Let see the essential nutrients and their natural sources, for the healthy growth of body and mind. Protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fats are the essential nutrients for good health. They strengthen our immunity system, help fight against diseases, and keep us healthy, fit and strong.
Protein – Protein are essential for the growth, maintenance and regeneration of the body. The main sources of proteins are pulses, milk, eggs, meat etc. Many nutritionists believe that animal proteins are superior and indeed complete food proteins whereas vegetable proteins are inferior and incomplete food proteins. They insist on vegetarians taking plenty of milk so that they can get sufficient amounts of complete food proteins and the body can be maintained at its best.
A non-vegetarian diet provides excessive amounts of proteins to the body. And excess of proteins may result in many diseases. This is because ingestion of excessive amounts of proteins results in the formation of uric acid, which is harmful to health.
Vitamins and Minerals – Vitamins and minerals perform various important functions in the body. Vitamins are needed for the proper digestion and absorption of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and the development of the ability of the body to protect itself against diseases. Minerals are needed for the formation and functioning of the cells. These vital substances are necessary for the maintenance of health.
Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates provides heat and energy to the body. The major sources of carbohydrates are cereals, tubers, roots, pulses, milk, etc. One should prefer the use of natural carbohydrates in their natural forms in place of processed carbohydrates. Processing removes the fibers and roughage from the food that results in insufficient elimination of wastes. Toxic substances consequently accumulate in the blood. De-branned flour, polished rice, white flour, refined sugars, canned and bottled fruit juices, tomato ketchup, jams, jellies, bread, chocolates, cakes, biscuits, sweets etc. are instances of such processed foods.
Fats – Fats, too like carbohydrates, perform the function of supplying heat and energy to the body. The main sources of fats for vegetarians are ghee (clarified butter) and oils. There are two types of fats – saturated and unsaturated. Prolonged used of saturated fats causes constriction and hardening of arteries, which may result in hypertension, heart attack and other related ailments. It is therefore necessary to minimize the intake of saturated fats and replacing them by unsaturated fats.
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to provide health advice and is for general information only. Always seek the insights of a qualified health professional before embarking on any health program.
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