The dual role of Food.
We know for the development of body food is necessary. But the fact food can be used as a medicine to make us free from ailments is a lesser known fact many. It is said that it is possible to predict seeing the food one consumes. So there is inter connectivity between the food that helps develop the body and the food acts as medicine.
You cannot get spare parts for your body.
Fuel is needed to run a vehicle. If the fuel you feed your vehicle is adulterated, your vehicle gets damaged and it refuses to function. We take all precautions to keep the vehicle we bought expending money. A vehicle is made by humans. If it gets damaged, we try to restore its functionality by adding necessary spare parts. If it is beyond repairs, we discard the vehicle or buy a new one.
But the human body unlike your vehicle is not made by humans. This is a God’s creation. If something goes wrong, its spare parts will not available in the market.Unfortunately, humans are not paying as much interest as they are showing their interest to their vehicle.
Nature has a Dharma.
Every living organism has its own Dharma within the frame work of Nature's Dharma. We are aware that nature is made of five elements namely Earth, water, fire , air and Ether. As long as the balance between the 5 elements of the nature and the 5 elements of the body are in balance, Humans enjoy a healthy and hassle free life.Humans are the only living organisms in the nature who violate Nature and become the victims of a plethora of ailments.
Just see, if a dog is wounded, it gets cured without any medical assistance. Because a dog or any other living organism lives in tune with the nature’s dharma. They eat food whatever is available from the nature. They will not eat junk foods. All the living organisms in the creation are made of the five elements. This makes clear why any living organism that stays in tune with the Nature's Dharma lead an ailment free life. And humans are not an exception.
But humans though the most intelligent of all the living organisms are a great violator of nature's Dharma. By this,he is being subjected to all kinds of ailments.
As said at the very outset, food takes an important role in the process of human development in both physically and mentally.Therefore it is essential to pay utmost attention when it comes to food.
What is good food.
The food that enables human body for a long time and helps in keeping the body free from ailments is known as good food.
Constitution of good food.
A good food essentially should have seven elements. They are water, proteins, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Let's see the nature and qualities of each constituent.
Water is the most important food for every human being. One can live without food for some time but not without water.
The water we take everyday does three important functions.
It acts as a carrier of food needed for the cells.
Water purges out the waste material from the cells.
Carries out several chemical activities needed for digestion of the food.
From every liter of water we drink, 3/4 will go out in the form of sweat and urine along with the waste. Thus creating a void between the need of water to the body and the supply to the body. It goes without saying the loss of water necessary for the functioning of the body to be replenished with water from time to time.
Every day many body cells in our body will die. Many are damaged. In this condition the body needs Proteins which create new body cells and repair the damaged body cells. Proteins should be supplied to the body through our food. For every kilo of the body weight 0.9 grams of proteins are necessary. It means if your body weight is 60 kgs, your body needs 54 gms of proteins every day.
Proteins help in strengthening the bones. Help in generating hormones to build muscles, enzymes and red blood cells.
Proteins are of two kinds.
Proteins made by the body through the food we take.
Proteins that are fed in to the body from external sources.are known as Amino acids. In the absence of these Amino acids, the required chemical reactions necessary for the body will not take place. This leads to degradation of the body’s proteins and other complications. That’s why the presence of Amino acids in the food in our daily intake is very important. Foods rich in Amino acids are meat, fish, eggs, leafy vegetables and sprouts to name a few.
Though Meat is a rich source of proteins, excessive use of it leads to heart related and kidney related ailments. A moderation is necessary in the use of meat.
But the way to achieve the fruits of proteins is to stick to vegetarian related proteins. Proteins that are available in milk, pulses, leafy vegetables etc will be more beneficial. In addition to this, proteins from milk, pulses, leafy vegetables etc will create less wastage in the body than the proteins available from meat.
Fats are essential nutrients needed for the normal function of the body. Fats supply us energy. They make the other nutrients to do their job. The cholesterol needed for the body is being kept in balance by the fats. Fats act as the carriers of vitamins to the cells.
They grab vitamin D from the sunlight and pass on to bones and teeth. Fats keep the body warm and protect heart and liver from cold.
Like any other nutrients, if fats are used excessively, they cause heart related ailments and a plethora of hazardous diseases. Its wise to take proteins, vitamins and starchy foods in such a quantity that they are just enough for the healthy body functioning.
Fats take a long time for digestion. This means they remain in the intestines for a long time. This in turn exerts more pressure on the digestive system. If fats are accumulated in the coronary arteries, they will be partially blocked. This blockage restricts the supply of blood to the heart.
