Health is definitely wealth. Healthy diet does not depend on the quantity of food but on variety and the right mix of different types of nutrients required by the body. It is not just the quality of good nutritious food that is the key to good health but how much of absorption of that nutrition is done by the body. Exercise and mental health hold the key to good health along with a balanced nutritious meal. Good health is about making a healthy choice of what and how much to eat, what is required for the body and what is appeasing to the taste buds.
Among the various factors affecting health, the single most important is food. And it can be most easily controlled and corrected with rewarding results. What we need to know about food.
Diet . The content of the different nutrients that we take.
Digestion. The process of breaking down of the food into simpler parts, so that it can be absorbed in the blood and circulated in the whole body
Nutrition. What is going to nourish us towards better health? How food influences our body after it gets absorbed.
Knowledge of diet, digestive process and nutrition leads to a new way of life, involving conscious eating.
Food has primarily two constituents.
Calories are the energy content of the food required by the body to carry out all activities. It is measured in kilocalories. Calories requirement vary with age sex and activity level. Normally men need 2450 calories and women need 1800 calories a day .
Nutrients are the nourishing substances present in food.
a. Macronutrients are those needed in large quantities
b. Micronutrients are those needed in small quantities.
Carbohydrates are a major constituent of the diet of people worldwide. Typical indient food has 70% carbohydrates. These are Sugar, Starch and Fibers.
a. Repair and replacement of worn-out parts
b.Hormones and enzymes are both made of protein
c. Proteins are a source of energy
d. Proteins as antibodies help the body by defending it from infections caused by bacteria and viruses.
The daily requirement of protein is .8-1gm per kilogram of the body weight. Proteins are present in pulses and grams, cereals, nuts and milk products.
Fats are required by the body for the following function
a. They are a concentrated form of energy
b.They increase the taste of food and give shape to the body.
c.They protect the body organs from shocks and injury.
d.Fat help transportation of fat soluble vitamins, provide essential fatty fatty acids EFA, which have vitamin like functions. They are necessary for growth in the body. They boost the immune system and ward off disease.
Not all fat is bad for the body. Saturated fat include animals fat and dairy products are responsible for raising blood cholesterol levels.
Unsaturated fat contain essential fatty acids that are essential for the body. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids prevent increase in cholesterol, lubricate the joints, make hormones and strengthen immune cells.
They are required in small quantities and is present in minute quantities in food.They are catalysts and hasten metabolic activities and are vital for growth and development and protection from disease.
Understanding the digestive process helps us understand the need for good habits and the need to eat at the proper time.
Digestion starts in the mouth itself. As you chew food in your mouth, it is broken up into small pieces and thoroughly mixed with the saliva. Saliva contains an enzyme- salivary amylase or ptyalin -that changes the insoluble starches into simpler soluble forms.
For effective digestion keep the following points in mind.
Chew the food properly.This will break it down into smaller pieces, increasing the surface area and contact with the saliva
Avoid sour items (sour curds,lime,etc) in combination with rice and chapatis.The acids in sour food will not permit digestion in the mouth as saliva needs an alkaline medium to work.
Avoid pasty and watery foods. One tends to just swallow them, leading to poor salivary digestion. Follow the dictum ” Drink the solid, eat the liquids.”
Do not drink water with meals as it dilutes the digestive juices and hampers digestion.
To ensure that you are in tune with the science of proper diet ensure that you the checkpoints in your diet.