Proud tips | The importance of a balanced diet in healthy and unhealthy food. When checking your diet, it may be difficult to determine which foods are healthy. A simple guide from books of qualified experts allows you to easily get a balanced diet and nutritious, Tips for Improving Your Health.
Foods rich in vitamins and minerals chart
Vitamins are needed for growing and repairing parts of the body, and they take part in many chemical processes in the body. Scientists have discovered about 20 different vitamins, which they have named with letters and numbers. Each vitamin has a different effect on the body. For example, vitamin A is needed to maintain the skin, eyes, bones, and teeth, and vitamin K is needed to make blood clot properly. Some vitamins also have chemical names. For example, vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid.
Minerals include such elements as calcium, iron, and iodine. They are absorbed into the blood from the intestines. Different minerals are needed for different body processes. For example, iron is needed for red blood cells to carry oxygen, and sodium helps regulate water in the body’s cells. Major minerals are minerals that we need in relatively large amounts. They include sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, chlorine, and sulfur. Trace minerals (also called trace elements) are needed in smaller amounts. They include copper, iron, and zinc.
Measuring food energy
Different foods provide your body with different amounts of energy. This is because they contain different amounts of carbohydrates and fats. For example, pasta contains lots of carbohydrates, and so it is a high-energy food. Carrots contain a small number of carbohydrates and almost no fats, so they provide little energy (however, they do contain important vitamins). The amount of energy in packaged foods is usually printed on the package label, so you can see how much energy is in them.
The energy in food is measured in units called kilocalories. One kilocalorie is equal to 1,000 calories. A calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise one gram of water one Celsius degree. Kilocalories often simply are referred to as “calories.” Heat energy also can be measured in units called joules. One kilocalorie equals 4,184 joules or 4.184 kilojoules.
- The nutrition panel on the side of a food package. The number of calories is shown in the pictures.
Energy giving food list
Meat, eggs, cheese, and nuts all contain high amounts of protein.
Food for growth
The food you eat contains a huge range of different chemicals. However, only a few dozen of these chemicals are absolutely needed to keep us healthy. These few dozen are the nutrients. These nutrients come from six kinds of substances found in food. They are proteins (see below), fats and carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and water. Water is vital for life.
Proteins You need to eat proteins so that your body can grow and repair itself and so that its systems can work properly. Proteins are one of the most important building blocks of the body. They make up a large part of each cell in the body, so your muscles and skin, for example, are mostly proteins.
Some proteins control the chemical reactions that make your bodywork. For example, the enzymes made by the digestive system are proteins. Foods that contain proteins include fish, meat, nuts, eggs, cheese and other dairy products, and some vegetables, including peas.
Proteins are made up of particles called molecules. A protein molecule is made up of smaller molecules joined together. These smaller molecules are called amino acids. The human body uses only 20 different types of amino acids, but they are combined together in different amounts and in different mixtures to make thousands of different proteins that make up the body. Proteins in food are broken up into amino acids by enzymes in the digestive system. Cells in the liver and other organs build the amino acids into new proteins for the body. Sometimes, amino acids instead can be turned into energy for the body.
Food for energy
Your body uses energy all the time. Movements such as walking, running, and jumping all require energy. Your body also needs energy when you are sitting still and even when you are asleep. Energy is needed for thinking and for such processes as digestion and circulation. It also is needed for replacing old cells and repairing the damage. All this energy comes from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the food you eat. These all are broken down into simpler substances by the digestive system. The simpler substances are either broken down to obtain energy or combined to create substances that can be used for energy when needed. Energy is moved to different parts of the body as glucose.
- Potatoes, bread, rice, and pasta are all rich in carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are made up of the chemical elements carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. In a well-balanced diet, carbohydrates should give you about half the energy you need. An important source of energy is a carbohydrate called starch. It is found in potatoes, rice, and cereals (such as wheat, oats, and barley), and also in foods made from cereals, such as pasta and corn flakes. Starch is made up of molecules of sugar joined together. Digestive enzymes break up the starch into glucose, which the body can absorb. Sugars in food are also carbohydrates. They are broken down into glucose, too.
