Nutritionally adequate diet importance:
Nutrition is a basic prerequisite to sustain life. Variety in food is not only the spice of life but also the essence of nutrition and health. A diet consisting of foods from several food groups provides all the required nutrients in proper amounts. Cereals, millets and pulses are major sources of most nutrients.
a.Milk which provides good quality proteins and calcium must be an essential item of the diet, particularly for infants, children and women.
b.Oils and nuts are calorie-rich foods, and are useful for increasing the energy density and quality of food.
c.Inclusion of eggs, flesh foods and fish enhances the quality of diet. However, vegetarians can derive almost all the nutrients from diets consisting of cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits and milk-based diets.
d.Vegetables and fruits provide protective substances such as vitamins/minerals/ phytonutrients. Diversified diets with a judicious choice from a variety food groups provide the necessary nutrients. Nutrients that we obtain through food have vital effects on physical growth and development, maintenance of normal body function, physical activity and health.
Nutritious food is, thus needed to sustain life and activity.
Our diet must provide all essential nutrients in the required amounts. Requirements of essential nutrients vary with age, gender, physiological status and physical activity. Dietary intakes lower or higher than the body requirements can lead to under nutrition (deficiency diseases) or over nutrition (diseases of affluence) respectively.
Eating too little food during certain significant periods of life such as infancy, childhood, adolescence, pregnancy and lactation and eating too much at any age can lead to harmful consequences. An adequate diet, providing all nutrients, is needed throughout our lives.