Nutritional Facts of Common Foods
Common food elements and diet facts that contribute to the nutritional requirements in the body are discussed below. Common food elements include the macronutrients and the micronutrients consisting carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, photochemical and water.
Follow a food pyramid for a healthy eating
The foundation of the diet should be build by including cereals and millets in the diet. This provides complex carbohydrates which is the body’s preferred fuel source. Each gram of carbohydrate provides 4calories. Carbohydrates can be simple or complex, prefer complex carbohydrates for a simple reason that they are high in dietary fiber and low in fat. Complex carbohydrate sources include whole wheat and its products, unpolished rice and millets.
Fruits and vegetables
Include at least 8-9 servings of variety of fruits and vegetables daily to get essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the diet. Consumption of the recommended amounts in daily diet reduces the risk for heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, diverticulitis, certain cancers and improves bowel movements.
Milk and milk products are rich in proteins, and also a good source of calcium and vitamin D which is essential to maintain healthy bones.
Like carbohydrates proteins also provides 4 calories per gram. A normal diet should comprise 15% protein of daily energy intake. Include low fat options like skimmed yoghurt and milk over ice cream.
Pulses, meat, fish, poultry and eggs
This group also provides handful amounts of proteins. Eat 2 servings of oily fish, soy beans and flaxseeds in diet to meet the requirements of omega 3 fatty acids which is essential for heart health.
Sprouts and pulses are the vegan source of proteins. Along with proteins a cup of sprouted pulse has 6 times more vitamin C, and other B-complex vitamin graph is also increased.
Fat and sugars
A gram of fat provides 9 calories. Fat is essential for absorption of fat soluble vitamins which are required for various functions in the body and it also provides essential fatty acids. Limited amounts are required for good health, but when consumed in excess then problem arises gradually (obesity, heart attack, diabetes, stroke and cancer).
Type of fat that is being consumed is also of importance. Plant sources contains zero cholesterol, cholesterol is present in animal sources. 80% of cholesterol is synthesized in our body by liver. Excessive consumption of saturated fats and foods high in cholesterol also contributes to high lipid cholesterol.
It is wise to consume sugar in minimum amounts. Sugar contributes to “empty calories” without giving any other nutrients to the body.
Water is the most important, but many a times most forgotten element in the diet. Include adequate water daily for proper metabolism of the body.
Vitamin, minerals and Antioxidants
A balanced meal provides all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants required for a healthy living. The need for supplements is nil when you consume a healthy diet daily.