Food mainly refers to all edible items. It is a basic necessity of life.
What is nutrition?
It is the science of food and its interaction in our body to promote & maintain good health.
What is the role of food in our body?
The food that we eat is composed of nutrients. These nutrients are the ones who perform all the vital activities within our body. They help in growth, development and maintenance of the body by providing energy required for the same.
What are nutrients?
Nutrients are the components of food that have specific sources and functions in our body. Nutrients can be divided into 2 classes – major nutrients and minor nutrients.
Major nutrients are the ones that provide energy and are found in plenty in diet, their sources are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Remaining nutrients like vitamins, minerals, etc. are known as minor nutrients as they do not provide energy however their role is extremely vital in maintaining good health. If they are not consumed in required amounts through diet, they can lead to several disorders.
What are the sources of these major and minor nutrients from daily foods?
Sources of major nutrients:
Sources of Carbohydrates: Cereals, pulses, roots and tubers, vegetables and fruits. Of these, cereals and pulses form about 60% of our diet consumption and are the major contributors of energy.
Sources of proteins: Milk and milk products, dals, pulses, soya, non veg sources like fish, chicken, mutton, etc. They contribute about 10 -15% of total energy.
Sources of fats: Oils, ghee, butter, margarine, cream, etc. They are the most concentrated sources of energy and as even when consumed in small quantities; they provide maximum calories.
Sources of minor nutrients:
Vitamin A : Deep green and orange coloured vegetables and fruits, milk, cheese, egg yolk, fish, organ meat, etc.
Vitamin D: fatty fish, fish liver oils, egg yolk, etc. The most easily available form of vitamin D is sunlight.
Vitamin E – vegetable oils, milk, butter, eggs, meat, etc.
Vitamin K – Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, and other green leafy vegetables like spinach, non veg sources like egg yolk, meat and dairy products.
Vitamin C – Gooseberry (avla), guava, green vegetables like cabbage, capsicum, etc
B complex vitamins – Milk and milk products like curd, eggs, whole cereals, pulses, fish, vegetables and fruits.
What kind of diet is required for healthy living?
Healthy living involves the ability of our body to perform all our daily activities without any discomfort or stress. In order to remain healthy, food is an extremely essential component.
For healthy living, all the above listed major and minor nutrients should be eaten regularly.
For an average adult individual, carbohydrates should comprise of nearly 50 – 60 % of the total diet consumption, proteins should comprise of 10 – 15% and fats of approximately 25-30%. This is an average distribution of major nutrients, however, its values change with age, conditions like pregnancy, lactation, etc and also in diseased states.
Herewith are some guidelines for healthy living:
Have minimum amount of sugar and recipes made from it.
Have minimum amount of maida based items like breads, cakes, biscuits, pizzas, pastas, noodles, etc
Have fats in moderation. Do not over eat items containing high amount of fats. Amongst fats, use better quality fats like vegetables oils, for example olive oil, groundnut oil, ricebran oil rather than butter, ghee, margarine or dalda.
Eat fresh fruits at least once daily. Avoid having fruit juices, especially canned or tinned ones.
Have vegetables and dals at least once daily.
Have milk or its products three times in a day.
Avoid having more than four cups of tea or coffee in a day.
Avoid having salty food items more often like wafers, chips, salted nuts, salted dry fruits, salted fish, etc.
Avoid washing vegetables after chopping them as this will lead to wastage of vital nutrients. Always wash first and then chop them.
While washing cereals or dals before cooking, avoid vigorous washing as this can wash off some of the vitamins.
Eat at regular intervals, avoid having long gaps between meals. Never skip meals.