|The food that you consume provides essential chemical compounds called nutrients . Nutrients are the things in foods that our body needs to stay healthy and grow. Various nutrients are required by human body to carry out its vital activities and to sustain life. Of these nutrients, micronutrients include protein, fat and carbohydrates. Good nutrition is a term synonymous with maintenance of healthy body. It is necessary to strike a balance between the quantity and quality of the diet so as to sustain adequate nourishment. As per the diet – no food is fattening, it is either too much or too little. So always eat a “Healthy balanced diet” which should have proper proportions of “Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat, Vitamins and Minerals”. Never go for complete fat-free-diet because Vitamin ADEK are fat soluble vitamins which are very important for bony growth of the body and development of body.|
• Importance of Proteins
Much of the body’s structure is made up of proteins. The typical 80 Kg. man is composed of about 50 Kg. of water, 15 Kgs.of protein, 12 Kgs. of fat, 2.5 Kgs. of minerals, 500 gms.of carbohydrates and less than 30 gms. of vitamins. Since the muscles, heart, brain, lungs etc. are made up largely of proteins which are in constant need of replacement, protein power and the importance of protein foods are obvious. Protein is the basic chemical unit of the living cell, essential for their nutrition, growth and repair, and to provide heat and energy.
|1 gram of protein yields 4 kcal. It is the body building material and as antibodies it helps the body to defend against infection. It is an essential component of the diet, especially during the growing years of infant and children, for fetal development during pregnancy and for lactating mothers. Protein foods contain all of the necessary amino acids required for proper nourishment.|
|Use the following chart to help select foods that are good sources of protein:|
|* A 3 ounce serving of beef (or chicken) is about the size of a deck of cards.|
|Importance of Carbohydrates|
Carbohydrates contain the important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are essential to our health and that help prevent heart disease and cancer. Unrefined carbohydrates are good one found in whole, natural foods, such as whole grains, legumes, rice, and starchy vegetables. They’re also called complex carbohydrates, so named for their molecular structure. Besides being packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, good carbs take longer to digest.
|Refined carbohydrates, on the other hand, are found in packaged processed foods, such as store-bought baked goods, crackers, pasta, and white bread. Refined carbohydrates are made with white flour and contain little or no fiber. In fact, many products made with white flour are advertised as fortified with vitamins and minerals. But current evidence reveals that fortification with vitamins does not recreate the benefits of the natural vitamins that have been removed.|
|Foods rich in Carbohydrates:|
|Importance of Fats|
Fat is an important part of a healthy diet. It is the most concentrated source of energy of all the food compounds. There’s more and more evidence that many fats are good for us and actually reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. They also help our sugar and insulin metabolism and therefore contribute to our goals of long-term weight loss and weight maintenance. Within our body fats are vital as they are carriers of vitamin A,D,E and K and act as lubricant to help in bowel movement. And because good fats make foods taste better, they help us enjoy the journey to a healthier lifestyle. But not all fats are created equal–there are good fats and bad fats.
“Good” fats include monounsaturated fats, found in olive and canola oils, peanuts and other nuts, peanut butter, and avocados. Monounsaturated fats lower total and “bad” LDL cholesterol–which accumulates in and clogs artery walls–while maintaining levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which carries cholesterol from artery walls and delivers it to the liver for disposal.
|Omega-3 fatty acids–polyunsaturated fats found in coldwater fish, canola oil, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts–also count as good fat. There is evidence that omega-3 oils help prevent or treat depression, arthritis, asthma, and colitis and help prevent cardiovascular deaths.|
If you’re not eating fish, it is important that you eat foods with alpha-linolenic acid, a type of fat that can be converted into omega-3 fats in your body. The richest sources of alpha-linolenic acid are flaxseed oil, English walnuts, canola oil and soy oil.
“Bad” fats include saturated fats–the heart-clogging kind found in butter, fatty red meats, and full-fat dairy products. “Very bad” fats are the manmade trans fats. Trans fats, which are created when hydrogen gas reacts with oil, are found in many packaged foods, including margarine, cookies, cakes, cake icings, doughnuts, and potato chips. Trans fats are worse than saturated fats; they are bad for our blood vessels, nervous systems, and waistline.
