Food and Nutrients:
means any substance, which can be used to the body for nourishment, that is,
for its growth and maintenance. Food is necessary for life. Foods are obtained
from plants of many kinds, and from birds, fish and animals.
Nutrients are materials present in
food: They are,
Fats and oils.
Most food contains several of these nutrients. There is no
one food in nature, which contains all nutrients. We need to know different
kinds of foods, what nutrients they contain and why they are important.
For growth and development, and repairing of tissues-Protein
To provide energy for doing work-stable foods and fats.
To help the body to function properly and to protect from
diseases- vitamins and minerals.
When all these functions are fulfilled in the body, a person
is in a state of good health.
Energy yielding food.
A continual need of the body is energy. Energy foodstuffs
are fuel for the body to work, like diesel is the fuel for a bus to run. The
harder you work, the more energy food you need. Even at rest, the body still
uses energy for breathing and for the heart beating.
While burning fuel foods for energy, heat is also produced.
In cold weather one can keep oneself warm by exercising and eating more energy
Stable foods are cheap sources of energy. They are the basis
of our diet. They contain mostly carbohydrates and also proteins in small
amount. The kind of stable food we eat depends on our food habits and also what
The stable food includes:
Cereals and grains: Wheat made into bread, chappati etc,
rice, jowar, maize, ragi and millets.
Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potato and tapioca.
Starchy fruits: Banana, jackfruit, mango etc.
Sugar, honey and jaggery provide extra energy. They are rich
in carbohydrates foods.
Fats and oils such as vanaspathi, butter, ghee, oilseeds and
cooking oils are good sources of energy but they are not cheap. We should
include them with each meal. Fatstores in the body are useful when more energy
Calories are the unit to measure energy. We use calories to
measure how much of energy is there in certain foods. We also use calories to
measure how much of energy a person needs (energy requirements).
One gram of
carbohydrate yields four calories.
One gram of fat
yields nine calories.
One gram of protein yields
Proteins are not included in energy yielding food because
they are mainly used for bodybuilding. Here are some foodstuffs and the
calories provided per 100 grams.
Food stuff Calories
3. Jaggery 383
4. Honey 320
6. Groundnuts 549
7. Banana 150
8. Tapioca 159
10. Potato 99
11. Wheat bread 238
12. Wheat flour 348
13. Chappati 124
13. Chappati 124
14. Rice 345
15. Ragi 331
16. Maize 342
17. Bajra 360
Calorie requirements (energy
A baby below 6 months needs 120
calories per kg of body weight per day.
A baby, 7 to 12 months age needs 100
calories/kg per day.
A child, 1-3 years old needs about
1200 calories per day.
A child, 4-6 years old needs about
1600 calories per day.
A child, 7-9 years old needs about
1800 calories per day.
A child, 10-12 years old needs about
2100 calories per day.
An adolescent girl 13-19 years old
and boy 13-15 years old needs 2300 calorie per day.
An adolescent boy 16-19 years old
needs 3000 calories per day.
A man with moderate work needs 2800
calories per day.
A woman with moderate work needs
2200 calories per day.
A woman who is pregnant needs extra
300 calories per day.
A woman who is lactating needs extra
500 calories per day.
Proteins or the body-builders:
Proteins are essential for growth,
for building different kinds of cells, tissues and organs of the human body.
From this we can understand why pregnant women, nursing mothers, babies and
children all need to have a lot of proteins in their diet.
Those who are injured or diseased
need extra protein for repair of tissue. Everyone needs protein because our
bodies are made up of living cells, which wear out and need replacing. For
example, the life of red blood cells is only about 120 days. New red blood
cells need to be synthesized constantly.
There are different types of
proteins and each one is made up of different type of amino acids. There are
about 20 different kinds of amino acids. When we eat a protein food, first the
protein gets separated and then the protein chain is broken into amino acids.
Inside the body new proteins are
synthesized by joining up the amino acids in different order according to the
needs of the body. These are called body proteins.
The body can make some amino acids out of others, and these
are called ' nonessential amino acids' . About 8 amino acids cannot be made by
the body and must be taken in our food. They are called the ' essential amino
The protein in milk and eggs provide all these essential
amino acids and these are the best bodybuilding food. Other animal proteins
(meat and fish) are also good body-builders.
Vegetarians and people who cannot afford to have animal
proteins can get enough essential amino acids by mixing and including more
variety of plant protein food.
Many amino acids in our food are not
useful for bodybuilding and so are used as fuel for energy. Those who do not
get enough of the essential amino acids in their diet become malnourished.
However, it is often possible to get the amino acids we need by eating two
kinds of plant proteins at one time.
For example, proteins in rice are short of two essential
amino acids, but pulses are rich sources of these amino acids. Therefore mixing
pulses with rice makes a more nutritious diet.
In a similar way, soy flour (from
soyabeans) can be mixed with wheat flour to make nutritious roti or chappaties.
A mixed cereal diet is better than just one kind of cereal.
A poor family at least can cook some dark green leafy
vegetables to eat with the stable food and this will help in providing some