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Health Corner


Nutrition Info

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health. A balanced diet is a diet that consists of the right nutrients in the right quantities.

What does it really mean to eat 'healthily'? To begin with, it's important to know that healthy eating is completely different from dieting. Healthy eating is not simply about losing weight, or reaching a certain 'ideal' body shape. It does not involve totally avoiding certain nutrients, or surviving on the latest celebrity fad diet. Healthy eating is, fundamentally, about balance. Balance means reaching a comfortable equilibrium between eating the food you enjoy, and not eating too much of it. 'Dieting' is short-term and unsustainable, whereas healthy eating is something that can be continued throughout the whole of your life.

 The key to a healthy diet is to do the following:

1. Eat the right number of calories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink too much, you’ll put on weight.

2. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight. The average man needs around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). The average woman needs 2,000 calories (8,400 kilojoules). Most adults are eating more calories than they need, and should eat fewer calories.

3. Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.



Balanced Diet :


A balanced diet is a diet that consists of the right nutrients in the right quantities. Most people in the India eat and drink too many calories, and too much fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruits, vegetables and fibre. It's important to have some fat in the diet, but you don't need to eat any foods from the 'Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar' group as part of a healthy diet.

All the food we eat can be divided into five groups. Try to choose a variety of different foods from the first four groups.
They are:

 Fruits & Vegetables

 Starchy foods, such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta. (Choose wholegrain varieties whenever you can, or eat potatoes with their skin on for more fibre.)

 Meat, fish, eggs and beans.

 Milk and dairy foods.

 Foods containing fat and sugar.



Fruits & Vegetables :

Most nutritionists will agree that fruit and vegetables are the most important parts of your diet and should form about a third of what you consume. You are recommended to eat what has, in recent years, been coined your '5 a day', which means eating 5 portions of fruit or vegetables every day.

Only 15% of adults meet the '5 a day' criteria, but really it is easy to incorporate fruit and vegetables into every meal and snack. Doing this will help you to boost energy and make you feel fuller so that you are less likely to snack on high-calorie foods that could make you put on weight.

There's evidence that people who eat at least five portions a day are at lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. What's more, eating five portions is not as hard as it might sound.

Ways to get your 5 a day:

How do you know if you're getting your 5 a day? What counts as one portion? You'll find that it's actually very easy to slip in 5 portions of fruit and vegetables if you distribute them across the day. Here is a simple example of how it can be done:

Breakfast : have a medium glass of orange juice with your breakfast choice (1 portion).

Mid Morning Snack : eat one medium-sized banana, or 3 whole dried apricots (1 portion).

Lunch : toss a handful or two of fresh lettuce into you sandwich or on the side of your plate (1 portion).

Dinner : serve your dinner with 2 broccoli florets (the fluffy green heads) and 1 and 1/2 heaped tablespoons of peas (1 and 1/2 portions).

Pudding or after dinner snack : 3 strawberries (1/2 portion).

Going over the 5 a day is absolutely fine - the more the better! The only thing to be careful about is fruit, which can contain a lot of sugar. Although natural sugar is good for us in moderation, it can be bad for our teeth and fattening if eaten in large quantities.

Benefits of Fruits & Vegetables :

• Thought to reduces the risk of developing certain forms of cancer, such as bowel and lung cancer.

• Fruit provides slow releasing energy.

• Fruit and vegetables are filling and relatively low in calories (some fruits are higher in calories e.g. mangoes and bananas).

• Fruit and vegetable are chockablock with vitamins and minerals essential for the processes in our bodies.


Nutrients found in Fruits & Vegetables :

There are a huge variety of fruit and vegetables available, all ranging in colour, size, shape and nutritional value. Below are a few examples of the nutrients found in certain fruits and vegetables, and how they can affect our bodies:

Minerals are essential for life. The processes in our bodies, such as the digestive system, the circulatory system and the immune system, all require certain minerals to function. Essential minerals include:




Copper plays a hand in the body's absorption and storage of iron. It is also thought to help with the formation of red blood cells and the supplying of oxygen to the body. Fruits and vegetables that contain copper include:

Kiwi, Guava, Mango, Ppassion-fruit, Pumpkin, Squash, Sweet potato.



Iron helps to transport oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Iron deficiency is thought to, in some cases, lead to anaemia. Fruits and vegetables containing iron include:

Blackcurrants, Cherries, Dates, Figs, Sprouts, Peas



Potassium is thought to help keep the level of water in cells and body fluids balanced safely, and also plays a role in heart function. Potassium deficiency is thought to cause cramps, irregular heartbeat, and lung and kidney failure. Fruits and vegetables containing potassium include:

Avocado, Bananas, Watermelon, Potatoes, French beans



Zinc is thought to aide a number of important activities, such as growth, wound healing and vision. Zinc deficiency is thought to contribute to stunted growth and can sometimes cause white spots on the fingernails. Fruit and vegetables containing zinc include:

Raspberries, Pomegranate, Black Berries, Sweet Corn, Potatoes

Vitamins are found only in living things and are essential for growth and energy. The body cannot actually generate most vitamins, which is why we need to get them from other sources - mainly by eating vitamin-rich food. Important vitamins include :



Vitamin A is thought to aide cell production, stimulate immunity and help form hormones. Vitamin A deficiency can cause dry skin, weak tooth enamel, blindness and poor bone growth. Fruits and vegetables containing vitamin A include:

Mango, Guava, Watermelon, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Carrots.



