Food We Eat
Concept: Importance of Food
Food is important because it is needed to maintain a healthy body. A balanced diet constitutes body-building foods, energy-giving foods, and immunity-building foods in proper proportions. The components of a balanced diet also vary according to different individuals' age, sex, and physical activities.
A balanced diet contains all kinds of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, water, and roughage in proper quantities, which give us the energy to perform physical work and help in body development and tissue repair.
Components of a balanced diet:
- Proteins help in the growth and development of our bodies.
- They also help in repairing damaged cells and tissues.
- The structural and functional units of proteins are called amino acids.
- Our hair, nails, skin, muscles, everything is made up of protein.
- Protein-rich foods are first broken down into amino acids in our digestive system and then get absorbed.
- Proteins also help in wound healing and blood clotting.
- Proteins are also known as protective foods.
2. Carbohydrates and fats:
- Both carbohydrates and fats are called energy-giving foods.
- They produce energy in the body.
- While doing physical activities, we utilise this energy.
- Fats are reserved in the body for future use. If the body becomes carbohydrate-deficient, the fats break down, get absorbed by the body, and release energy. So, fats are called energy reservoirs.
- Fats also help in the regulation of body temperature.
- Sometimes stored fat layers in our bodies work like cushions. They protect different organs like eyes, kidneys etc.
3. Vitamins and minerals:
- Both vitamins and minerals are the essential micronutrients of the body.
- Both of them boost our immunity system and protect us from many diseases.
- Minerals increase our bone density and ensure that all the organs of our body function properly.
- A few important vitamins are—vitamin A, D, C, and B, and a few important minerals are zinc, iron, calcium, and iodine.
- Water is a vital component that helps in bodily functions.
- Without water, our body cells cannot even utilise the energy which they get from food.
- The human body contains about 70% to 80 % of water.
- Water regulates body temperature.
- Water produces sweat that helps in the evaporation of excess fluid from the body.
- Digestion, excretion, and transportation of food would not be possible without water.
- Mainly fruits and vegetables provide the roughage component in the diet.
- Roughage is also called dietary fibre.
- Roughage is essential for retaining water, which helps in digestion and proper bowel movement.
- A food pyramid explains which food items should be consumed in what proportions for a balanced diet.
- According to the food pyramid, we need to incorporate enough water into our diet.
- The next level is for whole grains or food items made of whole grains. These types of foods are usually carbohydrates and give us energy.
- The next level is for fruits and vegetables, which give us enough roughage, vitamins, and minerals.
- After that, the food pyramid level includes protein-rich foods. Proteins help in muscle growth and repair work of the body.
- The next level is the top level of the food pyramid, which is dedicated to sugar-rich food items and other fat-containing food items.
- As we see, the base components should be consumed in more amounts while the foods at the top have to be eaten in lower quantities.
Balanced diet for young children:
The following chart indicates the amounts of different food components required for a normal and balanced diet for young children.
|Food items||Boys (10 -12 years)||Girls (10 -12 years)|
|Cereals||420 gm||380 gm|
|Pulses||45 gm||45 gm|
|Leafy vegetables||50 gm||50 gm|
|Milk||250 gm||250 gm|
|Fat||40 gm||35 gm|
|Sugar||45 gm||45 gm|
Immunity system: It is a system in our body consisting of cells, tissues, organs, and other substances that help us fight against different diseases and infections.
Micronutrients: These are essential nutrients for our body that are needed in extremely small amounts.
Did You Know?
- Milk, chaas, kefir, and yoghurt are probiotic foods. These foods have live microorganisms that keep our gut healthy.
- Fats provide more energy than carbohydrates.
- The deficiency of iron causes anaemia which causes a decrease in the haemoglobin level in our body.