Thursday, April 9, 2009


As a future health care worker, I really need to get these down, for my patients sake and for my own as well. This information is summarized from Nutrition for Life.
  • Lipids:
Made of C, H, O. Include fats. Good fats =unsaturated fats. Mono-unsaturated fats 1) raise the level of High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL), aka "good cholesterol," which carry cholesterol from the tissues back to the liver. 2) develop less free radicals when heated, during cooking. Free radicals damage cells/tissues->disease.

Poly-unsaturated fats include Omega-3 & Omega-6 essential fatty acids.

Lipids form cell membranes, are a good energy source, aid in insulation and absorption of fat soluble vitamins from foods.
  • Protein:
Made of C, H, O, N. Every cell in the body, whether it be apart of the bones, skin, muscles, organs has its own unique set of proteins that help it perform its necessary functions. Proteins provide cell: structure, growth, repair, maintenance. It can be an enzyme, hormone, antibody, etc.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. 9/20 AA are essential. Essential=body cannot self-synthesize.
  • Carbohydrates:
Made of C, H, O...chains of sugar molecules. Great source of energy. Glucose used by most cells, including brain cells for energy. Used to build the nonessential amino acids, process fats, build cartilage, bone, nervous system tissues.

Simple carbohydrates have 1-2 sugar molecules. Monosaccharides (ex: glucose-in blood, fructose-in fruits, galactose-in dairy). Disaccharides (ex: sucrose, lactose-in milk)

Complex carbohydrates, aka polysaccharides include starch-in potatoes, glycogen-body's stored energy source, dietary fiber.

Dietary fiber is obtained solely from plants. Soluble fiber (dissolves in water) slows the breakdown of complex carbs; blood has less dramatic sugar spikes and you feel fuller longer. It binds cholesterol to the stool thereby reducing cholesterol levels.

Insoluble fiber is not easily absorbed by the body. It cleans the GI tract and promotes regular bowel movements, by drawing water into the stools, making them larger and easier to pass.
  • Vitamins:
Naturally occuring chemicals, found in all foods. Essential for normal growth/development, and for chemical reactions in the body. Processes proteins, carbs, fats; builds cells/tissues/organs.

Some vitamins are antioxidants (neutralizers of free radicals).

Ex: Vit A, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Vit E.
  • Minerals:
Found in rocks, plants (b/c they uptake soil), meat (b/c they eat plants). Aid in make/break body tissues, regulating metablosim (body's chemical reactions). Stored in bones and readily released during dietary deficiencies.

Ex: Calcium, Phosphorus, Zinc.
  • Phytochemicals:
Protective chemicals found in plants. Decrease risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers. Similar to antioxidants.

Ex: carotenoids, flavonoids, lycopene, phenols.
  • Sources of All of the Above:
1. Bread/cereal/grain: contains valuable source of carbohydrates and fiber

2. Vegetables: vital source of vitamins, minerals, fiber

3. Fruits: good source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, phytochemicals

4. Milk/dairy: important source of protein, vitamins, minerals (esp Ca2+)

5. Protein sources (like meat, poultry, fish, plant proteins-peanuts): for protein's sake!

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