, while others are simply false (Exercise pp). For example some believe that doing sit-ups is the best way to reduce belly fat, however, this is not true, sit-ups may improve the size and shape of core muscles and reduce the appearance of belly fat, however, the belly fat will often be the last fat removed from the body, because most of the energy derived from fat gets to the muscle through the bloodstream and reduces stored fat in the entire body (Exercise pp). Another myth is that only overweight people or people in ill health need to consult a physician before beginning an exercise program (Exercise pp). Even apparently healthy people may have unknown medical conditions, such as a heart murmur, that can cause severe injury or death (Exercise pp).

Active exhalation during exercise helps the body to increase its maximum lung capacity and oxygen uptake, resulting in greater cardiac efficiency because the heart has to work less to oxygenate the muscles, and increased muscular efficiency through greater blood flow (Exercise pp).

Negative Side Effects of Smoking

Tobacco use is one of the major causes of preventable death. Smoking increases the chance of heart attacks and a variety of cancers and increases the metabolic rate, thus reducing a smoker's weight (Cigarettes pp). Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and underweight babies (Cigarettes pp). Cigarette smoking is one of the major causes of lung cancer, the leading cause of death among smokers, as well as other lung disorders, such as emphysema (Cigarette pp). The absolute risk of lung cancer from smoking is roughly one in eight, however, the exact risk level varies depending on intensity and duration of use (Cigarette pp).

Cigarette smoking kills approximately 430,000 people a year, making it more lethal than AIDS, automobile accidents, homicides, suicides, drug overdoses, and fires combined (What pp). Smoking reduces the life expectancy of the smoker by fifteen to twenty-five years (What pp). According to one study, only forty-two percent of male lifelong smokers reached the age of seventy-three compared to seventy-eight percent of nonsmokers (What pp).

Health costs due to smoking related illnesses are roughly $130 billion a year (What pp). Moreover, smoking is thought to be more dangerous today than thirty years ago because the lower tar and nicotine levels in most cigarette brands cause people to inhale more deeply (What pp).

The smoke is the most dangerous component of the cigarette, as it contains nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide, both harmful gases (What pp). Furthermore, when people inhale, they are also bringing tar into their lungs, which in itself contains some four thousand chemicals, such as cyanide, benzene, formaldehyde, methanol, acetylene, and ammonia (What pp).

People who are exposed to second-hand or side-stream smoke are also at risk for health issues, because the smoke that is exhaled not only contains the same dangerous contaminants as the inhaled smoke, but the exhaled smoke particles are smaller, thus, they can reach distant sites in the lungs of involuntary or passive smoker and do great harm (What pp).

Smokers in their thirties and forties have a heart-attack rate that is five times higher than non-smokers of the same age (What pp). An estimated 62,000 deaths from heart disease each year may be directly related to cigarette smoking (What pp). Female smokers have a heart attack risk that is about fifty percent greater than male smokers (What pp).

Smokers have higher rates of leukemia and cancers of the kidney, stomach, pancreas and bladder, and studies indicate a link between long-term smoking and an increased risk for colon and rectal cancer (What pp). Tar found in the lungs of smokers can cause specific DNA damage that is difficult for the cell to repair, and the chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, found in the smoke, can lead to specific genetic mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene (What pp).

Negative Side Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol abuse can affect nearly every organ system in the body and every aspect of the person's life (Negative pp). It can cause disease such as cirrhosis of the liver and aggravate existing condition such as… [END OF PREVIEW]

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