How to Explain Basic Nutrition Concepts

Use these illustrations when helping train central american communities. You can download and print life-size versions by clicking on the thumbnail-size versions below .
 runner illustration: Runner Illustration: Blocks Illustration: Blocks Illustration:
illustration of child running to depict energy example of build up blocks to depict protein and other nutrients

Flex Muscle Illustration: Flex Muscle Illustration: Grow Up Illustration: Grow Up Illustration:
example of child flexing muscleman to depict protein exemplification of goodly growth and development
Blood Drop Illustration: Blood Drop Illustration: Skeleton Illustration: Skeleton Illustration: human skeleton
illustration of “ potent ” rake to depict iron and other nutrients illustration of “ glad ” skeletal system to depict calcium and other nutrients
Eye Illustration: Eye Illustration:
illustration of eye to depict vitamin A and early nutrients

According to a 2015 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics survey of health professionals with feel in Central America, populations in developing areas of this region miss basic cognition of biology and physiology. Beginning with a discussion of basic health concepts and then explaining how nutriment affects our bodies is a adept scheme .

Explaining Organ Functions

  • Lungs: provide oxygen to blood
  • Heart: circulates blood throughout the body
  • Stomach: helps digest food
  • Intestines: absorb nutrients from food
  • Liver: removes toxins from blood and processes nutrients from food
  • Kidneys: filter blood of waste and extra fluid

Explaining Nutrition

nutrition is how food affects the health of the torso. Food is essential—it provides vital nutrients for survival, and helps the body function and stay healthy. Food is comprised of macronutrients including protein, carbohydrate and fat that not entirely offer calories to fuel the body and give it energy but play particular roles in maintaining health. Food besides supplies micronutrients ( vitamins and minerals ) and phytochemicals that do n’t provide calories but serve a variety of critical functions to ensure the consistency operates optimally .

Explaining Macronutrients: Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat

Protein : Found in gripe, pork, chicken, game and violent meats, fish and seafood, eggs, soybeans and other legumes included in traditional Central America cuisine, protein provides the body with amino acids. Amino acids are the build blocks of proteins which are needed for emergence, development, and repair and care of torso tissues. Protein provides structure to muscleman and cram, repairs tissues when damaged and helps immune cells battle inflammation and contagion.

Carbohydrates : The main role of a carbohydrate is to provide energy and fuel the body the lapp way gasoline fuels a car. Foods such as corn, chayote, beans, plantains, rice, tortilla, potatoes and other settle vegetables such as yucca, bread and fruit deliver sugars or starches that provide carbohydrates for energy .
Energy allows the body to do day by day activities arsenic bare as walk and talking and a complex as running and moving heavy objects. Fuel is needed for growth, which makes sufficient fuel particularly authoritative for growing children and fraught women. even at rest, the body needs calories to perform full of life functions such as maintaining body temperature, keeping the heart beat and digesting food .
Fat : dietary fat, which is found in oils, coconut, nuts, milk, cheese, kernel, domestic fowl and fish, provides structure to cells and cushions membranes to help prevent damage. Oils and fats are besides substantive for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin A, a food important for healthy eyes and lungs .

Explaining Micronutrients: Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are food components that help support overall health and play significant roles in cell metabolism and neurological functions .
Vitamins aid in energy output, wound bring around, bone geological formation, immunity, and eye and skin health .
Minerals help maintain cardiovascular health and provide structure to the skeleton .
Consuming a poise diet including fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein foods and whole or enrich grains helps ensure the body has enough of nutrients to use. Providing a few examples of particular micronutrient functions can enhance the effectiveness of nutrition education :

  • Vitamin A helps the eyes to see
  • Calcium and magnesium help muscles and blood vessels relax, preventing cramps and high blood pressure
  • Vitamin C helps wounds heal and the body’s ability to fight off germs
  • Iron helps the blood transport oxygen throughout the body and prevents anemia

Explaining the Concept of Nutrients as Building Blocks

build blocks include protein for growing babies in utero, for child and adolescent growth, and for repairing damaged skin, blood, and other body parts in adults who are n’t growing. Some parts of the body are replaced regularly, like blood and clamber, sol even adults are building raw body parts regularly. calcium is besides a build blocking for build bones. Iron is a building parry for blood. Since blood cells only final a few months, the body constantly needs more iron and protein to make new rake.

Using Metaphors to Explain Nutrition

According to register dietician nutritionists with experience teaching nutriment in developing areas of Central America, metaphors and childlike concepts are useful in teaching basic nutriment. An example of this could be conveying foods deep in carbohydrate as “ go ” foods, protein-rich foods as “ turn ” foods and colorful grow as “ burn ” foods. Health educators should emphasize that good nutriment requires eating at least one serve of these three types of food at each meal :

Foods Simple Concept of Function
Carbohydrate-rich foods Fuel
Protein-rich foods Building blocks
Fruits and Vegetables Helpers and protectors

Using Illustrations to Convey Basic Nutrition Concepts

Using actual local foods for hands-on meal plan and for teaching food categories helps low-literacy adults and children to understand nutriment. Health educators should try to acquire local foods to use in nutriment education in addition to laminated illustrations .
due to minimal literacy among cardinal Americans, illustrations are a important as words in all ocular materials. The following are examples of symbols that can represent the three basic reasons why the body needs a variety show of foods :

Symbol Representing Function
Running child Food as fuel and carbohydrate for energy
Children stacking blocks Food and protein as building blocks
Child flexing muscle Protein for growth and strength
Growing child Growth made possible by good nutrition
Blood droplet Healthy blood made possible by eating iron-rich foods
Skeleton Healthy bones made possible by eating calcium-rich foods
Eye Healthy eyes made possible by eating foods containing vitamins A, C, E, zinc and phytochemicals
Food rainbow Vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that serve as “helpers and protectors” and to help the body “glow”

Additional Resources

  • Annigan J, Media D.What Does Food Provide in the Human Body. SF Gate. Accessed February 14, 2016
  • Hoy-Rosas J, Arrecis E, Avila M. Central American Food Practices. In Goody C, Drago L. Cultural Food Practices. United States of America. American Dietetic Association; 2010: 54-67.
  • Hoy-Rosas J, Arrecis E, Avila M. Central American Food Practices. In Goody C, Drago L. Cultural Food Practices. United States of America. American Dietetic Association; 2010: 54-67.
  • Mahan, L. Kathleen., Escott-Stump Sylvia., Raymond, Janice L. Krause, Marie V., eds. Krause’s Food & The Nutrition Care Process. 13th ed. St. Louis, MO. Elsevier/Saunders, 2012.
  • Nelms Marcia, Sucher Kathryn P, Roth Sara, Lacey, eds. Nutrition Therapy Pathophysiology. 2nd edition. Belmont, CA. Cengage Learning, 2010.
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