Fats (which are also called lipids) are chemicals found in the fatty parts of animals and in vegetable oils. Fats are found in fatty red meats, dairy products (milk, butter, and cheese), and nuts and seeds. Vegetable cooking oils, such as olive oil, and spreads, such as sunflower margarine, contain oils from nuts and seeds, so they also contain fats. Fats are broken down into chemicals called fatty acids by the digestive system. These are broken down by the liver to make glucose.
How much energy do we need?
The amount of energy a person needs to take in depends on the person’s sex, age, height, weight, and usual level of activity. For example, adults who do manual work, such as building construction, generally need more energy than adults who work at a desk. A few hours before running a race, long distance runners often eat foods that contain lots of carbohydrates. Their digestive system turns the carbohydrates into glucose, which is stored in their liver as glycogen. The glycogen is converted, or changed, to glucose for energy as the runners need it during the race. If you take in more calories than your body burns, most of the excess calories will be stored in your body as fat. If you eat fewer calories than your body burns, your body will burn stored fat for energy.
- Athletes need an above-average amount of carbohydrates to give them the energy to train and compete.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are substances that your body needs in order to work properly. A few vitamins are formed in the body, but other vitamins and all minerals must be obtained from food. Vitamins and minerals, unlike proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, do not need to be broken up in the digestive system before they can be absorbed. Vitamins and minerals often are called micronutrients because you need them in only tiny amounts—you need to eat far less of them than you do proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Vitamins and minerals do not contain any energy at all.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
A balanced diet
Your diet is all the food and liquid that you consume. A diet that provides you with all the nutrients you need without giving you too much of any of them is known as a balanced diet. A diet that leaves out an important nutrient, such as a vitamin, can cause health problems. A diet that includes too many carbohydrates or fats can cause health problems, too. Eating a balanced diet is easy. It simply means eating a good mixture of foods, including foods that contain carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. It also means not eating too many fatty or sugary foods.
- An example of a balanced meal. It contains proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fiber.
Recommended dietary allowances
Scientists have worked out how much of each nutrient we need every day in order to stay healthy. These amounts are called recommended dietary allowances (RDAs). They are measured in grams, milligrams, or micrograms. The amount of different nutrients in different types of food usually is shown on food packages. This allows us to work out how much of each nutrient we are eating most foods contain a mixture of different types of nutrients.
Healthy and unhealthy food
Eating a lot of foods that contain fats and carbohydrates, such as fried foods and sugary foods, can be unhealthy. If a person does not use up the energy he or she eats as food, the extra energy is stored as fat in that person’s body. This can make the person overweight and cause health problems, such as heart disease. There is nothing wrong with eating these foods in small amounts, as long as they are balanced with more healthy foods.
Food poisoning chain
Sometimes harmful microorganisms invade the digestive system. This can happen when you eat food that has bacteria growing on it. Some bacteria grow in food and produce toxins (poisons), which can cause illness. Some microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, or parasites, can enter the body through food and cause infection when they multiply. Such an infection may result in an upset stomach, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea (frequent elimination of watery feces). Similar illnesses are caused by eating poisonous foods, such as toadstools or foods with poisonous chemicals in them. You can avoid food poisoning by eating only the food that you are sure has been properly stored and prepared.
Bacteria for food poisoning
Salmonella is the name of a kind of bacteria that causes food poisoning. Salmonella is found in beef, poultry and eggs, and dairy products. It can be spread by allowing clean food to touch contaminated surfaces. We protect ourselves from salmonella by pasteurizing milk and by handling food properly.
