Nutrition & Diet

At WELLthyLife, our core intention is to provide you authentic and in-depth knowledge with innovative products and services in the domain of prevention and care and help you make your health a priority in your life.

  • Diet for Healthy Living
  • Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Daily Protein Requirement
  • Vitamins for Life
  • Understanding Fats

Diet for Healthy Living

Healthy Diet:

Increased consumption of processed food, rapid urbanization and erratic lifestyles have led us shift our dietary patterns. We are now consuming more foods high in energy (a full scoop ice cream having approx. 500 Cal where as for a sedentary person the total daily requirement of energy is approx.1400 Cal), fats, free sugars or salt/sodium. Inaccessibility & inconvenience of eating enough fruit, vegetables and dietary fibre such as whole grains has led us to malnutrition.

Choosing a healthy diet throughout life helps prevent malnutrition in all its forms as well as a range of non communicable diseases and conditions. The exact make-up of a diversified, balanced and healthy diet varies depending on individual needs (e.g. age, gender, lifestyle, degree of physical activity), cultural context, locally available foods and dietary customs. But basic principles of what constitute a healthy diet remain the same.

Healthy Diet as per WHO:

  • A healthy diet helps protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
  • Unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health.
  • Healthy dietary practices start early in life - breastfeeding fosters healthy growth and improves cognitive development, and may have longer-term health benefits, like reducing the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing NCDs later in life.
  • Energy intake (calories) should be in balance with energy expenditure. Evidence indicates that total fat should not exceed 30% of total energy intake to avoid unhealthy weight gain, with a shift in fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats and towards the elimination of industrial trans fats.
  • Limiting intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake is part of a healthy diet. A further reduction to less than 5% of total energy intake is suggested for additional health benefits.
  • Keeping salt intake to less than 5g per day helps prevent hypertension and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke in the adult population.

For adults a healthy diet for adults contains:

  • Fruits, vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils, beans), nuts and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat, brown rice).
  • At least 400g (5 portions) of fruits and vegetables a day . Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots are not classified as fruits or vegetables.
  • Less than 10% of total energy intake from free sugars which is equivalent to 50g (or around 12 level teaspoons) for a person of healthy body weight consuming approximately 2000 calories per day, but ideally less than 5% of total energy intake for additional health benefits. Most free sugars are added to foods or drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and can also be found in sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
  • Less than 30% of total energy intake from fats. Unsaturated fats (e.g. found in fish, avocado, nuts, sunflower, canola and olive oils) are preferable to saturated fats (e.g. found in fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee and lard). Industrial trans fats (found in processed food, fast food, snack food, fried food, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines and spreads) are not part of a healthy diet.
  • Less than 5 g of salt (equivalent to approximately 1 teaspoon) per day and use iodized salt.

Points to note :

  • Nutrition is a basic human need and a prerequisite to a healthy life. A proper diet is essential from the very early stages of life for proper growth, development and to remain active.
  • Urbanization has increased the intake and demand for processed foods. There is a trend towards replacing traditionally cooked foods with processed foods. Processed foods may not be nutritionally balanced unless fortified. Sugar, a processed food, provides empty calories.
  • Processed foods being rich in fats, salt, sugar and preservatives may pose a health risk if consumed regularly.
  • Safe and good-quality foods are essential for maintaining good health. Naturally-occurring toxins, environmental contaminants and adulterants in foods constitute a health hazard. Consumption of unsafe foods can lead to food-borne diseases.
  • Dietary fibre delays the intestinal transit of the food consumed. It is important for proper bowel function, coronary heart diseases, diabetes and obesity. They also reduce plasma cholesterol.
  • Antioxidants restrict the damage that reactive oxygen free radicals can cause to the cell and cellular components. They are of primary biological value in giving protection from certain diseases.
  • Prefer traditional or home-made foods. Avoid replacing meals with snack foods. Limit consumption of sugar and unhealthy processed foods which provide only (empty) calories. Prefer fortified processed foods.
  • Water is the most important nutrient of all and helps in the upkeep of our health. Drink plenty of water and take beverages in moderation. Water plays a key role in elimination of body wastes and regulation of body temperature.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Nearly half of the world's micronutrient-deficient population is found in India as per NCBI data. Unbalanced eating of household food, adverse and harmful dietary practices, harsh & fad dieting, specific food taboos, and dietary restrictions are the basic cause of these malnutrition and deficiencies. Too little diet supplies or too little of one or more nutrients leads to particular form of malnutrition called under nutrition. When the diet provides too much of one or more nutrients it becomes ‘over nutrition’.