Prevention of usage of oils and ghee will stop the damage and saves you from the heart related ailments. Milk, raw coconut, pulses, fruits and vegetables will enhance the health.
Starchy food is next in the list to help in boosting the energy. Starchy foods provide energy and make us feel full. The ideal diet should contain whole grains. They digest easily. Fruits, vegetables, leafy vegetables and whole grains constitute starchy foods.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and Minerals contribute to the growth and development of cells. Vitamins enhance the energy levels and body immunity. Minerals help in maintaining a balance between acid and alkali ratio in the water we take. Minerals also help in generation of hormones. Our body makes its required amount of minerals. We are losing valuable vitamins and minerals by cooking the food in a wrong way. In this respect raw and uncooked foods will add more minerals to the body for its healthy functioning.
Fibre is the most neglected food by all of us. It is one of the most essential foods needed for the body. Fibre is needed to maintain the digestive system and the intestines healthy.
Fibre is of two kinds. Soluble and insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre helps in keeping the bowels in healthy condition and thus preventing constipation. Foods containing high fibre content makes us feel full. This means it stops us in overeating. Soluble fibre helps in reducing the cholesterol content in the blood. Fruits, vegetables including leafy vegetables are some of the rich sources of fibre.
The fibre content is much more in the coconut. There is no fibre at all in non vegetarian foods.
There are several myths around coconut. Many are of the opinion that coconut causes indigestion as it is hard to assimilate. All these beliefs about usage of coconut are baseless. The truth is raw coconut contains milk. Hence it contains less percentage of oil and more useful proteins.
It’s different in the case of dried coconut. As the coconut dries up in due course, the proteins in it are converted in to fats. Hence it is to be noted that dry coconut causes more harm than the raw coconut. Owing to the immense uses of coconut many religions including Hindu religion included coconut in religious rituals. Usage of coconut in our daily life will greatly help in reducing constipation. In fact every family by using a coconut every day can keep many diseases at bay especially constipation.
Any fat if consumed with fibre, it prevents the fats from entering the blood stream and makes the fats expelled in the form of motion.
Owing to the advantages of fibre, its treated as an essential food in preventing the heart diseases.
Other than the sources mentioned above for rich fibre content, there are a plethora of sources which can be included in our diet.
Other varieties of rice like Basmati, long grain and brown are a few sources.
Now time for Food for thought.
In conclusion, all the above mentioned foods are to be fed to the body in correct amount and proportion to lead a healthy life. It is of utmost importance to ensure the right quantity and proportion of the above said foods present in our daily food. The food we take to develop and build our body should act as a medicine also for curing the diseases.
The influence of Modernity and fast paced life made us to form wrong beliefs and ultimately to wrong and unhealthy food habits.
We have forgotten long ago that what we take should be as natural as possible.
Some of the mistakes we commit that lead to reduction in quality of the food are,
We remove the husky and the most useful part of rice to make it look good. It looks good for sure but without any nutritional value. What we eat are just stomach fillers, not nutrient rich.
Pulses are polished to make them look glamorous. We are boiling the food heavily only to remove the food value on our gas stoves. We are stifling the food value of several food stuffs by preserving them in the refrigerators.
We are driven by the thought that deep frying of foods in loads of oil will add taste to the food. No doubt they add taste to the food but they add lot of hazardous diseases to the body.
In a bid to rush to match with the speed of the age we are killing the food value in our food. with these foolish undoings, we are piercing our eyes with our own fingers.
Crow’s feet and folds on the face, premature bald head, graying and falling of hair even in youngsters, reduction in eyesight, deafness are some of the byproducts of our foolish food habits. While all the living organisms other than humans are leading a healthy life by sticking to the diktats of nature, man who is supposed to be the intelligent among the entire creation is violating the order of the nature and becoming prey to the monster of ill health.
Balancing act, need of the hour.
Undoubtedly variety is the spice of life. Which is why we should consume as many types of food as possible. For the sake of convenience we can divide the food in to five groups. They are
Fruits and vegetables
Starchy foods like bread and rice etc
Dairy foods like milk and cheese etc
Meat. Fish, eggs and pulses
Foods and drinks rich in fat and sugar.
Try to include one or more kinds of foods from each group in your daily diet. According to the body condition on a particular day choose the right food in right quantity.
The thumb rule is to ensure that fruits and vegetables and starchy foods make somewhere around 2/3 of your daily intake. And the remaining 1/3 should make your meat or fish and dairy products.
And occasionally reserve a small portion for sugary foods and drinks.
One need not lead a mendicant’s life foregoing all the little joys of life. The key is to know the right ratios and proportions.
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