Introduction:

Food is the basic requirement of every individual to fulfil the energy needs and to meet the development of the body. The food which we eat is known as ‘Diet’. The energetic food consists of various types of essential chemicals for our body termed as ‘Nutrients’,thus the science which deals with nutritious diet and its importance for the individual is known as ” Nutrition “. This nutrition diet is known as ‘ Balanced Diet’. Basically, a proper balance diet is good for health too.

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Balanced Diet:

The food which we eat is known as ‘Diet’. It is the daily requirement of every human life. Human Beings take their Diet in different ways; it maybe liquid food or solid food. These kind of food gives a proper energy for work fulfillment and daily need requirement. Our body grows, develops and micronutrients in the food. the food itself contain various types of beneficial nutrients in it. Balanced Diet is that diet which contains all nutrients ( macro and micro) in correct proportion for efficient working of the body. In other words, it is intake of appropriate type and adequate amount of food to supply energy and to support growth and development of an individual.

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Functions of Balanced diet:

Balanced diet provides sufficient energy for the various activities of the individual. It helps individual to grow and develop to optimum level. Thus, fullest growth and development can take place. Balanced diet helps various organs and various systems of body to function properly. It helps to recover or repair the wornout tissues, thus, faster recovery from injury. Balanced diet improves the defence of body against various bacteria, virus and fungal diseases, thus efficient immune system. It improves the metabolism processes of our body, thus efficient release of energy. It helps individual to maintain proper body weight.

Nutritive Components of Balanced Diet:

Nutrition is the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth. Nutrition is the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion.

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There is a large number of nutrients required in our balanced diet. Some of them are” Nutritive components” like Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins whereas some of the other components of diet are also required which are “Non – Nutritive Components” such as Vitamins, Minerals, Water and Roughage (Fibers).

Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for almost all activities of an individual. It is major fuel for muscular contraction. They provide quick energy to body and are not stored in our body for longer duration. Carbohydrates are the components of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen with chemical formula CHO. on an average one gram of carbohydrates gives 4 calories of energy on burning.

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The Primary function of Carbohydrates is to provide energy for body especially to brain and nervous system. The body breaks down starches and sugar into substances called Glucose. This Glucose is used as energy source by body. Excess of carbohydrate are converted into glycogen which are stored in liver and adipose tissues under skin. Less amount of carbohydrates in diet causes under- nutrition and weight loss.

Carbohydrates are of two types:

  • Simple Carbohydrates: These Carbohydrates contain vitamins and minerals. They are also called quick energy food. Sources of simple carbohydrates are fruits, low fat milk, table sugar, refined honey, jam, vegetables, potato, carrot, candy etc. These are the various types of sugar like glucose, fructose, lactose, galactose. Some sugars are digested and absorbed and they are converted into glucose whereas some cannot be digested. We can call them fiber.
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates are starches which contain various types of sugar molecules combined chemically, to form glycogen. This Glycogen releases slow energy as compared to simple carbohydrates whereas energy content is higher. They are also good sources of vitamins and fibers. Complex carbohydrates are found in bread, cereals (Wheat , Rice , Maize, Bajra ) , vegetables , whole pulses ( Chana- Dal , Moong- Dal , Rajma). Excess amount of complex carbohydrates are stored in liver and tissues from where they release the energy when in need.

Proteins:

Proteins are the basic structures of all living cells. They are complex organic compounds which form chain of amino acids that contain Carbon, Hydrogen and Nitrogen. Proteins are the main components of muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs, glands and all living body fluids like enzymes, hormones and blood. Proteins are needed for growth and development of body. It helps to repair or replace the the worn out tissues. It doesn’t provide energy in normal routine whereas it acts as energy source only under extreme starvation (hunger). There are two types of proteins:

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  • Essential Proteins: There are nine essential amino acids which are taken from food and they are not made in body. The sources of essential proteins are pulses, milk, dairy products, soyabeans, egg, meat, etc. They are required for growth of tissues.
  • Non- Essential Proteins: There are more than 13 non- essential proteins. Body requires them in very less quantity as help in the synthesis of essential proteins. The sources of non- essential proteins are grains, dry- fruits, vegetables.

Proteins requirement depends upon individual’s activity on daily basis like tissue growth, injury, pregnancy, etc. Dietician recommends 15 to 20 percent of proteins in our daily diet. High intake of proteins creates overloaded over kidney and liver. Moreover, it leads to dehydration. Under proteins diet slows down the growth and development along with delayed recovery from injury. Its deficiency diseases are Kwashiorkor, Marasmus.

Vitamins:

Vitamins are the complex compounds of carbon. They are very essential for normal working of body. Vitamins are required in very small amount to keep our body healthy. They are an important constituent of food. They are important for metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. They do not provide energy but help to repair and maintenance of various tissues.There are 13 vitamins but the important vitamins are A, B, C, D, E and K. Most of the vitamins are obtained from our food except vitamin D and K which are produced by body.

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Vitamins are divided into two groups:

Fat – Soluble Vitamins:

These vitamins are soluble in fat. They come into our body through fats and they are stored in liver and fatty tissues. These Vitamins are A, D, E and K. These are required in small quantity. They can cause harm if taken in excess.

Vitamin A: This vitamin is also known as Retinol. This is needed for normal growth and development of eyes and skin. Deficiency of vitamin A causes Night Blindness in which a person is unable to see in dim light or night. Sources of vitamin A are milk, butter, egg, carrot, cod liver oil, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, etc.

Vitamin D: This vitamin is important for formation of strong bones and teeth. This vitamin is also known as sunshine vitamin as sunlight provides this vitamin. Deficiency of this vitamin causes Rickets in which bones of children are deformed. The sources of vitamin D are milk, butter, green vegetables, etc.

Vitamin E: This vitamin is important to protect the cell membrane and acts as antioxidant. Vitamin E sources are whole seed grains, nuts, turmeric, etc.

Vitamin K: This helps in blood clotting and heals wounds. The sources of Vitamin K is cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, cereals, soybeans, green leafy vegetables.

Water soluble vitamins: These vitamins are soluble in water. They are not stored in body, so we need them more frequently. These vitamins are B and C. These vitamins can be destroyed by heat.

Vitamin B: It is of various types and some of its forms are named as Vitamin B complex. Vitamin B1 is known as Thiamin, helps growth and development and helps in the synthesis of carbohydrates. Its deficiency causes Beri-Beri. Vitamin B2 is known as Riboflavin, helps in the growth of Red Blood Cells (RBCs). Deficiency of this causes retarded growth. Vitamin B3 is known as Niacin. Its deficiency causes Pellagra in which skin sensitivity is lost and causes irritation over skin. Vitamin B12 helps nervous system, metabolism and energy transfer for growth. Deficiency of this vitamin causes Beri- Beri in which person has weak muscles and poor coordination, feels tiredness and weakness.

Vitamin C: It is also named as Ascorbic Acid. This vitamin is required for maintenance of ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, capillary walls and delicate lining of mouth and gums. Deficiency of this vitamin causes Scurvy in which gums bleed. Its deficiency causes uncontrolled bleeding, delayed blood clotting, etc. The sources of Vitamin-C are citrus fruits like lemon, orange, amla, tomatoes, vegetables, etc.

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