Poor nutrition leads to weak or obese physique, prone to diseases and less immunity along with less energetic life. Low lean body mass is associated with many concurrent and future adverse health outcomes. Thus, achievement of optimum growth, repair and maintenance of cells is purely dependent on nutrition you take. Cases of malnutrition in urban India are increasingly coming to notice along with poor nutrition in rural and urban areas. Junk food, sweet drinks and biscuits are filling stomach but they are not nutritious. These facts lead us to the realization that nutrients must be supplied to the body in the right amounts and proportions for a person to remain healthy. When this deficiency is prolonged or sufficiently severe, the person starts showing signs of a nutritional deficiency disorder.

Deficiencies in micronutrients such as iron, iodine, vitamin A, folate and zinc can have devastating consequences. Mild forms of a nutrient deficiency would be treated and controlled by eating foods rich in that particular nutrient. Vitamin supplements are necessary which contain the nutrient in concentrated form when the deficiency is moderate to severe.

We need to know the foods one should take for our body composition to stay balanced.

Carbohydrate:

Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy, which runs your body. They help fuel your brain, kidneys, heart, muscles and central nervous system. For instance, fiber is a carbohydrate that aids in digestion, helps you feel full and keeps blood cholesterol levels in check. Sources of carbohydrates are - Cereals, roots & tubers, fruits such as banana, sapota, mango. Sugars are most concentrated forms are carbohydrate rich foods.

Deficiency of carbohydrates leads to ketosis. A deficiency of carbohydrate leads to excessive breaking of proteins. Deficiency of carbohydrate means you are not giving body the preferred source of energy and thus it starts destroying proteins which were needed for other important functions. Fatigue, decreased energy level are signs of carbohydrate deficiency.

Protein:

Protein is needed for energy, growth, repair and functioning. Kwashiorkor (protein malnutrition predominant) Marasmus (deficiency in calorie intake) Marasmic Kwashiorkor (marked protein deficiency and marked calorie insufficiency signs) are most severe forms of malnutrition.

Human body cannot make all required proteins on own. These should be taken through food. If the foods you eat provide you with too few amino acids, especially essential amino acids, your body breaks down protein-rich tissues – your muscles, for example – to access them. Therefore, the initial effect of low protein intake can be muscle wasting accompanied by increasing weakness. Main food sources of protein are pulses, milk & milk products, eggs, meat, fish, nuts & oil seeds.

Fat:

Fats or fatty acids (FA) are important nutrients in our diet providing energy and adding palatability to foods If you don't get at least 15 percent of your calories from fat, you could develop an essential fatty acid deficiency or a deficiency of one or more of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

An essential fatty acid deficiency can be corrected by getting more omega-3 and omega-6 fats in your diet, and the combination of fat and fat-soluble vitamins can resolve fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies.

However, foods with high content of saturated fatty acids (SFA) are known to cause a myriad of health problems. Foods high in unsaturated FAs, especially essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) contribute to good health. Among the PUFA, alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid (abbreviated ALA) and linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, (abbreviated LA) are essential for human metabolism and their short fall can affect the healthy functioning of our body. Our body cannot synthesize these essential FAs and to meet their nutritional requirements we have to source them through our diet. Sources of fats are Oils, butter & ghee, milk, eggs, nuts, grains etc.

Vitamins:

Fat soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, D, E, K. Water soluble vitamins are Vitamin B, C, Right from eye sight maintenance to metabolism and cellular functions, vitamin are necessary as a diet. A vitamin deficiency can cause a disease or syndrome known as an avitaminosis or hypovitaminosis.

