up 60% of body. It is lost from the body daily as, sweat, saliva,
urine etc. and has to be replaced. If we do not replace this water
we will be like plants that are not watered, withering and wilting.
All our muscle movements from the blinking of the eyes to walking
and moving about will be slow and sluggish. We burn less calories
throughout the day and pave the way for obesity. The latest research
says we need 10 glasses or 2-2 and a half liters of water daily.
your are on a weight reduction diet then it is mandatory that you
drink more water, over and above 2 and a half liters as there will
be toxic waste products formed in the body from fat breakdown like
ketone bodies etc., which need to be flushed out. So those on weight
loss diets must consume 2 and a half to 3 liters daily.
Research also shows that a person’s
mental capacity to work with figures and numbers and make mental
calculations is much higher when the body is fully hydrated than
when water intake is inadequate. All of us, even children are making
calculations all the time, why should our brain function at a lesser
level. Fourthly when we don’t drink enough water our saliva
becomes very thick and concentrated and gives a very offensive odour.
Also your perspiration (sweat) is more concentrated and the body
odour becomes strong and offensive. As people, always interacting
with one another we want to be pleasant and pleasing not smelly
and offensive. So make sure you drink plenty of water daily.
Lastly water is protective against
cancer. Research shows that a lot of the cancer today is caused
by pollutants that are coming into our body through the air we breathe
and the food we eat. These pollutants can attack weak organs or
tissues and cause cancer cell formation. We cannot stop breathing
or stop eating but all of us can drink more water, which can flush
out these toxic pollutants from our bodies. Water is almost medicinal
for our bodies and I would say one of the greatest and simplest
tonics for good health.
Mineral and Vitamins
Minerals and Vitamins do not
supply energy or calories but they play an important role in the
regulation of several essential processes of the body.
E.g. The mineral calcium, is
important for proper muscle contractions so that our heart beats
properly and our limbs move easily. It also makes up our teeth and
bones and it is essential that it is supplied through our daily
diet, from birth to death.
Iron is necessary for oxygen
to be properly carried from our lungs to all parts of the body.
Iron from the food goes into the blood to make up hemoglobin (Hb),
which is the oxygen lorry of the body. If your hemoglobin count
is 10 instead of 12 it is like saying you have only 10,000 lorries
instead of 12,000. Your oxygen supply to the whole body is less
and you will feel tired and weak. This is called Iron deficiency
Sodium and potassium are also
minerals essential for the water or fluid balance of the body.
Similarly we see that vitamins
also play important roles. If we have calcium in the diet but not
have enough Vit D the calcium will not be absorbed properly. If
we have enough iron coming from our food but not enough Vit B and
C then the iron cannot be absorbed fully.
Most of the minerals and vitamins
are required in small amounts but are required everyday. They can
be easily obtained from food if one condition and principal is strongly
followed. EAT A BALANCED DIET EVERYDAY AND NEVER MISS A
Foods can be broadly classified
into food groups such as FRUITS, VEGETABLES, CEREALS, DHALS
AND PULSES, MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS, EGG, FISH, POULTRY, MEAT, NUTS,
OILSEEDS AND FATS. Eating foods from all these groups is
the secret of getting a good supply of all mineral and vitamins.
Besides this one must consume at least 2-3 cups of milk/curd daily
as the quantity of calcium that the body requires can only be met
from this source. “But milk is fattening” is the common
belief – yes, it is fattening but we can remove the cream
thoroughly or even use commercially skimmed milk or curd made from
skimmed milk. It is a must, I believe, and I do not agree with the
present theories that it is useless after a few years of age and
not necessary for adults to consume milk.
Iron is another nutrient that
is required in significant amounts. Non-veg food, eggs, dhals, pulses
and greens are a rich source of iron but mainly it is also got by
eating properly balanced meals and never skipping meals. If you
eat only one or two meals/day then you will soon be anemic (i.e.
deficient in iron, looking pale and feeling weak and tried always).
Most vegetarians believe that palak and other greens is their main
source of iron. Latest research shows that though the greens contain
good amounts of iron they also contain a inhibitor which prevents
the iron from getting absorbed into the human body. Therefore the
better sources are whole wheat products like atta rotis and atta
bread to be eaten daily atleast in 1-2 meals and dhals or pulses
to be eaten both at lunch and dinner.
the energizers of our body and are the main energy supply for us
to work and play. Carbohydrates are any food containing starch or
sugar. There are 3 main food groups that give us these, namely,
fruits, vegetables and cereals. These 3 food groups are also good
sources of vitamins and minerals but they are poor in proteins.
are the building blocks of the body. We build our house with blocks
or bricks, we build our bodies with cells. Every
cell’s, cell wall is made up of protein so we cannot make
a single new cell in our body without supplying protein. Therefore
growing children must very consciously consume enough proteins and
adults though not growing still need sufficient protein for maintenance
of skin, hair, muscles etc. Everyday we need atleast 50-60gms protein
distributed in all the three meals. A meal ideally should consist
of cereal foods combined with protein foods namely dhal/pulses,
egg or non-veg.
is the reserve fuel of the body. A small amount, 2-4 teaspoons is
essential everyday for certain functions
like absorption of fat-soluble vitamins etc. Any excess consumed
above this amount is converted to reserve fuel and stored as fat
in fat cells. Most oils are unsaturated and ideal for consumption.
Vegetable fats that solidify at room temperature like coconut oil,
dalda etc and animal fats like butter, ghee and cream are saturated
and must be avoided as they are dangerous for the heart.