Food is a vital source of nutrients for the body. Nutrients help repair daily wear and tear of the body and substitute exhausted ones from the body.
The body, in general, requires 3 basic food ingredients and a few essential vitamins and minerals.
Nutrients are those food contents that nourish the body and provide sufficient strength and longevity when consumed at optimum levels.
i.e., to say that their consumption in excess or insufficient levels can cause nutritional disorders.
What are the Nutrients in a healthy meal?
The meal we consume has, 3 major food ingredients, viz. carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in almost any type of food or diet we daily eat.
Besides these, there are also essential minor nutrients, like Vitamins and minerals.
The nutrients differ in their chemistry, sources, function, and role inside the body and cell.
- These are the source of energy and have a part in the build-up of tissue or cells.
- Once consumed, they are available as readily usable sources like glucose in the body or as reserve sources as glycogen.
- They produce energy required by the body, which is also converted to body heat.
- So their main role lies in producing body activities requiring muscle action, maintaining body temperature, and fueling other reactions involving proteins, hormones, and enzymes. So they play a key role in the sustenance of life in the body.
- They are provided with foods like bread, wheat, rice, maize, etc. They provide energy to the body to work.
- Proteins are structures made of amino acids and peptides and are building blocks that take part in a physical build-up of the body; they also act as substrates for various body reactions taking place in the body ex: enzymes.
- These useful nutrients are provided by foods like pulses, eggs, meat, milk, etc. Proteins help in the rejuvenation of the body from wounds, provide immunity, etc.
- These are nutrients that are required in low quantities than the other two major nutrients.
- Their main role in the body appears to be either to act as a reserve source of carbohydrates (i.e., they convert into carbohydrate bi-products during starvation) to produce energy or form cell constituents and other organelle structures.
- They impart elasticity, and smoothness to internal and external body surfaces.
- These nutrients are different fatty acids and are present in all types of vegetable oils.
- They are required in low quantities than the first two nutrients.
- If they are not taken up in food, they can be synthesized by the body from excess carbohydrates, except for essential fatty acids.
Minor nutrients in a healthy meal:
- They include Vitamins and minerals. They are required in minor quantities.
- Their excesses or deficiencies can have drastic alterations in health.
- Vitamins are a set of organic nutrients required in small quantities for certain biochemical and metabolic functions.
- They are to be taken from the external diet as the body itself cannot synthesize them.
- Minerals are inorganic elements that have diverse roles in body physiology.
- Some of them include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, cobalt, copper, iron, etc., the body must be provided in the diet and in excess can be harmful to the body.
- These nutrients need not be taken from any specific source other than a daily diet consisting of vegetables, and fruits, a normal diet consisting of all major nutrients and drinking water.
A healthy meal is one that provides all the nutrients in proper proportions.
But the caution to be exercised is to have more natural product sources like vegetables, fruits, and milk in excess quantities as they have these minor nutrients in plenty.
Moreover, they can be easily assimilated by the digestive system and also compatible with the body.
Reliance on comfort after a meal is more important than just the taste (like spices), which encourages us to fill our stomachs.
Have minimal water before and after a meal. One of the better ideas is to have a meal with a small amount at frequent intervals is preferable to one with a large diet at long intervals.
A healthy meal is preferably fresh and not stored in any form.
Consumption of external nutrients like vitamins and minerals is encouraged but provides them with food unless desired by your health standards.
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Freqently asked questions and answers
Energy is yielded by carbohydrates, fats and in case of starvation, even proteins also yield energy.
The inorganic materials essential for the cells include, sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium.
Nitrogen is present in large quantities in the proteins we avail from food.
Fats or lipids had highest calories per gram than carbs.