Maintaining good health is becoming challenging with sedentary lifestyles that most of us follow these days. Even if we try it becomes difficult to maintain the energy balance (input vs output) leading to weight gain / obesity. Inculcating right exercise patterns and good eating habits can help us to achieve the desired goal.
People fail to realize ill effects of bad eating regimens and resort to crash dieting to achieve that desired “Size Zero”and end up with disorders like anorexia nervosa , bulimia nervosa etc. Our lifestyle also contributes to some of the health issues right from deficiency of vitamin D (due to low exposure to sunlight) to Diabetes.
Eating nutritionally balanced meals as per age, height, weight & gender can not only help us maintain a good health but prevent deficiencies also.
Few functions that nutrients provide to our body can be briefed as:
Energy is life (Energy= Carbohydrates +Proteins +Fat) :
– Food rich in these nutrients must comprise a good percentage of your diet for adequate energy supply
Fuel for energy-Carbohydrates:
– Carbohydrates rich foods provide fuel to your body in the form of glucose
– Choosing complex carbohydrates over simple ones (refined cereals) would be a better option to add the fiber content to the diet e.g. whole grains, vegetables, fruits
Build your body:
– Proteins are macronutrients which help in body building, proper functioning , growth and provide energy
– Good dietary sources of proteins are pulses, legumes, fish, egg and lean meat
Fats are equally important:
– Fats help in absorption of fat soluble vitamins
– However trans-fat and cholesterol rich foods like red meat, deep fried foods must be avoided to maintain good health
Vital nutrients for health:
– Vitamins play an important role in major body functions like free-radical scavenging (antioxidants), help in cell regulations, tissue growth and differentiation as well.
– Fat soluble vitamins help in supporting healthy eye sight(vitamin A), maintains bone health (vitamin D), act as antioxidants (vitamin E) and help in proper blood clotting (Vitamin K).
– Good sources of fat soluble vitamins are carrots, beetroots, nuts etc.
– Water soluble vitamins help in energy metabolism, act as major components of enzyme activities, supports growth and development, protect cells and aid in formation of DNA.
– Food sources of water soluble vitamins are organ meats, citrus fruits etc.
Minerals for body functioning :
– Minerals play a vital role in maintenance of good health and helps in several bodily functions.
– Major minerals (like Phosphorus, sodium, chloride, calcium, potassium, magnesium and sulfur) help in fluid balance in body and help in proper absorption of amino acids whereas trace minerals (like iron, fluoride, zinc, copper,iodine, selenium, manganese, chromium and molybdenum)help in absorption of nutrients and help in proper oxygen flow in blood.
– Dietary Sources to name a few: Milk and dairy products (calcium), tofu, nuts, green leafy vegetables (magnesium), bananas, raisins, prunes (potassium), red meat, poultry, rice flakes, dates (iron), salt (sodium), etc.
A Balanced Diet should provide 50-60% of total calories from carbohydrates (preferably complex) 10–15% from Proteins and 20-30% from both visible & invisible fat (ICMR/ NIN -2011) In addition, a balanced diet should provide other non-nutrients such as dietary fiber (which help in maintenance of proper body weight and blood parameters), anti-oxidants (which help in free radical scavenging) and phytochemicals (which help in fighting against degenerative diseases) which bestow positive health benefits. Such a balanced food must be eaten well to live well with proper health.
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