The Importance of Good Nutritions
By Methmal Subasinghe
Exercise and nutrition play a vital role in maintaining health and this has been emphasised through expert advice often. When it comes to nutrition, it is not just the food we eat.
Nutrition has a broad meaning. A good diet consists of a wide range of nutrition. It is not sufficient to include only one food type and nutrition type in a diet. It is advised to include a range of food items that contain a range of nutrition. We have learnt from childhood that a balanced diet is essential to keep ourselves healthy and fit and it is an evergreen truth.
As we learnt in school, a diet rich in carbs, protein, vitamins, minerals and fats is the ideal diet. Yet, it should be kept in mind not to exceed the recommended intake of each nutrient. Although the said nutrients are highly essential for a rich and high-quality diet, taking less than the required amount can lead to a deficiency of that nutrient. Likewise, over intake of that nutrient can also be injurious to health.
One of the main essential nutrients that we should include in a diet in an appropriate amount is protein. Protein has many benefits to the body. Protein is the main ingredient that requires the body to repair tissues and also the collagen. Protein helps make hormones, enzymes and other vital chemicals in the body. Protein is also the building block of muscles, bones, blood, and cartilage.
Other benefits of protein are increased metabolism, delaying of skin ageing and muscle recovery and growth. Hence, we cannot omit protein from our diet. Vegetarians and vegans can run a risk of low protein in the body resulting in many diseases prematurely. In order to prevent protein deficiency in vegans and vegetarians, protein-enriched vegetarian sources should be included in the diet.
For non- vegetarians, it is not difficult to find diets rich in protein.
Lean chicken breast – It contains a high amount of protein and it is easily procurable from the market. Chicken is easily found anywhere in the country.
Egg whites- Egg is also another good source of protein. Yet, taking too much of egg yolk can be injurious to health and non- communicable diseases such as cholesterol can result. Egg whites can be a healthy and easy solution to complete the protein requirement.
Lean beef- Beef, although it is a palatable source of protein, some people due to various religious reasons omit beef. This also is a good source of vitamins and iron.
Tuna- In addition to high-quality protein, tuna also contain omega 3 fatty acid, minerals and vitamin.
Cottage cheese- This is low in fat and calories while providing a good amount of protein.
Greek yoghurt- Greek yoghurt, in comparison to any type of delicious yoghurt, contains less sugar level. Many tasty recipes can be prepared with Greek yoghurt and it is healthy.
Milk- This is another source of protein that is abundantly available. Cow’s milk contains many nutrients other than protein such as calcium and vitamins. It is important to consume the right type of milk in order to obtain the required nutrition. It is, however, doubtful if the controversial powdered milk can deliver the said results. Liquid milk or authentic fresh cow’s milk can be a great source of multiple nutrients that are required to maintain sound health.
Lentils- Red lentils are one of the highly consumed sources of protein in Sri Lanka and it’s low in price. Red lentils and other types of legumes are high in proteins and recommended for vegetarians and vegan to fulfil their protein requirement. Rather than taking red lentils alone, it is better if that is eaten along with other legumes to boost the nutrition intake.
Oats- This is one of the most popular foods that is taken to shred body fat. This has high fibre content and protein. This also aids digestion and eases constipation.
Peanuts- They contain a high amount of protein and unsaturated fat. But this is high in calorie content. Hence, the amount consumed should be monitored and should not exceed the recommended daily intake.
Unlike proteins, carbs can be difficult to choose to meet the recommended daily carbs requirement. Sugars are also carbohydrate. Therefore, high sugar intake can be injurious to health in many ways. The most common disease that can be a consequence is diabetes.
Carbohydrate with high glycemic index does not cause the rise in glucose level in blood abruptly, yet it increases the blood sugar level over time. Whole grains, brown rice, sweet potatoes, lentils, oatmeal and beans are some good carbs.
Drinks with high sugar levels and other foods such as cakes, candies ready-to-eat cereals contain a high amount of unhealthy sugars.
Fats, although it has unpleasant consequences if taken more than the required amount, the right amount is essential for the proper functioning of the body. Fat deficiency can cause various unpleasant health conditions. Unsaturated fat is not healthy and if taken in large amounts, many diseases can result. Avocado, tofu, white fish, pure peanut butter, groundnut, flaxseed oil, egg, olive fruits, oil and sunflower oil are good sources of fat.
Take the right nutrients in the right amount at the right time. It can help you lead a healthy life.
The writer is an MBBS undergraduate at the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Peradeniya. He also holds a Diploma in Sports and Exercises Science.He is also a freelance fitness instructor.