  • Vitamin A: Necessary to support healthy eyesight and immune system functions
    Deficiency: Night Blindness and death from infections such as measles and diarrhea.
  • Vitamin D: Necessary vitamin for calcium & phosphorus metabolism, bone mineralisation
    Deficiency: Rickets, Osteomalacia
  • Vitamin E: Ncessary for healthy immune system, skin & eye. Fight Free radicals and works as antioxidants.
    Deficiency: Poor transmission of nerve impulses, muscle weakness, and degeneration of the retina that can cause blindness
  • Vitamin K: Necessary for responding to injuries – regulates normal blood clotting. Assists transport of calcium throughout the body
    Deficiency: celiac disease. cystic fibrosis. a disorder in the intestines or biliary tract
  • B1 or Thiamine: Helps the body release energy from carbohydrates, aids growth and muscle tone
    Defficiency: Subacutely and can lead to metabolic coma and death.Well-known syndromes caused by thiamine deficiency include beriberi, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, and optic neuropathy
  • B2 or Riboflavin: Helps body release energy from protein, fat & carbohydrates
    Deficiency: Ariboflavinosis- This condition is present mostly in people who suffer from malnutrition and in alcoholics
  • B3 or Niacin: Involved in carbohydrate, protein metabolism
    Deficiency: Pellagra is a disease which includes inflammation of the skin (dermatitis), vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, and memory loss. If untreated, pellagra is ultimately fatal
  • B5 or Pantothenic Acid: is a component of coenzyme A (CoA),which plays a critical role in the utilization of fats and carbohydrates in energy production, as well as in the manufacture of adrenal hormones and red blood cells.
    Deficiency: A deficiency in vitamin B5 causes chronic paraesthesia. Paraesthesia is most familiar to us as the numbing sensation we feel as ‘pins and needles’ or a limb ‘falling asleep
  • B6 or Pyridoxine: Make antibodies. Antibodies are needed to fight many diseases. Maintain normal nerve function. Make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the red blood cells to the tissues.
    Deficiency: can cause peripheral neuropathy, seborrheic dermatitis, glossitis, and cheilosis, and, in adults, depression, confusion, and seizures
  • B7 or Biotin: support adrenal function, help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and are necessary for key metabolic processes
    Deficiency: Biotin deficiency causes rashes, hair loss, anaemia, and mental conditions including hallucinations, drowsiness, and depression
  • B9 or Folic Acid: Aids in genetic material development, red cell production
    Deficiency: folic acid deficiency anemia.
  • B12 or Cobalamin: protein metabolism. It helps in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system
    Deficiency: Gradual deterioration of the spinal cord and very gradual brain deterioration, resulting in sensory or motor deficiencies. Mental disorders from the gradual brain damage begin as fatigue, irritability, depression, or bad memory. As the disease progresses over several years, psychosis and mania can appear.
  • Vitamin C: Essential for structure of bones and cartilages, helps maintain capillaries, gums, aids in absorption of iron etc
    Deficiency: Severe deficiency causes Scurvy. It affects bone and muscle strength and it stifles the immune system.

Minerals:(Macroelements)

Minerals can be obtained from food, supplements, and fortified food products. There are five main types of mineral deficiency: calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Poor, low-calorie, and restricted diets can potentially cause mineral deficiency.

  • Calcium: Plays key role in imparting strength to bones and teeth, calcium plays a critical role as a messenger in cell-signaling pathways throughout the body and is necessary for normal cell function, transmission of nerve signals, secretion of hormones, blood coagulation, muscle contraction, and muscle relaxation
    Source: Milk & Milk products, some fish and sea foods, ragi, pulses, green leafy vegetables
    Deficiency: Fatigue, joint pain, low bone density, and weight gain
  • Phosphorus: Plays role in formation of bones and teeth, component of nucleic acids, energy molecules and coenzymes
    Source: Eggs, Milk, poultry, fish
    Deficiency: may cause bone diseases such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. An improper balance of phosphorus and calcium may cause osteoporosis.
  • Sodium: Maintenance of ionic and water balance, muscle contraction; conduction of nerve impulses; component of digestive juices. Present in bile salts, Main cation of ECF
    Source: Table salt in adequate quantities, milk, egg white, meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables
    Deficiency: Improper muscle contraction; nervous depression; loss of Na+ in urine, dehydration
  • Potassium: Potassium is a mineral that functions as an electrolyte. It’s required for muscle contraction, proper heart function, and the transmission of nerve signals
    Source: Fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, pulses, whole grain cereals
    Deficiency: Nervous disorder; poor muscle control leading to paralysis
  • Magnesium:
    Source: Nuts, oil seeds, pulses, whole grains, sea foods, dark green leafy vegetables, fish, meat
    Deficiency: Heart and vascular irregularities; dilated blood vessels, loss of muscle coordination.
  • Chloride:Main anion of ECF, Acid- base balance
    Source: Adequate table salt
    Deficiency: Vomiting and hypochloremic alkalosis

Minerals:(Microelements)

