National Nutrition Week 2021: The purpose behind celebrating is to spread awareness about good nutrition, and health. Initiatives have been taken up by the government focussing on nutrition, good food, healthy body, mind, and lifestyle.
2021 Theme of National Nutrition Week
The theme for National Nutrition Week 2021 is “Feeding smart right from start”.
A balanced diet nourishes the body from top to toe, and National Nutrition Week was first marked in 1975 by American Dietetic Association.
In India, the National Nutrition Week is celebrates every year from September 1 to September 7 to raise public awareness about nutrition and healthy eating habits. The week is observed to make people understand the importance of nutritional and adaptive eating habits so that they can maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Importance of Nutrition
For the last two years, we have come to understand that how important a good diet is for our health.Corona has taught all the people the importance of good food and only when we eat nutritious food, our body will have the ability to fight diseases.
Our food is made up of essential, natural substances called nutrients. Human body needs over 50 nutrients on a daily basis to stay healthy. Nutrients are categorized as macronutrients including carbohydrates, proteins, fat; and micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
Macronutrients are needed in large quantities and are referred to as the energy yielding components of diet, i.e they breakdown into simpler compounds to provide energy.
Micronutrients are needed in small quantities, but are very essential to keep us healthy. They do not yield energy but have a protective role and are needed to enhance immunity.
All nutrients work together to maintain overall health. Each of these nutrients is required in a specific amount by the body. The deficiency and excess of nutrients can be harmful, leading to a variety of complex diseases.
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats comprise macronutrients and contribute to energy intake by humans as Carbohydrates.
The main source of energy in the Indian diet. Carbohydrates contribute to taste, texture and bulk to the diet.
They are essential for digestion and assimilation of other foods. Lack of carbohydrates (less than 30%) in the diet may produce ketosis, loss of weight and breakdown of proteins.
Protein is the second most abundant substance in the body after water. They are required for the growth and synthesis of tissues in the body; formation of digestive juices, hormones, plasma proteins enzymes, vitamins, hemoglobin; as buffers to maintain acid-base equilibrium in the body; and as an alternate source of energy for the body. Proteins are made of amino acids. Amino acids that can be synthesized in the body are called non-essential amino acids, while essential amino acids require to be supplied in the diet.
Essential amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Histidine and arginine are essential during infancy because the rate of their synthesis is inadequate for sustaining growth.
Fats function as structural elements of the cell membranes, act as vehicle for absorption and transport of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and are precursors of prostaglandins and hormones. Fats are made of fatty acids and dietary fats are mixture of largely triglycerides, small proportion of phospholipids and cholesterol.
Requirements: Fats are major source of energy in diet, In normally growing children, about 25-30% of energy intake should be derived from fat which includes 10-15% invisible fat. However, in malnourished children, up to 45% of calories can be safely provided from fat.
Invisible fat: Fat present naturally in our food but cannot be seen and separated from food such as milk and milk products, egg and meat, nuts contain good amount, while cereals, pulses, vegetables and fruits contain negligible amount.
Visible fat: Fat which is used for cooking or added while cooking such as edible vegetable oils and ghee. To provide a healthy balance of visible fat, daily diet should provide <7% saturated fat, 10% polyunsaturated fat and rest 13% should be derived from monounsaturated fats. A minimum of 3% energy should be derived from linoleic acid and 0.3% from linolenic acid.
There is no single oil/fat with the ideal composition; it is recommended to use blend of two or more vegetable oils.
Energy needs of children are computed keeping in mind the increase in body size, high metabolic rate that regulates body temperature and maintains high level of activities, and marked developmental changes in organ function and composition.
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