Nutrition

energy for carrying normal physiological functions

Nutrition refers to the entire cycle of chemical changes occurring within the body depending on what we eat or don’t eat. It determines the strength of the teeth, bones, and connective tissues. A healthy diet during childhood paves the way for healthy adulthood. A well-balanced diet is essential for the repair and maintenance of bones, cartilage, ligament, tendons, and muscles. Vitamin B, C, D, K, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, boron and, manganese are essential for healthy bones and connective tissues.

Nutrients are the chemical components present in food which provide energy for carrying normal physiological functions and aid in metabolic processes of the body.

Good nutrition comprises of an adequate, well-balanced diet and is important for good health. Poor nutrition leads to increased susceptibility to diseases because of the weakened immune system and failure to thrive.

A Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is one that provides an adequate amount of nutrients to your body to maintain good health. It should consist mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, lean proteins, whole grains, and water.

Calories

Calories in the food we eat provide energy to our body in the form of heat. The number of calories needed each day depends on our age, weight, sex and amount of activities performed. We must consume calories from healthy food sources as mentioned above to maintain good health. The food items prepared with sugars or solid fats such as butter or cheese are defined as empty calories by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Example, energy drinks, ice-creams, pizza, etc.

Nutrients in the Food

The essential nutrients needed by your body include:

Foods to Consume Daily

Eating a variety of foods is necessary to get a balanced diet each day. Include these foods in your daily diet:

Starchy foods

Consume starchy foods prepared with whole grains such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, etc. Starchy food provides carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins, and minerals.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Each day consume 5 portions of different fruits and vegetables to stay healthy and prevent various diseases including cancer and heart diseases. This can be split up as 2 portions of vegetables, 2 portions of fruits and 1 portion of dry fruits. They provide vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.

Milk and Milk Products

Choose low-fat milk and avoid the addition of sugar with milk and milk products. The various milk products include cheese, butter, yogurt, buttermilk, etc. They are rich in proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Protein Rich Food

These include eggs, fish, meat, beans, pulses, etc. Meat is a good source of zinc, iron and B vitamins. Minimize red meat consumption as they increase the risk of heart disease.

Fish, on the other hand, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids necessary for the healthy nervous system, eyes and heart, and protection against various diseases.

Oils and Fats

Consume nuts, fish oils, and vegetable oils. Do not consume cholesterol-rich foods including processed foods, fast foods, shellfish, fried foods, etc.