Another common cause of food poisoning is bacteria called Clostridium. It grows on meat that is cooked and then allowed to cool slowly instead of being put in the refrigerator. One form of Clostridium causes a severe form of food poisoning called botulism, which can be fatal. Most cases of food poisoning can be cured by not eating for a day and drinking plenty of clear fluids. Infection and inflammation of the stomach and intestines are called gastroenteritis. It is often caused by food poisoning. It causes stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea. Gastroenteritis may occur in groups of people who ate the same contaminated food.
Vomiting food poisoning
Your body empties poisoned food from your stomach by vomiting. You cannot prevent it. Vomiting occurs when the brain signals the diaphragm and abdominal muscles to squeeze the stomach. The stomach contents then are forced up and out through the esophagus.
- Salmonella bacteria magnified 300,000 times. They are a common cause of food poisoning.
- Washing hands removes bacteria that could be transferred to food before it is eaten.
Serious infections of the digestive tract are widespread in some areas of the world. These areas are normally where people do not have access to clean drinking water or sanitation is poor. But these illnesses also can happen in developed countries if sewage systems are flooded during natural disasters, such as hurricanes. Serious diseases of the digestive tract include dysentery, typhoid fever, and cholera. These infections are caused by harmful microorganisms in contaminated water or food. Excessive loss of body fluid because of diarrhea caused by these diseases can be fatal.
Problems of diarrhea
When a person has diarrhea, water and minerals are lost in infrequent bowel movements before they can be absorbed by the body. This is a serious problem because such organs as the brain and kidneys cannot work without water and certain minerals.
The treatment for diarrhea is called oral rehydration. The patient drinks water mixed with sugar for energy and salts that contain minerals. Without rehydration, a person with severe diarrhea can die in only a few days. Worldwide, diarrhea caused by dysentery, cholera, or typhoid fever is a major cause of childhood deaths.
Dysentery results in inflammation of the large intestine. It causes severe abdominal pain and diarrhea with blood in it. It is caused by bacteria or other tiny organisms in drinking water or on food. Dysentery spreads very quickly and easily. It is treated with antibiotics and rehydration.
Cholera is an infection of the intestines that is caused by bacteria called Vibrio cholera. The bacteria release a toxin that causes severe diarrhea. Cholera is often caused by the contamination of drinking water by sewage. It is common in tropical areas of the world, especially in Asia.
Typhoid fever is an infection of the intestines caused by one type of salmonella bacteria. It causes headaches and fever as well as diarrhea. It is spread by poor sanitation and hygiene.
Indian children were given oral rehydration salts to counteract the effects of severe diarrhea.
Foods to improve digestion
You have to look after your Digestive System to keep it working properly. You can do this by avoiding foods that will upset your stomach or intestines or are difficult to digest. It also means looking after the only parts of your digestive system that you can touch—your teeth.
Pains in the stomach and chest often happen because the stomach cannot digest food properly. This is called acid indigestion or dyspepsia. It often causes heartburn. This is a burning feeling in the chest that happens when acid from the stomach gets into the esophagus. Indigestion is normally caused by eating too much food too quickly, especially greasy or spicy food. Exercising too soon after eating can also cause indigestion. Occasional indigestion can be relieved by taking indigestion tablets. These contain alkalis, which neutralize the acid.
Roughage is made up of plant fibers in Vegetables, fruits, and cereals and in seeds from plants such as lentils. You cannot digest roughage, but it is important for your digestive system. It gives feces some bulk. This helps give the muscles in the intestine walls something to push against. Not eating enough roughage can cause constipation. This is when feces stay in the intestines for longer than normal. More water is absorbed from the feces by the body, so the waste becomes dry and hard. Scientists think that not eating enough roughage also may make colon cancer more likely.
Looking after your teeth is important because chewing food helps digestion in the stomach and intestines. Brushing your teeth after meals remove food particles from the teeth. Bacteria that feed on food particles produce acid that rots the teeth. Looking after your gums is just as important because they support the teeth. You also can take care of your teeth by avoiding too many sugary foods and drinks, as well as by going to the dentist regularly.
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