  • Iron: Formation of Hb so help in O2 transport, Component of cytochromes of ETS.Cofactor of catalase enzyme.
    Source: Liver, kidney, spleen, whole cereals and pulses (such a soyabean), green leafy vegetables
    Deficiency: Anaemia; skin problems
  • Iodine: Normal functioning of thyroid; component of thyroxin so controls BMR
    Sources: Sea foods, crops grown on soil rich in Iodine (iodized salt can be used)
    Deficiency: Goiter, Cretinism, Myxoedema
  • Zinc: Zinc plays a role in many aspects of the body’s metabolism like protein synthesis, immune system function, wound healing, DNA synthesis
    Source: Beans, Nuts, Pumpkin seeds, Whole Grains
    Deficiency: Zinc deficiency can cause loss of appetite, taste or smell. Decreased function of the immune system and slowed growth are other symptoms. Severe deficiency can also cause diarrhea, loss of hair, and impotence
  • Manganese: Normal reproductive functions, cofactor for enzymes
    Source: Liver, kidney, peanuts
    Deficiency: Reproductive failure; menstrual irregularities.
  • Copper: Cofactor for enzymes e.g. oxidases and tyrosinase. Component of haemocyanin.
    Source: Liver, spleen, kidneys, peanuts, beet etc
    Deficiency: Anemia
  • Molybdenum: Cofactor for nitrogenase enzyme
    Source: Cereals, pods, some vegetables
    Deficiency: Whiptail disease
  • Fluorine: Maintains enamel and prevents dental caries.
    Source: Water, sea fish, cheese
    Deficiency: Dental caries.
  • Sulphur: Component of many proteins, enzymes and coenzymes
  • Cobalt: Component of vit.B12
    Source: Milk, cheese, meat
    Deficiency: Pernicious anemia
  • Cromium: Catabolic metabolism
    Source: Yeast, sea food, meat, some vegetables
    Deficiency: Irregularities of catabolism and ATP product
  • Selenium: Cofactor of many enzymes; assists vitamin E.
    Source: Meat, cereals, sea food.
    Deficiency: Muscular pain, weakness of cardiac muscles.

In addition to these, fibre also plays valuable role in prevention of diseases. And Water is called life. Human body is made 70% of water. Dehydration is a deficiency of water in the body.

  • Vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, and use of diuretics may cause dehydration.
  • People feel thirsty, and as dehydration worsens, they may sweat less and excrete less urine.
  • If dehydration is severe, people may be confused or feel light-headed.
  • Treatment is restoring lost water and mineral salts (such as sodium and potassium) that are dissolved in the blood (electrolytes), usually by drinking but sometimes with intravenous fluids.
  • Dehydration occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in. Vomiting, diarrhea, the use of drugs that increase urine excretion (diuretics), profuse sweating (for example, during heat waves, particularly with prolonged exertion), and decreased water intake can lead to dehydration.

Though this looks fairly long chart to follow in day to day life but in fact it is possible to follow with little awareness. The easiest way is to take half a minute to choose the good food over just feeling stomach and keep an eye on 1.5 to 2 liters of water. The small decisions will help you to control and track nutritional deficiency disorders.

Daily Protein Requirement

Access to sufficient food of adequate quality to maintain normal body composition and function throughout the life-cycle is fundamental to maintaining health. Protein is the most abundant nutrient available in body. A source of protein is an essential element of a healthy diet, allowing both growth and maintenance of the 25000 proteins encoded within the human genome, as well as other nitrogenous compounds, which together form the body’s dynamic system of structural and functional elements that exchange nitrogen with the environment. Protein is the special nutrient that our body needs for growth & maintenance and also to function properly. It is present almost in every part of our body. Skin, hair, blood, muscles, body organs even fingernails. Proteins account for 20% of our total body weight.

Protein is nothing but a chain of linked units called amino acids. The protein you eat is split apart into these amino acids, absorbed in the small intestines, then rearranged and put back in the blood stream. These new arranged proteins carry out specific functions to maintain life. All living tissues are made up of twenty-two essential and nonessential amino acids.

22 in all, amino acids are divided into 2 groups: essential & non essential proteins. Essential amino acids are not made by the body and must be supplied through diet. There are 9 essential amino acids: Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, and Valine. The remaining 13 are nonessential amino acids produced in the body and not essential to consume through the diet. There are various formats of proteins, few as below.

