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Old Sunday, May 13, 2012
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Post Balanced Diet

Balanced Diet


A balanced diet is nothing but a diet which includes right amount of all the nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates etc. A balanced diet is required for the growth and development of a person especially the children. Each food group is abundant in certain type of nutrients. So a right mix of all nutrients in our food will ensure long and healthy life.

Essential Nutrients of Balanced Diet
A balanced diet must contain carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, mineral salts and fiber. It must contain these things in the correct proportions.

Functions of Nutrients

1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy. They contain the elements Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. The first part of the name “carbo-” means that they contain Carbon. The second part of the name “-hydr-” means that they contain Hydrogen. The third part of the name “-ate-” means that they contain Oxygen. In all carbohydrates the ratio of Hydrogen atoms to Oxygen atoms is 2:1 just like water.
We obtain most of our carbohydrate in the form of starch. This is found in potato, rice, spaghetti, yams, bread and cereals. Our digestive system turns all this starch into another carbohydrate called glucose. Glucose is carried around the body in the blood and is used by our tissues as a source of energy. Any glucose in our food is absorbed without the need for digestion. We also get some of our carbohydrate in the form of sucrose; this is the sugar which we put in our tea and coffee. Both sucrose and glucose are sugars, but sucrose molecules are too big to get into the blood, so the digestive system turns it into glucose.
When we use glucose in tissue respiration we need Oxygen. This process produces Carbon Dioxide and water and releases energy for other processes.

2. Proteins
Proteins are required for growth and repair. Proteins contain Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and sometimes Sulphur. Proteins are very large molecules, so they cannot get directly into our blood; they must be turned into amino-acids by the digestive system. There are over 20 different amino-acids. Our bodies can turn the amino-acids back into protein. When our cells do this they have to put the amino-acids together in the correct order. There are many millions of possible combinations or sequences of amino-acids; it is our DNA which contains the information about how to make proteins. Our cells get their amino-acids from the blood.
Proteins can also be used as a source of energy. When excess amino-acids are removed from the body the Nitrogen is excreted as a chemical called urea. The liver makes urea and the kidney puts the urea into our urine.

3. Fats
Like carbohydrates, fats contain the elements Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Fats are used as a source of energy: they are also stored beneath the skin helping to insulate us against the cold. Do not think that by avoiding fat in our diet we will stay thin and elegant! If we eat too much carbohydrate and protein, we will convert some of it into fat, so we will put on weight. We must balance the amount of energy containing foods with the amount of energy that we use when we take exercise.
We must have some fat in our diet because it contains fat soluble vitamins.

4. Vitamins
Vitamins are only required in very small quantities. There is no chemical similarity between these chemicals; the similarity between them is entirely biological.
1. Vitamin A: good for your eyes
2. Vitamin B: about 12 different chemicals.
3. Vitamin C: needed for your body to repair itself.
4. Vitamin D: can be made in your skin, needed for absorption of Calcium.
5. Vitamin E: Anti oxidant function

5. Mineral Salts
These are also needed in small quantities, but we need more of these than we need of vitamins.
1. Iron: required to make hemoglobin.
2. Calcium: required for healthy teeth, bones and muscles.
3. Sodium: all cells need this, especially nerve cells.
4. Iodine: used to make a hormone called thyroxin.

6. Fibre
We can not digest cellulose. This is a carbohydrate used by plants to make their cell walls. It is also called roughage. If we do not eat foods materials which contain fibre we might end up with problems of the colon and rectum. The muscles of our digestive system mix food with the digestive juices and push food along the intestines by peristalsis; if there is no fibre in our diet these movements cannot work properly.

Importance of Balanced Diet
A balanced diet has direct relation with the health of a person. Following a balanced diet will ensure you certain things such as
• Helps to keep our body weight under control
• Keep us energetic throughout the day
• Maintaining the cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure level under control
• Helps to relax our body and mind
• Plays a major role in making our physique attractive,
Classification of Food
Food itself is a medicine which has the potential to cure any kind of disease if consumed in a right way. Food is broadly classified into following five major categories

Vegetables
Vegetables should be compulsorily present in one’s diet as it provides most of the nutrients required for a human body. Even the nutrients present in the meat and other non-vegetarian items are also available in the vegetables. More over only vegetables can provide you the fiber which is not available in other food items.
Vegetables have the ability to sustain the fluid balance of the body. They are also abundant in vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates.

Fruits
Without any doubt we can say that fruits are gift of nature which is rich in nutrients and is widely available anywhere. Fruits are naturally good source of vitamins and some minerals. Fruits have the ability to restore the water balance in your body. Just like vegetables, fruits are also good source of fiber. Similarly fruit juices can also do good to your body.

Milk and milk products
Milk is the only food which is has all the nutrients. It is a good source of calcium and taking a glass of milk everyday will meet the daily requirement of calcium. Milk is a must for children for their growth and development.
Protein is essential for the growth of body and it is abundant in milk and diary products. Milk also helps in strengthening your bones.

Meat and Fish Group
Though vegetables have all the nutrients, some of them are not abundant enough to meet the requirement of your body. In such case meats are a good alternative. Meats are good source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamins. Meat and fish group include egg, chicken, mutton and fish, crab, lobsters and shrimp.

Legumes and Nuts
Legumes and nuts are good source of carbohydrates and fats. They maintain the energy level of your body. More over they are rich in protein.


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