High fat foods:
|Fatty acids in oils or fats:|
|Quantity of cholesterol you consume per plate:|
|Importance of fiber|
Fiber is very good for health, it can help prevent certain types of cancer such as colon and stomach cancer and can also lower your cholesterol level. It helps a lot to digestive system and stops the harmful toxins hanging around the body. People who eat more fiber are less likely to become overweight. It satisfies the appetite because of its capacity to make you “feel full.”so choose fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and oats and low fat nuts and seeds as snacks instead of high caloried snacks. Make fibre a main part of your meals. Try to have soups without straining, it may take some time for taste development. When you cut fat out of your diet, try replacing it with fiber. Fiber adds bulk to food, so you chew longer, eat more slowly, and feel full sooner.
|Sources of fiber:|
|Importance of Vitamins|
They are the micronutrients since they are required in small quantities, but nonetheless availability in our diet is vital.
Vitamins are organic substances present in small amounts in many foods. They are required for carrying out vital functions of the body and many of them are involved in the utilization of major nutrients like proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Although they are needed in small amounts, they are essential for the health and well being of the body.
|Fat soluble Vitamins:|
• Vitamin A
Water soluble Vitamins:
• Vitamin B
|Importance of Minerals|
A large number of minerals are present in the body. Some of these form part of body structural components and some others act as catalytic agents in many body reactions.
Calcium is an element found in bones, shells and limestone, among other materials.
• helps lower blood pressure and control heartbeat
Your bones furnish reserves of calcium to keep plasma constant at all times.
100 milligrams of calcium:
• Cottage cheese — 3/4 cup low-fat or creamed
A calcium intake of up to 2,500 milligrams is safe for healthy people.
Phosphorus is a mineral. It is a major component of bones and teeth and makes up part of DNA and RNA.
Phosphorus serves as the main regulator of energy metabolism in cells, helps the body absorb glucose and transport fatty acids, and is part of the buffer system that helps control the acid-base balance of the body.
Good Sources of Phosphorus:
|Deficiencies of phosphorus are rare. Most men get at least 1,500 milligrams and women get more than 1,000 milligrams a day.|
Iron is part of haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of the blood. Iron-deficient people get tired easily because their bodies are starved for oxygen. Iron is also part of myoglobin, which helps muscle cells store oxygen. Without enough iron, ATP (the fuel the body runs on) cannot be properly synthesized. As a result, some iron-deficient people become fatigued even when their hemoglobin levels are normal. Although iron is part of the antioxidant enzyme catalase, iron is not generally considered an antioxidant, because too much iron can cause oxidative damage.
The most absorbable form of iron, called “haeme” iron, is found in oysters, meat, poultry, and fish. Non-haeme iron is also found in these foods, as well as in dried fruit, molasses, leafy green vegetables, wine, and most iron supplements. Acidic foods (such as tomato sauce) cooked in an iron pan can also be a source of dietary iron.
A common adult dose is 100 mg per day. When iron deficiency is diagnosed, the doctor must also determine the cause. Usually it’s not serious (such as normal menstrual blood loss or blood donation). Occasionally, however, iron deficiency signals ulcers or even colon cancer. Many premenopausal women become marginally iron deficient unless they supplement with iron. Even so, the 18 mg of iron present in most multiple-vitamin/mineral supplements is often adequate.
Healthy American adults should eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. This is about 1 teaspoon of sodium chloride (salt). To illustrate, the following are sources of sodium in the diet.
|Common sources of sodium|
When you must reduce the amount of sodium (salt) you eat, be aware of both natural and added sodium content. Table salt is sodium chloride. It’s 40 percent sodium by weight. When you buy prepared and packaged foods, read the labels. Watch for the words “soda” (referring to sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda) and “sodium” and the symbol “Na.” These products contain sodium compounds.
Some drugs have high amounts of sodium. Carefully read the labels on all over-the-counter drugs. Look at the ingredient list and warning statement to see if the product has sodium. A statement of sodium content must be on labels of antacids that have 5 mg or more per dosage unit (tablet, teaspoon, etc.). Some companies are now producing low-sodium over-the-counter products. If in doubt, ask your doctor or pharmacist if the drug is OK for you.
Most spices naturally contain very small amounts of sodium.
How to reduce the sodium in diet?
• Choose fresh, frozen or canned food items without added salts.
Potassium is a trace mineral essential for growth and good health.
Potassium in the human body helps to:
• keep normal water balance between the cells and body fluids
Potassium Content of Foods:
|Daily consumption of 2,000 to 6,000 milligrams of potassium is a safe range for the general population|