  • Contractile Proteins are responsible for the movement of muscles in the body. They are involved in the transport of nutrients in cells, the genetic makeup, cell division, as well as muscular coordination. For example - proteins myosin and actin, together produce muscle contractions and relaxations.
  • Defensive Proteins are the antibodies produced by the body to fight diseases or prevent injury are called defensive proteins. Fibrinogen and thrombin are antibodies that facilitate blood clotting, and prevent the loss of blood following an injury. They also aid in the healing process, so that an individual recovers faster.
  • Enzymatic Proteins are the catalysts of biochemical reactions that occur in the body. They accelerate and alleviate these reactions, which otherwise may take years to complete. For example - the enzymes amylase and pepsin aid digestion by breaking down complex molecules like starch and proteins respectively, into simpler ones, so they can be absorbed by the small intestine.
  • Hormonal Proteins are secretions that act as messengers to initiate or influence a function and coordinate certain metabolic processes in the body. These hormonal proteins help in regulating these actions. For Example - in females, oxytocin is the hormone that stimulates contractions during childbirth. Insulin regulates glucose in the blood.
  • Storage Proteins store amino acids and metal ions needed in the body. They also act as food reserves that provide energy as and when required by the body. For example - the protein ferritin stores iron and controls the amount of iron present in the human body. Casein, found in milk is another type of storage protein that provides certain amino acids, carbohydrates, calcium, and phosphorous.
  • Structural Proteins help maintain structure and provide support to the human body. They give strength and protection to the human anatomy. For example - the protein collagen is the major component of tendons, cartilages, and bones. Hair and fingernails consist an insoluble protein called keratin.
  • Transport Proteins help transport various molecules which include nutrients, gases, and all the essential chemicals that help maintain balance in the human body. For example - hemoglobin that carries oxygen to the lungs and various cells in the human body and lipoproteins which help transport lipids or fats are examples of transport proteins.

Protein is called magic nutrient that our body needs for proper functioning, growth & maintenance. Proteins are building blocks and are involved in all the metabolic activities that take place in the human body.

  • Proteins help regulate the fluid balance in the body, and control the movement of water and other fluids in the cells.
  • They also release hydrogen ions to maintain the acid-base level in the body.
  • Some proteins are receptor proteins, which act as binding sites for various enzymes, hormones, and nutrients. They regulate the flow of nutrients in the cells.
  • Proteins are needed for growth, maintenance of the cells and also to repair any damaged cells in our body. Protein is vital component of muscles and tissues. Protein is required to build stamina and resistance to an individual as it generates antibodies which fight against illness and infection.
  • Protein plays a key role in making our bones strong and healthy, strong and healthy hair, fresh skin and healthy nails. Our body doesn't store protein for later use. Protein provides four calories per gram.
  • A protein deprived will simply cause your body to slowly start shutting down. Without the right amount of essential proteins, no matter how much you eat, your body will waste the protein and not run properly.

How much protein do you need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The RDA is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements. In a sense, it’s the minimum amount you need to keep from getting sick - not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day. Protein requirements vary with age, physiological status and stress. More proteins are required by growing infants and children, pregnant women and individuals during infections and illness or stress.

An average man needs around 60 grams of protein and woman needs 55 grams of protein per day. If you are a vegetarian then plant based diet can be very beneficial for you as they add productivity enhance your mood and helps lower down your cholesterol levels. According to the Institute of Medicine, you should get at least 10% of your daily calories from protein. The daily calorie consumption from protein should not exceed 35%.

Vitamins for Life

Vitamins are group of organic substances present minutely in natural foods. They are essential for body’s metabolism. Though vitamins are present in trace, play an essential role in sustainable functioning of the body. Deficiency of these vitamins turns to various deficiency disorders. Vitamins are classified as Water Soluble Vitamins and Fat Soluble Vitamins.

There are 13 recognized vitamins which include vitamin A, B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12), D, E , K. All the 8 members of B Vitamins fall under water soluble vitamins referred to as B complex together. Our daily supplementation of necessary energy for body function and repair is acquired by vitamins.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly. It helps the body fight off infection and support the immune system. It also supports growth and remodeling of bone.

Vitamin B

B vitamin family is made up of eight B vitamins. Although they are commonly recognized as a group and often work together in the body, each of the B vitamins performs unique and important functions.

