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You are what you eat!

We have all heard of this and it is more true today than ever before. Where our food comes from, how it is grown, how it is harvested, stored, and shipped has a huge impact on how good it is or isn’t for us. We haven’t even touched the type of food, how it is prepared and how our individual bodies react or respond to it.

Over the next few months we will be looking at this more closely. Right from what nutrition is, what we need and why we need it. Having this understanding will help us to make the decisions that is right for our families and our bodies.

Today we will look at the cells in our body. After all, our bodies are nothing more than basic stuff – cells, the same thing that makes up all the plants and animals on the planet. Cells are very small; most cells can only be seen through a microscope. Cells are the smallest living units that are capable of reproducing themselves. Each cell in your body was made from an already existing cell.

Your body has many different kinds of cells. Though they might look different under a microscope, most cells have chemical and structural features in common. In humans, there are about 200 different types of cells, and within these cells there are about 20 different types of structures or organelles.

You know that you need air to breathe. It is the oxygen in air that your body really needs. Every cell in your body needs oxygen to help it metabolize (burn) the nutrients released from food for energy. You also know that you need food. Food gives you energy, but oxygen is needed to break down the food into pieces that are small enough for your cells to use This is known as cellular respiration and it is the process of oxidizing food molecules, like glucose, to carbon dioxide and water. The energy released is chemically trapped for use by all the energy-consuming activities of the cell. Your cells are the energy converters for your body.

As you read these words, electricity is zinging through your brain, voracious killers are coursing through your veins and corrosive chemicals bubble from your head to your toes. In fact, your entire body is like an electrical company, chemical factory, transportation grid, communications network, detoxification facility, hospital and battlefield all rolled into one. The workers that drive these activities are your cells.

Human cells are a combination of water, proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and fats contained in a lipid-based membrane. The precise composition of human cells varies widely, depending on a given cell's function in the body.

The six nutrient groups that are needed for daily performance and healthy living are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. Ensuring a body has each of these every day guarantees optimum health. In subsequent articles we will study each group in detail.

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