The important role of nutrition and diet in overall health is widely recognized. As a member of the Navy, and as a Dental Technician, you must be healthy so you can perform your professional duties. Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle starts with eating a well- balanced diet and exercising. Many people in the Navy and Marine Corps do not have a proper daily diet and you may be responsible for providing counseling on nutrition to your dental patients. Some patients may need a little motivation. If you are healthy and enthusiastic, the knowledge you share with them on nutrition and diet may be more credible and may help them to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
An essential nutrient is defined as one that must be provided by food because the body cannot synthesize it at a rate sufficient to meet our needs.Nutrients can be divided into six main classes: carbohydrates, fat, protein, minerals, vitamins, and water. Good food sources contain substantial amounts of nutrients in relation to caloric contents and contribute at least 10 percent of U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance for the nutrient in the selected serving size. Most of us can get enough of these nutrients each day by eating a variety of foods from the five major food groups. The six classes of nutrients are described as follows:
Carbohydrates include starches, sugars and dietary fiber. Starch and sugar supply the body with energy. Dietary fiber provides bulk to the diet, which promotes regularity.
Proteins are the building blocks of the body. Proteins are needed for growth, maintenance, and replacement of body cells. They also form hormones and enzymes used to regulate body processes. Extra protein is used to supply energy or is changed into body fat.
Fats provide energy and help carry fat soluble vitamins. Fats also add flavor to foods. Some fats help form cell membranes and hormones.
Vitamins are organic substances needed by the body in very small amounts. They do not supply energy, but help release energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They also help in other chemical reactions in the body.
Minerals are inorganic compounds found in foods, body structures, and compounds in the body that regulate body processes.Minerals are also needed in relatively small amounts and do not supply energy. Minerals are used to build strong bones and teeth, and to make hemoglobin in red blood cells. They help maintain body fluids and help other chemical reactions in the body.
Water is often called the "forgotten nutrient." It is needed to replace body fluids lost in urine and sweat. Water helps to transport nutrients, remove waste, and regulate body temperature.
One gram of carbohydrates provides four calories. A calorie is not a nutrient. It is a measure of the energy supplied by food when it is used by the body. Complex carbohydrates, such as starches, are in breads, cereals, pasta, rice, dry beans and peas, and other vegetables, such as potatoes and corn.
Simple carbohydrates are found in sugars, honey, syrup, jam, and many desserts. Sugar can contribute to tooth decay and should be used in moderation.
One gram of protein provides 4 calories. Protein is found in both animals and plants. All protein is made up of small building blocks called amino acids. There are approximately 20 amino acids. Our body can make all but 9 of these. The 9 that we can't make are called "essential amino acids." We must get them from food, and we need all 9 at one time so our body can function properly. The only foods that contain all 9 are animal foods (meat, milk, eggs, etc.). For this reason, animal foods are called "complete" proteins. Plants (grains such as rice, corn, beans, and wheat) each contain several but not all 9 essential amino acids.Continue Reading