Vitamin B6 is thought to help with the production of antibodies in the immune system, help form red blood cells and help maintain a normal nerve function. Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause confusion, dizziness, irritability and convulsions. Fruits and vegetables containing Vitamin B6 include:

Dates, Gooseberries, Pineapple, Lychee, Sweet corn, Green pepper, French beans



Considered to be one of the most important vitamins, Vitamin C protects the body tissue from oxidation damage. It is essentially an antioxidant and helps boost the body's metabolism. Fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C include:

Mulberries, Oranges, Papayas, Broccoli, Green pepper, Squash


Starchy Foods :

Many people trying to lose weight quickly choose to cut out starchy food from their diets completely. The truth is, starchy foods are a vital part of a healthy eating regime, and actually contain less than half the amount of calories found in fat. One tip for healthy eating is to cut down the size of your meat portion and add extra wholegrain foods, such as brown rice or wholegrain spaghetti. This way you consume less fat and more fibre, without compromising your overall portion size. As well as providing the necessary energy to feel alert and active, starchy food also contains other important nutrients such as:

Fibre, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin-B

Starchy food examples include: Potatoes (although they are vegetables, potatoes do not count towards the 5 a day), Rice and Grains, Pasta, Cereals, Bread.

Try to eat the wholegrain version of your favourite starchy food as this will contain more fibre. Fibre keeps the bowels healthy and also helps you to feel fuller for longer, making you less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Eating wholegrain means you may be able to eat smaller portions and feel just as full. There are two different types of fibre :

Insoluble fibre - The body cannot digest this form of fibre, so it simply passes through the gut, which provides a smoother passage for other digesting foods (this is why fibre is recommended for constipation). Insoluble fibre is found in wholegrain foods.

Soluble fibre - This type can be partly digested by the body. It is still 'good' fibre because it can help lower cholesterol levels. Soluble fibre is found in things like pulses and oats. Starchy foods should make up about 1/3 of your daily diet.



Our salt intake usually extends much further than the salt pot at table. Salt is in pretty much everything we eat, including bread, cheese and cereal. Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, making you more likely to develop heart disease. Foods that contain a particularly high amount of salt include:

Bacon, Anchovies, Prawns, Salami, Cheese gravy, Salted and dry roasted nuts, Smoked meat and fish, Soy sauce, Stock cubes, Olives pickles.

Ready meals and take-away meals also tend to contain a notoriously high amount of salt, as it is used as a way to add flavour. Watch out for:

Pizza, Crisps, Soup, Sandwiches, Bottled Condiments such as Tomato Ketchup and Mayonnaise, Breakfast Cereals, Pasta sauces.

Many of these foods are tasty and addictive, making it difficult to cut back. The trick is to consider them as 'treats'. This way you don't have to completely deprive yourself of the foods you love. Eating a pizza everyday isn't going to do anyone any good, but having one every few weeks shouldn't cause a great deal of harm. If you like high salt-content foods so much that you want to eat them everyday, then why not try making your own version? This way you can control how much salt you use.

Daily recommended salt intake :

Adults are advised to eat no more than 6g of salt a day (one full teaspoon). A good way of monitoring your daily salt intake is to check the labels on packaging. But how do you know what's high and what's low?

• High: More than 1.5g of salt per 100g

• Low: Less than 0.3g of salt per 100g.



Meat, Fish, Eggs & Beans

These foods are all good sources of protein, which is essential for growth and repair of the body. They are also good sources of a range of vitamins and minerals. Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and B vitamins. It is also one of the main sources of vitamin B12. Try to eat lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry whenever possible to cut down on fat. Always cook meat thoroughly. Fish is another important source of protein, and contains many vitamins and minerals. Oily fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Aim for at least two portions of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish. You can choose from fresh, frozen or canned, but canned and smoked fish can be high in salt. Eggs and pulses (including beans, nuts and seeds) are also great sources of protein. Nuts are high in fibre and a good alternative to snacks high in saturated fat, but they do still contain high levels of fat, so eat them in moderation.

Proteins are large, complex molecules made up of amino acid chains.Proteins are considered to be one of the most complex of all organic compounds. They form the major building blocks from which all living things are constructed.

The role of proteins in the body

1. Enzymes: One fundamental role proteins play in the functioning of the body is the production of enzymes. Enzymes increase the rate of all of the chemical reactions that take place inside the cells. In the absence of enzymes, these millisecond-long reactions would take 2.3 billion years to complete. Enzymes also assist with the production of new molecules.

2. Messengers: Hormones are an example of a kind of messenger protein. They work to transport signals that manage biological processes between organs, tissues and cells.

