Importance of food
There is an old saying” you are what you eat, you become what you think.” You eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day without fail. Have you ever wondered what happens to the digested food? I know that it provides energy and nourishes the body.
How does it nourish the body?
Come, let’s indulge in little science and common sense because once it is known how food is utilized in our body then perhaps we will devote time to eating healthy food. Well, the carbs, proteins, and the fat that we eat are slowly broken down and metabolized into smaller biomolecules (essentially glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, and alcohol). These biomolecules are now absorbed into the cell via the bloodstream. Once the cell absorbs, some amount is utilized to produce energy to do work. A substantial amount is utilized to make new cells or stored for future use. Thus basically new cells arise and replace the old out of the food that we consume. These cells give rise to more new cells for the growth and maintenance of the body. Thus the consumed food is used in the construction and replacement of cells, tissues, hormones, and their secretions. Food is the base upon which the entire system is regenerated. So, now my dear friends’ common sense dictates that a strong foundation is a prerequisite for the body. So if we eat healthily then the body becomes strong, agile, and aware while unhealthy food slowly can make us insane. So in short “you are what you eat” is the reason our ancient sages gave a lot of importance to the type of food that should be eaten because we become what we eat.
Healthy food- how do I know you?
In general healthy food can be defined as a balanced diet that is
- rich in nutrients and natural vitamins
- having high fiber content,
- Slowly absorbed by the cells
- promoting growth and repair of body cells
- should NOT contain chemical pesticides or artificial flavors
Before documenting the healthy food list lets identify what not to eat.
Enticing dangerous foods
Highly refined eatables, artificial flavors, and chemical pesticides are toxic for the body in the long run. It goes without saying junk food, artificial soft drinks, high refined sugars should be avoided at all costs as they have maybe good for taste buds but have zero nutritional value. Highly refined sugars also harm the body in the long run. These get absorbed in the bloodstream real fast thereby putting huge pressure on the cells to eliminate soon. Studies suggest that this is one of the major causes of cancer. Hence it is also very important to understand that “all that glitters is not gold” Refined sugar appears very enticing, but is dangerous in the long run.
Does healthy food vary according to age?
Healthy food slightly varies for children, adults and old people. Children can accommodate a diet rich in sugar, protein and fat as their body cells are growing as well as repairing whereas for the adults the major function of the body is to maintain hence the amount of protein, carb and fat should be restricted. For the old people body cells are working at a slow pace, digestion is slow. Hence it is imperative to restrict the quantity of food consumed.
Food to be consumed frequently
Broadly we can classify the food to be consumed frequently as the following-
- whole grains
- fruits and veggies
- dairy products
- fats and oils
Whole grains: they form the staple food all over the world. Whole grains have 3 layers- bran (outer nutritious layer), germ (nutrient-rich embryo) and endosperm, (starchy carbs). They are rich in micro and macronutrients like iron, magnesium, phosphorous, B vitamins, and dietary fiber. Whole grains substantially reduce risks of heart problems, cancer, etc. These are slowly released in the bloodstream and taken by the cells in a well-regulated manner. As a result, we don’t feel hungry for a long time and is light on the stomach. Examples include wheat, rice, bread, cereal, pasta, etc.
Fruits and veggies: fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, minerals like magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, folic acid and vitamins like vitamin A, C (citrus variety), E etc. Fruits like banana provide additional calories and boost energy which is perfect for morning breakfast. They protect against diseases by increasing immunity. We all know the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.
Leafy vegetables are generally rich in fiber, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, calcium, etc. They prevent heart diseases and blood pressure when consumed in the right amounts.
Dairy products: Milk and other dairy products like cheese, curd, butter, and ghee are rich in calcium, magnesium which is necessary for bone growth and sustenance. For children, they provide instant energy and nourishment as milk contains lactose that gets broken down in the body to glucose for energy requirement. They are also rich in phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin B complex, etc. A glass of milk twice daily for children works wonders for their overall growth and maintenance. Adults however should consume in a restricted manner or it may result in indigestion and flatulence. Adults can consume buttermilk as it rehydrates the body especially in hot summers besides providing energy.
Fats and Oils: Fats and Oils: Even fats and oils should be consumed frequently to maintain proper shape and structure of body cells. The structure of the body cell is maintained because of the dynamic arrangement of protein, fats, cholesterol, and carbohydrates. Oils like olive oil, gingelly oil, coconut oil, mustard oil have been used traditionally used in Indian homes for both aesthetic and culinary purposes. Skin cells grow and appear soft and supple when massaged with oil regularly. These have immense health benefits when consumed in optimal quantities. In conclusion, it is important to understand that any natural food is healthy as long as consumed in optimal quantity. The definition of healthy food alters based on age, family history, and individual susceptibility. Also, it is important to consume local produce and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Remember “A happy mind is in a healthy