Importance of balanced diet - Learning Concepts
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Food

Concept : Balanced Diet

The diet which contains all the nutrients—carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals,
and water in adequate amounts required by the body is called a balanced diet.

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Nutritional requirement of the body:

  • The nutritional requirement of a person depends on age, gender, and nature of work.
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  • A young person doing manual work requires more energy than an old lady staying indoors.
  • Similarly, a person who spends most of the time sitting and working on a laptop should consume less fat and carbohydrates.
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Importance of balanced diet:

  • A balanced diet keeps our body healthy and provides energy to carry out all the daily activities.
  • We may tend to fall ill or become weak if we do not consume a balanced diet every day.
  • Children need to have a balanced diet. Otherwise, they will frequently get sick, and their growth and development will be hampered.
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Balanced diet for school children:

A balanced diet for school children should include the following—

  • Carbohydrates in each meal.
  • Three servings of dairy products.
  • Plenty of seasonal fruits.
  • Beans, peas, nuts, eggs, moderate amounts of fish, and meat.
  • Little fat and 6-8 glasses of drinking water.

Role of water in a balanced diet:

Our body comprises about 55-60% water. Water is vital for maintaining good
health as it is involved in important functions of the body.

  • Regular consumption of water avoids constipation and helps in digestion maintaining good bowel health.
  • Our kidneys need adequate water to filter the waste efficiently, later on passed as urine.
  • Water is required for the circulation of different substances like food, oxygen, hormones, etc., throughout the body.
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  • The body requires water to produce sweat which is necessary to maintain the optimum temperature of our body.
  • Water is known to hydrate every organ in the body, including human body’s largest organ—skin. Drinking water regularly
    keeps the skin fresh, supple, and hydrated.

Role of roughage in the balanced diet:

  • Roughage is the fibrous indigestible material found in vegetables and fruits.
  • It does not have any additional nutrients.
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  • Roughage helps in the movement of food through the alimentary canal.
  • Thus, it helps to prevent constipation and get rid of undigested food.
  • Roughage also helps in retaining water in the body.

Food Pyramid:

  • A food pyramid tells us what proportions of nutrients we should eat to make our diet a balanced one.
  • The different panels of the pyramid represent different food groups.
  • The food items at the bottom of the pyramid are meant to be eaten in greater quantities than those at the top of the food pyramid in lesser quantities.
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  • The food pyramid is divided into different layers representing the five common food groups, from the base upwards—
    1. Vitamins and minerals.
    2. Carbohydrates such as bread, cereals, and potatoes.
    3. Proteins, such as meat, fish, eggs, and beans.
    4. Milk and dairy foods.
    5. Fats and sugars.

By observing the food pyramid, we can conclude the following—

  • We should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
    It will ensure that we get a good mix of vitamins and minerals daily.
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  • Carbohydrates should make up the second-largest portion on our plate.
    They are required to maintain the energy levels of our bodies.
  • Our body needs proteins for building and repair.
    As it lies in the centre of the pyramid, hence should be consumed in moderate amounts.
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  • Fats and sugars are at the top of the pyramid and should be consumed in small amounts.

New Words:

Constipation: A digestive disorder where the frequency of passing stool decreases due to lack of water or dietary fibers.

Roughage: Plant products which are rich in dietary fibres, such as, spinach, kidney beans, strawberries, etc.

Misconceptions:

Having water after fruits helps in better absorption of nutrients:

One should not have water after fruits because of the following reasons—

  • It disturbs the acidity of the stomach that leads to indigestion.
  • The water-soluble nutrients in the fruits get dissolved with water and are passed further
    into the alimentary canal, which does not give them sufficient time to be absorbed in the body.

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