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5 Best Foods that Fuel Your Body

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Food is vital for our human body to stay healthy.  Our body requires good quality food with nutrients in them. It is important that you include the most important 5 nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.

A good balanced diet is needed to get the right amount of each nutrient in the body. Fueling our body with healthy food is essential because it energizes the body, supports health, prevents sickness and helps you think and feel better.

Essential Nutrients in Food: Vitamins & Minerals: It is important for everyday body functions and to make energy available from food. Proteins: Required for growth, development and repair of muscles. Fats: Provides energy, insulation and protection for organs such as lungs and kidneys. Water: Fluid is vital for all body functions as well as allowing you to sweat to keep cool. Carbohydrates: This provides energy for the working muscles.

Importance of 6 important nutrients that the body requires daily:

Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel that powers the body. Hence eating the right amount of carbohydrates could increase your energy and improve better performance. Your bones and muscles need carbohydrates to fuel and support your activity. Your body only stores a small amount of carbohydrate so you need to keep your stores topped up. The main sources of carbohydrates are found in cereal, rice, bread, and pasta group. You could also get carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and sweets.

Protein is another vital nutrient that is important in cell growth and repair. It also helps the body recover from injury or sport related stress. Protein helps maintain your muscle mass, build and repair tissues and provides some energy. Protein foods are found primarily in meat and dairy products. Protein rich food includes tofu, dried beans, peanut butter, eggs, fish, lean beef, nuts, chicken, turkey and pork

Fat is something that our body does not require in large amounts. Fats could be included in your food choices as part of a healthy diet. You should not be eating more than 25-30 gms of fat per day. When you think of fat it’s important to use the right type and the right amount of fat.Healthy fats are found in foods such as vegetable oils, oily fish (for example salmon, sardines, and mackerel), nuts (groundnuts, sesame seeds, almonds etc) or avocados. Use low-fat monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.

Vitamins are essential for normal metabolism, regulation of cell function and growth and development. Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Fat soluble vitamins can be stored in fatty tissues in the body when in excess and so are not excreted easily. The latter are excreted in urine when in excess and so need to be taken daily. Vitamins A, D, E and K are Fat soluble vitamins.

Milk and dairy products, green leafy vegetables and plant oils are the food sources that provide with these vitamins.  Water soluble vitamins include vitamin B and C. You could get good amount of vitamin B in green leafy vegetables while citrus fruits are rich sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron from foods.

Minerals are found in ionized form in the body. Some of the macro-minerals present in the body are calcium, potassium, iron, sodium and magnesium. Approx about 4% of the body’s mass consists of minerals. A varied and balanced diet, which includes at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, should provide more than enough vitamins and minerals.

Water is the major constituent in the human body. About 60% of the adult body weight is due to water. Water plays an important role in many of the body’s critical functions. Water, a vital nutrient to the life of every cell, acts first as a building material.

It also regulates our internal body temperature by sweating; helps make nutrients and other essential elements accessible by transporting them to our cells; assists in flushing waste mainly through urination; lubricates joints; forms saliva; and acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus. Without intake of water, we cannot live for more than three to five days.

What your body actually requires:

• Never skip meals – especially breakfast.

• Drink plenty of fluids.

• Eat good sources of protein every day.

• Eat lots of carbohydrate foods throughout the day.

• Don’t forget fats are important – choose healthier food sources.

• Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

• Include good sources of iron and calcium – teens need more of these nutrients than other ages.

• Make sure you enjoy your meals and snacks.

• Get enough rest and sleep – give your body time to grow and recover. Plan and eat well to fuel your body. Eating the right foods will help your body perform to the best of your ability. Apart from developing healthy eating habits, you should also understand that working on any type of physical activity or regular exercising will keep you fit and strong.

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VahChef Sanjay Thumma

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