Food We Eat
Food is essential for our body to develop, replace and repair itself. Food provides us energy to work and play. It protects us from diseases and help to recover fast from illness. We eat different food item and each food item contains different substances. These substances that provide nourishment essential for the maintenance of life and for growth are called nutrients. These nutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fats, minerals. No single food contains all the nutrients in the desired quantities so; we need to eat balance diet for proper functioning of body.
Carbohydrates provide energy for the body. We need energy for all activities we do. Carbohydrates include sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits (apples, banana and grapes), vegetables (potato and pumpkin), milk, milk products, whole grain breads and cereals (wheat, maize and rice), starchy vegetables, legumes and refined sugar.
Fats also provide energy for the body.They act as reserve of energy when carbohydrates are not available.It helps to keep body warm. Food rich in fats include oil, butter, nuts, coconut, ghee, cheese, cream etc.
It is important for the maintenance and repair of the body. Children require more protein for their growth. Protein rich foods include meat, fish, cheese, beans, lentils, yogurt, nuts, and seeds.
Vitamin helps to form and maintain healthy teeth, bones and skin. It helps to fight against infection and diseases. Food rich in vitamins are broccoli, papaya, almonds, sunflower oil, spinach, carrot, pumpkin, orange, beans etc. All citrus fruits contain a lot of vitamin ‘c’ that help to fight against infections.
The body needs many minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium, potassium and many others. We need all minerals in to stay healthy in desired quantity. Our body needs calcium to maintain healthy bones and teeth. Calcium we get from milk, milk products etc. Iron is also a mineral which helps in the formation of blood. Iron rich food includes red meats, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables.
Water and roughage
Water helps to regulate the body temperature. It is an important constituent of blood, skin, digestive juices etc.in our body.
Roughage is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants. It clears our stomach. It is obtained from fruits, vegetables and the outer covering of cereals and pulses.
Thus, a diet that has proper proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water necessary to keep good health is called balanced diet.
We cook food to improve its taste and to make it soft. It also kills germs present in raw food. Cooked foods are soft, so it is easily digested by the body.
What should we do?
We should wash the vegetable or fruits thoroughly before using it.
Boil or cook vegetable in enough water. If vegetables are cooked in excess water, its water soluble nutrients get dissolved in water and in case we drain out that excess water, nutrients also goes away with water. So, better idea to use excess water to make curry or some soup.
We generally eat fruit raw. There are some that we eat raw such as carrot, radish, cucumber, tomato etc. If we cook them, their nutrition value may be lost. But we should wash them thoroughly before eating them raw.
Sprouting and Fermentation
Sprouting and Fermentation
are process of preparing food that enhances its nutrition value. Sprouted moong and gram are rich in vitamins
and proteins. Mixture used for idli is fermented overnight and then cooked in
steam. Food cooked in steam does not lose its nutrition value. Fermented food
is easy to digest.
We can make sprouts easily at home. Soak some grams in water overnight and then keep the grams in wet cloth for few hours. Sprouts will appear. We can make sprouts healthy snacks by adding chopped onion, tomato, green chilli, coriander and salt.
Food item kept uncovered are exposed to dust and flies. Flies carry germs on their body and cause diseases like diarrhea, typhoid etc. when food are exposed. We should avoid eating uncovered and cut food sold in streets. Foods also get spoiled when they are left for long time as germs grow quickly when there is moisture (water) and warmth. We can see black, green or grey patches on chapatti or bread kept outside the fridge for many days. These patches are germs.
We can preserve food for long time by using following methods:
Salting: It is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. Fish and pickles preserved in this manner. Salting preserves food by drawing water out of the food, preventing bacteria growing and spoiling the food.
Boiling: Boiling controls the growth of germs in food. That is why we boil milk to prevent it from getting spoilt. Boiling prevent the food from spoilage for short period of time.
Refrigeration: Refrigeration is an easy method of preserving food for few days. It preserves taste, texture, and the nutritional value of foods. We can keep fruit, vegetables and cooked food in a refrigerator.
Dehydration: Drying food items under sun draws away water and prevents germs growth. We can use this method to preserve food items such as raw mango, cauliflower, fish, and potato chips.
Sweetening: Adding excess sugar to food items also stop germs growth. We prepare jams, jellies, murabbas by adding sugar and can preserve them for long time.
Things we should do stay healthy:
1. Always wash hands before and after eating.
2. Always wash fruit and vegetables before using them.
3. Always eat fresh cut fruit and fresh cooked food.
4. Always chew food properly for easy digestion.
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