JOAN CARTAN-HANSEN: Nutrition is the process of taking in and using food. Plants get their nutrients, the materials needed for growth from the soil and the air. We get our nutrients from food.
When you eat your teeth grind food up and mixes it with saliva. The food goes down the esophagus, into the stomach where it's turned into a thick liquid. Nutrients in that liquid are absorbed through the small intestine into your blood stream and that's how your body gets the energy it needs to move and grow.
CHILD: There's so many choices. How do i know what to eat?
JOAN: Well, it's important to eat a good variety of foods because different foods give your body different things. There are six basic nutrients - protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.
CHILD: Proteins are called the body's building blocks.
JOAN: Proteins build and repair your muscles, skin brain, blood, bones and internals organs. You'll find proteins in meat, eggs, milk, cheese and in plants like beans, peas, nuts and grains.
CHILD: Carbohydrates are the body's primary fuel.
JOAN: Simple carbohydrates like sugar and candy give us quick energy but no real nutrients. Complex carbohydrates like breads, pasta, tortillas and some vegetables like potatoes give us longer more lasting energy. Complex carbohydrates also contain fiber. That helps carry bad chemicals and excess material out of the body.
CHILD: Fats give us energy.
JOAN: Fats also help store vitamins in the body and protect important organs. But not all fats are good for us. It's important to eat small amounts of the right kinds of fats like olive or canola oil.
CHILD: Vitamins help our bodies use carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
JOAN: Vitamins also give us healthy skin, help our blood clot, boost our immune system and help our eyes to see. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins.
CHILD: Minerals help our bodies function properly and water helps our bodies metabolize or digest the foods we eat. clink:
JOAN: Water keeps things moving through our system. Water also helps us regulate our body's temperature and it brings nutrients to the cells and takes the cells' waste away. No single food can supply all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy so it's important to eat a wide variety of foods and it's important not to eat too much food or too many sweets or sodas. Candy and pop fill you up so you aren't hungry for healthy food. The key is finding the right balance.