  • Thiamin: Also known as vitamin B1 is needed to help produce cellular energy from the foods you eat, and also supports normal nervous system function. Some of the best sources coming from lentils, whole grains, red meats, yeast, nuts, sunflower seeds, peas, milk, cauliflower, spinach and legumes.
  • Riboflavin: Also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin supports cellular energy production.† Riboflavin is found in a variety of foods such as fortified cereals, milk, eggs, salmon, beef, spinach and broccoli.
  • Niacin: Also known as vitamin B3 it supports cellular energy production. Niacin, in the form of nicotinic acid, helps support cardiovascular health. Good sources of niacin include poultry and fish as well as whole wheat bread, peanuts and lentils.
  • Pantothenic Acid: Also known as vitamin B5, is widely available in plant and animal food sources and helps support cellular energy production in the body. Rich sources include organ meats (liver, kidney), egg yolk, whole grains, avocados, cashew nuts, peanuts, lentils, soybeans, brown rice, broccoli, and milk.
  • Vitamin B6: Involved in over 100 cellular reactions throughout the body, vitamin B6 is instrumental in keeping various bodily functions operating at their best. Also known as pyridoxine, is needed to metabolize amino acids and glycogen (the body’s storage form of glucose), and is also necessary for normal nervous system function and red blood cell formation.Vitamin B6 is fairly abundant in the diet and can be found in foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, bananas, fish, fortified cereal grains and cooked spinach.
  • Biotin: Biotin, or vitamin B7, is commonly found in foods such as brewer’s yeast, strawberries, organ meat, cheese and soybeans.
  • Folic Acid: Also known as vitamin B9, folic acid is most commonly known for its role in fetal health and development as it plays a critical role in the proper development of the baby’s nervous system. Adequate folic acid intake is especially important for all women of child-bearing age. Other than breads and cereals - good sources are dark green leafy vegetables such as asparagus and spinach as well as brewer’s yeast, liver, fortified orange juice, beets, dates etc.
  • Vitamin B12: Also known as cobalamin, plays a critical role in the pathways of the body that produce cellular energy. It is needed for DNA synthesis, proper red blood cell formation and for normal nervous system function. B12 is predominantly found in foods of animal origin such as chicken, beef, fish, milk and eggs.

Vitamin D

The best known vitamin for over all healthy skin and bone strength is vitamin D. Vitamin D refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, and multiple other biological effects. Supplementation of calcium along with Vitamin D acts as best combination to impart strength to the bones. it also promotes healthier skin. Vitamin D is also known to aid smooth functioning of muscles and strengthens immune system. Vitamin D is created by the action of sunlight on skin. Animal foods like eggs, butter, fish lever oil are also source of Vitamin D.

Vitamin C

Body is under continuous stress due to metabolic activities which cause oxidative stress in cells. Vitamin C helps in recovering from this stress and promotes smooth functioning of body.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is good for your skin, eyes, heart, and overall immunity. Being an antioxidant, vitamin E can fight free radicals and protect the body from diseases. Adults require 15 mg every day and much lesser for children. Natural sources like almonds, sunflower oil, broccoli, avocado, etc in the diet can meet your body's needs.

Children & Vitamin deficit:

Like adults children too get bone pain or tenderness, dental deformities, impaired growth, increased bone fractures, muscle cramps, short stature, and skeletal deformities such as rickets etc due to vitamin deficiencies. Children are not getting enough sunshine, proper vegetables and food in right proportions.

Vitamins for teenagers:

Vitamin E and selenium assist in preventing acne inflammation in adolescents. Vitamin B6 helps in breaking down the liver hormones, preventing acne, mood swings and sugar cravings in teenagers. Vitamin B12 or Riboflavin supports the production of red blood cells in the body. In addition to that, it enables proper nerve cell functioning. Vitamin C and D are among the most important vitamins for teenagers which provide bone health. Vitamin C helps in cartilage development and D in attaining maximum bone growth.

Stressed life & vitamin deficit:

Few vitamins help convert food into fuel and they also play a major role in proper cell division and energy production. The B vitamins are known as the anti-stress nutrients because they are often the first micronutrient deficiencies to develop during times of stress. Deficiencies of vitamin B12 are common and related to low energy and fatigue. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant and is involved in making collagen - an important protein for skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is also plays a major role in immune response and fighting off infection. Stress produces high levels of the stress hormone cortisol which depletes vitamin C and causes an increase in appetite and fat storage in the body.