3. Structural components: These proteins offer support and structure for cells and, on a larger scale, allow body movement.

4. Storage and transportation: These proteins connect and carry atoms and small molecules inside cells throughout the body.

5. Antibody: Antibodies destroy foreign particles in order to protect the body from viruses and bacteria. Some of the amino acids needed to construct protein molecules are not produced inside the body and must therefore be taken from the food we eat. Protein is in all living things, including fruits and vegetables. However, the amount and quality of this protein can vary hugely.

Good sources of protein

The best sources of protein are those that are low in fat. Good sources of protein include:

• Goat - 20g of protein for every 100g. It's also thought to be a good source of zinc, selenium and the vitamins niacin and B12.

• Chicken breast - 25g of protein for every 100g. It is also low in saturated fat and high in omega-3. Organic chicken contains 38% more omega-3 than factory farmed chicken.

• Macroprotein - A main ingredient of vegetation Quorn products, macroprotein contains a high amount of essential amino acids in comparison to other foods such as milk, egg, beef and wheat.

• Oily fish - Such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Studies have shown that oily fish has many benefits, including reducing the risk of blood clots, high cholesterol, stroke and heart disease. You are generally advised to eat oily fish at least once a week.

• Pulses, nuts and seeds - These are all high in protein and can be easily squeezed into your daily diet in the form of snacks or additions to things like porridge.

Daily protein recommendations :

Men: 55.5g

Women: 45g



Milk & Dairy Foods :

Milk and dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt are good sources of protein. They also contain calcium, which helps to keep your bones healthy. To enjoy the health benefits of dairy without eating too much fat, use semi-skimmed milk, skimmed milk or 1% fat milks, lower-fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese, and lower-fat yoghurt.

The benefits of calcium include:

• Helps build strong bones and teeth

• Regulates muscle contraction - including heart beat

• Eensures blood clots normally.

Good sources of calcium include:

• Milk • Yogurt • Cheese • Cream.

There are thought to be some specific foods that have higher amounts of calcium than others. These include:

• Calcium-enriched soya milks, cheese and yoghurt

• Sesame seeds or almonds (possibly to be incorporated into daily diet as toppings on cereal or pudding)

• Bony fish - like anchovies and sardines

• Dark green leafy vegetables - like broccoli, watercress and spinach.


Recommended daily dairy consumption :


The general recommended allowance for dairy per day is around three portions. For example:

• 200ml of milk - regardless of full-fat, semi-skimmed or skimmed.

• 30g hard cheese (a chunk the size of a small matchbox), including cheddar, brie, feta or stilton.

• 150g of low-fat plain or fruit yoghurt.

The daily recommended calcium intake for children is:

Girls: ages 11-18 should have around 800mg of calcium per day.

Boys: ages 11-18 should have around 10000mg of calcium per day.



Foods Containing Fat & Sugar

Fats and sugar are both sources of energy for the body, but when we eat too much of them we consume more energy than we burn, and this can mean that we put on weight. This can lead to obesity, which increases our risk of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. But did you know that there are different types of fat?

There are two types of fat: Saturated and Unsaturated. Saturated fat is thought to be 'bad fat'. Eating large quantities of saturated fat can cause high cholesterol and heart disease. Unsaturated fat is thought to be 'good fat', which can help lower cholesterol. Both types of fat contain the same number of calories.

Saturated fat can be found in: • butter • pastries, biscuits and cakes • savoury nibbles like cheese twists and crisps • cream, sour cream, ice cream • fatty meat • hard cheese • meat pasties, pies and sausages.

Unsaturated fat can be found in: • oily fish such as mackerel, fresh tuna and salmon • seeds and nuts • avocados • olive oil and sunflower seed oil.

Experts generally recommend that unsaturated fats make up a maximum of 35% of your daily energy intake, and saturated fats take up no more than 11%.

Daily fat allowance for men: The daily fat allowance for men is no more than a total of 95g.

Daily fat allowance for women: The daily fat allowance for women is no more than a total of 70g.

Benefits of eating fat:

• improve the taste of certain food

• transports vitamins around the body

• helps build cell membrane

• cushions and protects our vital organs

• stores long-term energy.

Disadvantages of eating fat:

• raises cholesterol levels

• increases risk of heart attack

• fat can put pressure on our internal organs

• carrying too much weight makes it harder to exercise

• Being overweight or obese can have an emotional impact and cause depression, low self-esteems and stress.


Like fat, there are two different kinds of sugar: one is thought to be good and one is thought to be bad. Good sugars are found naturally in things like fruit and honey, whereas bad sugars are added unnaturally to products like confectionary, soft drinks and desserts.

Benefits of eating sugar:

• makes food taste sweet and appealing

• it provides a quick burst of energy.

Disadvantages of eating sugar:

• It contains 4 calories per gram, meaning that if you do not exercise to burn the excess energy, your body is likely to convert it into fat.

• Consuming sugar can cause insulin levels to rise suddenly and then drop, which induces hunger and cravings.

• Can cause tooth decay.

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