Food We Eat
Concept: Components of Food
- Food plays a vital role in the growth and development of our bodies. It also provides energy to carry out bodily functions.
- We eat different types of food because we derive various nutrients from them.
- After digestion, food is broken down into simpler forms and is absorbed by our body.
- We can broadly divide food into carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- Apart from these, we also get vitamins and minerals from food, which are also essential for our survival.
- Carbohydrates are energy-producing components of food.
- All carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars.
- The sugars produce energy in the form of calories.
- The energy produced is utilised by our bodies to perform different functions.
Example: Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, whole grains like wheat, bajra, corn, oats, etc. Sweet foods also contain carbohydrates like sugar, honey, syrup, etc.
- Protein-rich foods help in the growth and development of our bodies.
- Proteins help in the development of cells and also contribute to repairing cells.
- Thus, proteins are the body-building components of food.
- Proteins also help in the development of muscles.
- It is vital for the development of growing children.
- Lack of protein may cause stunted growth, weight reduction, and many other problems.
Example: Fish, eggs, red meat, chicken, pulses, kidney beans, and soybean are protein-rich food sources. Dairy products like cheese, paneer, yoghurt, and milk contain high amounts of protein.
- Fats provide us with energy.
- When we have sufficient carbohydrates inside our bodies, fats are not used up by the cells.
- Fats are mostly stored inside our body, and during carbohydrate deficiency, they are used up by the body's cells. This is how the body utilises the energy of fats.
- Fats also protect many vital organs of our body.
Example: Coconut oil, olive oil, mustard oil, canola oil, ghee, butter, avocado, nuts, fish oil, animal fat, etc.
- Vitamins are essential micronutrients for the body. They are called micronutrients because our body needs them in tiny quantities.
- The body cannot produce vitamins, so we have to intake them through our food.
- Vitamins improve organ functions and protect the body from several diseases.
- Vitamins boost up the disease-resisting capacity of our body that allows us to fight against various diseases.
Some important vitamins:
|Name of the vitamins||Sources||Functions|
|Vitamin A||Carrots, leafy greens, eggs, and dairy products.||Protects eyes and improves vision.|
|Vitamin B||Whole grains, meat, eggs, dairy, liver.||Develops and protects the nervous system, helps in nutrient metabolism, and regulates blood sugar levels.|
|Vitamin C||Oranges, kiwi, and citrus fruits.||Protects and improves gums and heals wounds faster.|
|Vitamin D||Seafood, liver, eggs, mushrooms.||Helps our body absorb calcium and phosphorus and thus regulates bone mineral density. Makes our bones stronger.|
- Minerals are also essential micronutrients for our bodies.
- They protect us from several diseases.
- Like vitamins, minerals too, come from various types of foods.
Some important minerals:
|Name of the minerals||Sources||Functions|
|Iron||Liver, red meat, spinach.||Forms new blood cells.|
|Iodine||Salt, seafood.||Helps and regulates metabolism and controls the growth and development of our bodies.|
|Calcium||Milk and other dairy products.||Helps in the calcification of bones and makes bones stronger.|
|Zinc||Whole grains, eggs, fish, liver.||Accelerates the wound healing process and helps in both metabolism and digestion.|
Metabolism: The process that involves the conversion of food into energy.
Calcification: Building up calcium in the body tissue, causing them to harden.
Did You Know?
- If you drink water right after having food, that may reduce digestion speed and would not assimilate the nutrients that you get from your food. Try to drink water at least 2 hours after having food but do not forget to drink at least 3 to 4 litres of water a day.
- Vitamins can be categorised into water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.