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Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients, as very small amounts of vitamins and minerals are needed every day to keep the body in good health. Many foods contain vitamins and minerals as well as proteins, carbohydrates and Fats. Vitamins and minerals regulate the body functions.
Plants absorb minerals in the soil and water. Animals and human beings eat plants. Therefore we get minerals from three sources: Water, plants and animals.
This mineral is present in large amounts in bones and teeth. Therefore extra calcium is needed for pregnant and nursing mothers and growing children.
Calcium is necessary for
1. formation of bones and teeth
2. clotting of blood.
3. strength of capillary walls.
4. contraction of heart muscle and skeletal muscles.
5. normal functioning of nerves.
Calcium needs to be in correct proportion with phosphorus. Vitamins D and C are also needed for calcium absorption and utilization.
Milk is an important source. Other sources are ragi, bajra, sesame seeds, wheat, small dried fish and seafood.
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA): 1200 mg per day
This may result in
Stunted growth in children.
Rickets (Calcium and vitamin D deficiency)
Tetany-nervousness, muscles twitching and spasms.
Osteoporosis - brittle bones so that fractures occur with minor accidents.
Interference with blood clotting.
Phosphorus is needed
1. With calcium to form bones and teeth.
2. For brain and nerves formation.
3. For carbohydrates and fat metabolism.
4. For development of all types of cells in the body.
Most food contain phosphorus, especially milk, meat, fish, eggs, nuts grains and green leaves.
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA): 1200 mg per day.
Iron is necessary for synthesis of hemoglobin in the blood. Pregnant women need extra iron for the development of fetal blood. Iron is lost in menstruation and whenever there is bleeding deficiency of iron causes anemia. Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron.
Ragi, bajra, sesame seeds, jaggery, dark green leafy vegetables, gram and dhal, liver, meat and eggs.
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA): 25 mg for men and 35 mg for women per day.
Insufficiency of iron in the diet is a common cause of anemia. Those who lack iron look pale, have difficulties in breathing and get easily tired. Children who are anemia are often sick.
Normally the iron in our bodies is reused and hence we need little extra iron from our diet. In the following circumstances iron is lost and anemia develops.
1. Bleeding of any kind, excess bleeding during menstruation, bleeding piles and dysentery.
2. Disease such as malaria and hookworm, where blood is destroyed.
In pregnancy because the fetus takes iron from the mother.
Growing children need extra iron to synthesis blood, and anemia is common especially after the age of 3 or 4 months when the iron stored in the liver is depleted. There is very little iron in milk, and other iron rich foods must be given to these young children.
Iodine is needed for the normal functioning of the thyroid
1. Sea fish, vegetables grown near the seawater.
2. Iodized salt should be used.
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA): 150 mg per day.
In places far from the sea there is deficiency of iodine in water and food (Himalayan belt). In many people, especially girls, the thyroid gland enlarges leading to a condition called goiter.
1. Goitre is an endemic disease.
2. During pregnancy iodine deficiency causes cretinism in the baby.
3. Goitre may be prevented and also cured by the regular use of iodized salt in the diet of people who live in areas of iodine deficiency.
4. Under the National Goitre Control Programme (NGCP),
iodized salt is supplied freely in endemic goitre area, with the help of UNICEF.
Water is a basic requirement. More than 60% of the human body weight is due to water.
Distribution of water:
Water is distributed in three compartments
a. intercellular (50% of the body weight)
b. interstitial (15% of the body weight)
c. Blood (5 % of the body weight)
Sources of water are drinking water, food and a small quantity is formed as a result of metabolism (800ml).
1. Essential constituents of many vital body fluids (blood, lymph, CSF)
2. Assists in the regulation of the body temperature.
3. Helps in the transport of nutrition' s within the body
4. building and repair of the body tissues.
5. Utilised in body processes. Eg. Digestion, absorption, elimination
6. Besides body needs water for bathing, washing and other activities.
Water is lost through urine, sweat, expired air, in the faeces and lactating women through the milk Requirement for a normal healthy person needs 6 glasses of water. ( 1 ml per calorie of food) Pathologic effect of excessive water loss occurs in severe diarrhoea , resulting in dehydration . Water retention ( kidney failure results in enema
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