Adopting a healthier lifestyle is usually a New Year’s resolution that most of us make. A healthy diet and, good physical activity are a big part of a good lifestyle. Food provides the necessary nutrition required for good health.
By definition, nutrients are substances present in food which provide energy, promote growth and development as well as maintain normal functions of the body. Since we derive all the nutrients through the diet we eat, our diet must be well balanced to carry out the above mentioned roles. Nutrients are broadly classified as MACRONUTRIENTS & MICRONUTRIENTS based on the amount required by the body.
MACRONUTRIENTS: – MACRO – LARGE / BIG. These are nutrients required by the body in large quantities, mainly broken into 3 groups – Carbohydrates, proteins & fat. Carbohydrates & Proteins will give you 4 Kcal/gram and fat will provide 9 Kcal/gram. No one food can give you any one nutrient alone. It is always a combination of any 2 or all of the Macronutrients.
For example:- Milk – Carb + Protein + Fat
Dal – Carb + Protein + Fat
Egg – Protein + Fat
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When we eat different foods in proper amounts, we derive all the macronutrients required by the body. Each of these macronutrients help in providing calories to the body for growth and development besides carrying out more specific functions-.
For example:- Carbohydrates – provide energy to the body
Protein – Develop muscles and cell membranes
Fat – Make hormones, help in absorption of fat soluble vitamins.
On the other hand, MICRONUTRIENTS:- (MICRO – Small) are nutrients required by the body in small quantities, mainly broken into VITAMINS & MINERALS. While Vitamins A, D, E and, -K will form your fat soluble vitamins (vitamins which require fats for absorption in the body), B – Vitamin group and Vitamin C form your water-soluble Vitamins. All Vitamins play a very important role in the life process. Rich sources of vitamins are fruits and vegetables.
Minerals and other trace elements also form part of the body structural component and take part in the chemical reaction within the body.
Eg: Minerals – Calcium, phosphorus, iron
Other Elements – Sodium, Potassium, Iodine, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium to name a few.
Rich Sources for these include grains and pulses.
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After knowing so much about food and nutrients we must acknowledge it beyond taste and understand its importance in our existence. Good Nutrition can benefit you on many levels. It’s one of the best ways to improve your health and your quality of life. And that’s important!
Co-authored by Amandeep Kaur Hanspal.