Nutrition is an essential part of healthy living. Whether you know the specifics or not, you can make some pretty easy connections: vegetables and fruits are good for you, carbs give us energy, and eating poorly usually makes us feel unwell. When you take a closer look at just why these are true, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of what your body needs, not only to continue functioning but to maintain a quality of health that is simply impossible without more information.
Nutrition By The Numbers
Nutrition, at its very core, describes how food affects bodily health, and can be broken down into five main components.
- Protein: You always hear bodybuilders and exercise addicts talking about increasing their protein intake, and with good reason. Proteins are made of amino acids which aid in the growth, development, repair, and maintenance of body tissues like muscles; by helping immune cells fight inflammation and infection, a strong daily consumption of protein can help workout buffs continue to push themselves — and their bodies — harder. Fish, pork, chicken, beef, and legumes are all rich in protein.
- Carbohydrates: Carbs are another biggie in the exercise community, though they play a huge role in the average Joe’s life as well. Comprised of sugars and starches, they provide fuel in the form of energy. We (obviously) need energy to live our lives, but carbohydrates also help the body perform vital functions like keeping the heart beating, the temperature maintained, and digestion at a constant.
- Fat: We all know (and might hate) this one. Fats have a bad rep as the most common forms come processed and do nothing but harm us, but there are such things as dietary fats. They’re found in oils, coconut, milk, and cheese and play an important role: they provide structure to cells and cushion membranes to prevent damage. Dietary fats are also essential for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A (which helps maintain healthy eyes and lungs).
- Vitamins: Every advertisement you’ve ever seen for breakfast cereals boasts vitamins and minerals to get your day started off on the right foot. Because there are so many different kinds, they’re hard to explain as a category; they do everything from aiding energy production, wound healing, and bone formation to maintaining eye and skin health.
- Minerals: Minerals tend to be even more obscure and hard to grasp as a concept. Your body usually only needs trace amounts in order to benefit, but there are a vast number of them out there. For example, iron is a mineral that gives red blood cells the strength to carry oxygen to all of our organs, and is found in every single cell we possess.
Molybdenum And Mexico
The title mentions molybdenum and Mexico, so let’s get down to business! Molybdenum was recognized as an element in the 1700s and has a wide variety of uses in today’s world, many of them industrial in nature. Despite being one of the most obscure and unknown elements on the periodic table, it also plays a role in the body as an important mineral: it is known to trigger the function of enzymes essential to the synthesis of amino acids and aid in the metabolism of certain compounds. Specifically, it prevents the dangerous buildup of sulfites in the body (which can cause allergic reactions) and breaks down toxic aldehydes.
Where, oh where, can you find such an odd mineral, you ask? In Mexican food, of course! The cuisine is loaded with naturally occurring molybdenum-rich foods: beans — a staple in Mexican dishes — are known to contain more molybdenum per serving than any other food, and peppers and tomatoes are also chock-full of the stuff. Since Tex-Mex and Cal-Mex cuisine feature most of the same ingredients, you can find your daily dose of molybdenum in any of the southern and southwestern United States.