Vitamins for pregnant women:

Pregnant & breast feeding mothers need more vitamin B6 and B12, as well as folic acid supplements to prevent vitamin deficiencies that can harm a developing fetus. Folic Acid is known to help reduce the risk of a number of birth defects and can also prevent problems like low birth weight.

Old Age & Vitamin Deficit:

Seniors are at risk of being malnourished for reasons like poor appetite due to medications, reduced food intake that often causes intestinal disorders, diabetes or at times restrictive diets. A majority of the elderly people are suffering due to under nourishment. Poverty is one thing but being unaware about nutritious foods and consuming healthy organic vegetables or supplements is other.

Understanding Fats

Fat is a nutrient that is needed in small quantities in the body. It plays a role in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K), the manufacturing of hormones, helps keep the body warm, and adds cushioning to protect the body from being damaged from a simple fall. Fat is also needed for stored energy. It provides 9 calories per gram, and therefore has more calories than carbohydrates and protein. All fats are high in calories, so it’s important to bear this in mind if you are watching your weight. In terms of your heart, it’s important to think about the type of fat you are eating.

Good Fat & Bad Fat:

All fats have a similar chemical structure - a chain of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms. What makes one fat different from another is the length and shape of the carbon chain and the number of hydrogen atoms connected to the carbon atoms. Seemingly slight differences in structure translate into crucial differences in form and function.

Good fat:

Good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. They differ from saturated fats by having fewer hydrogen atoms bonded to their carbon chains. Healthy fats are liquid at room temperature, not solid. There are two broad categories of beneficial fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Bad fat:

The worst type of dietary fat is the kind known as trans fat. It is a byproduct of a process called hydrogenation that is used to turn healthy oils into solids and to prevent them from becoming rancid. When vegetable oil is heated in the presence of hydrogen and a heavy-metal catalyst such as palladium, hydrogen atoms are added to the carbon chain. This turns oils into solids.

There are different types of fats, which include: saturated fats, trans‐fatty acids, cholesterol, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega 3 fatty acids.

Trans Fatty Acids

Trans fatty acids are a byproduct of the “hydrogenation” of oils. This process makes the fat more solid, saturated, and more resistant to rancidity. Trans‐fatty acids raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL. Avoiding foods with trans‐fatty acids is ideal. Foods high in trans‐fatty acids include baked goods and processed snacks (muffins, pastries, cookies, chips, cakes), stick margarines, and shortening.

Eating foods rich in trans fats increases the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduces the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol. Trans fats create inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. They contribute to insulin resistance, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Even small amounts of trans fats can harm health: for every 2% of calories from trans fat consumed daily, the risk of heart disease rises by 23%.

Trans fats have no known health benefits and that there is no safe level of consumption. Today, these mainly man-made fats are rapidly fading from the food supply.

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats are “good” fats as they help lower total cholesterol. Food sources include olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, almonds, pecans, peanut butter, avocado, and green and black olives.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats (omega 6 fatty acids) may also help lower cholesterol levels. Sources include margarine, mayonnaise, walnuts, oils (corn, safflower, and soybean), salad dressing, and pumpkin seeds.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats may increase cholesterol levels. Foods that contain saturated fat include animal proteins (beef, hotdogs, sausage, bacon, and poultry with skin), high‐fat dairy products (whole milk, cheese, butter), lard, cream sauces, palm oil, coconut and coconut oil.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is made in the body and also obtained from the foods you eat. Dietary cholesterol may raise blood cholesterol levels, so your intake should be less than 200 mg per day. Sources of cholesterol include high‐fat animal proteins, high‐fat dairy products, egg yolk, liver and other organ meats, and shellfish.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids have shown to help lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for heart disease. Fish and fish oils such as wild salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines are the best sources of these fats, as well as flaxseeds, walnuts, and canola oil. The recommended intake is 1‐2 grams per day. A 4 oz portion of salmon contains approx 3 g of omega 3 fatty acids.

Eating low-fat food doesn’t mean we should give up fat entirely, but we do need to be aware about which fats should ideally be avoided and which ones are more heart-healthy. We surely need fat in our diet. As the most concentrated source of calories (nine calories per gram of fat compared with four calories per gram for protein and carbohydrates), it helps supply energy. Fat provides linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid for growth, healthy skin and metabolism. It also helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins ( A,D, E and K). Fat adds flavor and is satisfying, making us feel fuller, keeping hunger at bay.