Basic Nutrition Fact Guide
The relationship between health and nutrition has been so exhaustively explored that it is hard to circumscribe the vitality of nutrition in a single clip. Presented here are some of the most basic nutrition facts about essential elements of our food.
Nutrition Facts: Vegetarianism or Meat?
Inhabitants of human cultures have traditionally valued meat as the desideratum of healthy nutrition. They have essentially remained meat eaters for centuries since they thought that absence of meat in meal could cause deficiency of nutrients. Now we know this view as wrong and unscientific. All the essential dietary elements are found in vegetarian foods. Nutrition facts reveal that vegetarian diet is much healthier than meat-centered food.
Types of Nutrients
Besides the five main types of nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals) we need fiber and water. Carbohydrates, proteins, fats are called macro- nutrients (they together meet the bulk of our body's nutritional needs) while vitamins and minerals are micronutrients (being required in less amount).
Most of the carbohydrates, the primary nutritional need, come from plant sources. There are three main types of carbohydrates: simple, complex, and dietary fiber. Simple carbohydrates (or simple sugars) are found in common table sugar, milk, and fruits. Refined sugars provide energy but are deficient in fiber. They also cause dental decay more than other carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates (or starches) are found in potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, oats, millet etc. Dietary fiber is provided by unrefined food sources like wholemeal bread and brown rice.
By standards of modern nutrition facts, women on average need 45 g of protein daily while men require 55 g for normal health. It should be remembered that excess intake of proteins can degenerate health. Plant sources of proteins include nuts, pulses, edible seeds, cereals, Soya products, eggs, and dairy products. One thing to bear in mind is maintaining variety in the sources of protein i.e. do not try to get all the protein required from a single source. This is because there are 20 different types of amino acids (constituents of protein), all of which need to be taken. So mixing food sources ensures adequate supply of all of them.
While fats (including edible oils) are a major energy source, nutrition facts reveal their excess intake as very harmful to health. Saturated fats (hydrogenated oil, ghee etc.) are more harmful as they raise the blood cholesterol level that can lead to heart disease. Unsaturated fats like olive oil or peanut oil etc. are more useful to cook food items.
The importance of vitamins has been dealt with in countless publications about nutrition facts. These are of several types and each type is needed in just a small quantity. Still they are of immense value for optimum health. Types of vitamins have been named after alphabets i.e. vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and K. Vitamins mostly come from green leafy vegetables and fruits.
Minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, and iodine are important by nutrition facts, as we know them, for normal functioning of different body parts as well as immunity against diseases. Minerals come from both animal and plant sources, dominantly from the latter.