Many people do not realize that energy received from sunlight plays an important role in metabolism and life processes. When plants receive sunlight, they receive energy. Plants also have chlorophyll, which, when combined with the energy from sunlight, is used to start a process called photosynthesis. This is where carbon dioxide and water are combined to build sugars.
When you eat plants, or you eat meat from an animal that consumes plants, the sugars created in the plant are consumed as well. Once the sugars are eaten, your body will break them down in a process called catabolism, and release the energy, which is then used in the process called anabolism to build cells and tissues needed by the body.
During the catabolism phase, the plant material is broken down by enzymes. These enzymes will break the components down to their basic level. Fats are then broken down into individual fatty acids, protein becomes essential amino acids and complex sugars and carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars.
During the anabolism phase, the consumed plant material containing the energy that was received from sunlight is used to build tissues for growth or repair.
Metabolism consists of these two processes. Both start at conception and continue until death. Humans are not the only creatures to have metabolism. Every living thing must have metabolic processes in order to grow and survive.
Anabolism is often called constructive metabolism, and catabolism is often called destructive metabolism. This is because one builds up the body while the other tears it down.
Energy received from the sun is critical for the cells that make up plants of all varieties and types, and this sunlight energy is used to allow the plant to utilize simple compounds including phosphate, nitrogen, sulfur, and others, along with carbon dioxide to build up more complex units. The plant will store energy received from sunlight in the plant cells, usually in the form of simple and complex carbohydrates. Humans and animals do not receive any energy benefits from sunlight directly, but benefits do result secondhand when large varieties of fruits, vegetables and other plants are included in the daily diet.
Cells are constantly tearing down and building up in the body through metabolism. Energy is essential for the metabolic process to function. Plants can be an important part of this with energy received from sunlight. Plants are one of the best sources of energy available, which is one of the reasons that they are listed high in the recommended nutritional guidelines for both children and adults.
Understanding your metabolism and the various energy sources available, including energy received from sunlight by eating plants, will help you make better eating choices.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
It can be extremely difficult in the wintertime to stay happy and not depressed at all, seriously? I love when the winter is over and the sunlight can finally come back out, the sunlight is such a natural energy booster, it rocks!March 22nd, 2009 at 12:39 am
Do you get tired in the winter and feel like hibernating? Someone told me that part of that is because we don't get enough sunlight. I believe it. And I try to walk even in the winter to boost my metabolism.February 3rd, 2009 at 11:42 pm