Today’s modern lifestyles have changed so drastically that people are not actually aware for what food is essentially eaten for. Many of us who are running out of time in this fast paced life often just grab or skip their first meal of the day due to time constraints and are always in a rush to catch up with work, assignments etc.
Overall it is thought that Food should be delicious, aromatic, quick, comforting, easy and fast to eat, but none of these qualities should be mistaken for what food is truly meant for the human body.
We are given a beautiful short lived life to enjoy and food is an important part to fuel our bodies to keep ourselves going ahead and maintaining a healthy and fit life. Every human in one way or the other love to indulge in eating a scrumptious and delicious meal without sacrificing on the taste and flavor of the food but needs to know that food comprises of various other elements such as carbohydrates, protein, fat and nutrients.
Now what are these nutrients and why do we need to eat nutrient rich foods? In simple words, nutrients in our food are classified as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, fibre and minerals which play an important part in keeping our body healthy. A well balanced healthy and nutritious diet contains all these nutrients.
Fruits & Vegetables are rich sources of Calcium, Fibre, Iron, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium and Folate which are all the necessary nutrients that we require in one way or the other for proper functioning of human body.
Proteins: Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many significant roles in the human body.
They do most of the work within the cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. Protein in available in many foods we eat daily like cereals, breads, milk, cheese, meats, egg and fish.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the main energy source that provide us with energy and muscle functioning. They occur as either starches or sugar. They are found in foods like rice, bread, cereals, pasta and starchy vegetables like potato, dried beans and peas. Intake of surplus is converted into fat and stored in the body.
Fat: Fat is a nutrient that is essential for normal body functioning. They are fuel to provide energy to the body but if consumed in excess quantity than can lead to excess cholesterol levels and Obesity. Fatty foods include butter, margarine, cooking oils, and snack foods, processed or ready to eat foods, meats and cheese.
Fibre: Fibre is a complex carbohydrate (type of sugar) but unlike other carbohydrates. They are broken down by the body to provide fuel in the form of glucose. Fibre cannot be digested by the human body. Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet and help in preventing diseases like Diabetes, Heart disease, Obesity etc.
Vitamins: Vitamin is a group of organic substance, present in minute amounts in natural foods, which are essential to normal metabolism; insufficient amounts in the diet may cause deficiency diseases.
For example, Vitamin A for good vision, Vitamin D aids in regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in our bones and cell to cell communication throughout the body and vitamin K, which helps blood to clot (so cuts and scrapes stop bleeding quickly).
Minerals: Minerals are required in only small quantities but are however essential for on-going health. Like vitamins, minerals also help the body to grow, develop and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform various functions like building strong bones, transmitting nerve impulses etc.
Minerals are also available in small amount in foods like red meat (beef), salts etc. Benefits of eating nutrient rich foods: You might be asking yourself that why should we have a nutrient rich food only? That is because it gives you concentrated amounts of valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fibre, essential fatty acids and phyto-nutrients all in a well balanced meal.
Nutrient rich foods contain a lot of essential nutrients in one serving, while energy rich foods are those that have a lot of calories per serving. Foods that are actually high in fat or sugar are called the energy rich foods. These should be consumed only in moderation. Inculcate the habit of eating at least one fruit in a day as they are low in calories and good source of simple sugars, fibre and vitamins that are essential for optimizing our health. They also provide with good amount of soluble dietary fibre which aids in clearing off cholesterol and fats from the body.
List of Nutrient rich foods:
The nutrient rich foods include:
Fruits: This group include fruits like apple, banana, cantaloupe, mangoes, plums, peaches, grapes, watermelon, orange, strawberries etc.
Vegetable: In vegetables, they include peas, broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, ladies finger, spinach, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, tomatoes, onions etc.
For example, green vegetables like spinach, are a great source of vitamin A, C, K, calcium, and magnesium.
Whole Grains: This group includes brown rice, millet, flaxseeds, oats, barley, cracked wheat, rye etc.
Dried Beans: Beans that comes under nutrient rich foods are garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, black beans, kidney beans, broad beans, lentils, lima beans, soy beans, white beans etc.
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, Cashew nuts, Walnuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts etc come under this group.
Finally, the key in making your nutrient dense foods comes from the above list that includes vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, beans and whole unrefined grains. Whenever you plan to make nutrient dense foods, choose vibrant colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat free dairy, lean meat, fish, nuts and beans.
Milk is considered a complete food as it provides us with minerals, protein, fat, vitamins and carbohydrates. It is also important to consume at least one variety of different nutrient rich foods from each food group to maximize the nutrient intake.
Some amazing and wonderful tips for maintaining a healthy diet:
Some of the amazing nutrient rich Indian recipes are:
Cream of fresh Mushroom soup
Black Eyed Bean Chawli Kathod
Matki Chi Usal – Maharashtrian dish with Moth Beans
Babycorn Mushroom Peas in Onion Tomato Gravy
Kala Vatna Amti – Maharashtrian curry
You could always reach me at my website for amazing more nutritious recipes and healthy nutrient rich recipes: www.vahrehvah.com
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