The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Healthy Diet
Food is any material consumed to supply nutrition to an organisms living in it. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and has necessary nutrients, including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, or other minerals. A wide variety of food is available in the market to satisfy the needs of individuals and their families for daily consumption. It includes fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, pulses, dairy products, and other food products.
Every one needs a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in their diet for maintaining health. The most important food groups are carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, fruits, iron, and water. These groups represent 90% of the total required dietary vitamins and minerals. Deficiency in any of these food groups results in a deficiency of vitamins and minerals, which is called a micronutrient deficiency. Vitamins and minerals are called protective foods because they assist in the proper function of other nutrients in our body; hence, a deficiency of vitamins and minerals may lead to a disease or health disorder.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be serious. In countries where milk is regularly consumed, the prevalence of vitamin deficiencies is quite high. According to the study session conducted byaired by WHO, more than two thirds of the world’s population is deficient in some of the most common micronutrients. The two major micronutrients required for maintaining good health are vitamins A, B, C and E, as well as the minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Deficiency in any of these micronutrients results in a deficiency of energy and leads to a poor nutritional status, which in turn compromises the immune system.
There is a close relationship between the fat and carbohydrate contents of a food and its nutritional value. When consumed in appropriate quantities, carbohydrates provide fuel for the body and it burns the fat stored in the body for energy. The study session reported that in countries that consume large amounts of carbohydrates, obesity is frequently associated with other health problems like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gallstone formation, kidney stones and renal diseases. The excessive intake of non-energy rich foods results in an imbalance in energy metabolism between the cells leading to a malfunctioning of the immune system, hormonal imbalance and diabetes.
The study also pointed out that excessive consumption of oils and fats leads to chronic illness. Over consumption of fats and oils result in oxidative stress leading to DNA destruction. Oxidative stress impairs the DNA repair resulting in increased risk of breast cancer, cancers of the prostate, colon, stomach, leukemia, and infertility. The excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates results in low absorption of vitamins and other nutrients leading to vitamin deficiencies. Therefore, oils and fats should be consumed in moderation and should be replaced with healthier alternatives.
The recommendation for a healthy diet according to the report advises the intake of fruits and vegetables, cereal grains, oily fish, whole grain breads and cereals, nuts and seeds, dairy products, legumes, fish oils, poultry, and lean meats. It is important to choose dairy products which are free of artificial additives and hormones. Vegetable oils and dairy products should be used in limited quantities for replacing fatty acids.