Different food items are eaten in different parts of India.
Each meal consists of at least one grain item.
The components needed by our body to survive are known as ‘nutrients’.
The major nutrients in our food are named carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
In addition, food contains dietary fibres and water which are also needed by our body.
To test the presence of carbohydrates, we need dilute iodine solution.
Dilute iodine solution can be prepared by adding a few drops of tincture iodine in a test tube half filled with water.
While testing with dilute solution, if the food item turns into blue-black colour, then it means it contains starch.
Carbohydrates are mostly found in the form of sugar and starch.
They provide us with energy.
Some of the food items that contain carbohydrates are potato, honey, wheat, etc.
To test the presence of proteins, one needs solution of copper sulphate and solution of caustic soda.
On adding these solutions if the food item turns into a violet colour, then it shows the presence of proteins.
Proteins are needed for the growth and repair of our body.
That’s why they are known as ‘body building foods’.
Some of the food items that contain proteins are yogurt, meat, fish, etc.
To check presence of fats, one must keep the food item on a paper and press it.
If the paper shows an oily patch, then that food item contains fats.
Some of the food items rich in fats are butter, cheese, oil, etc.
Fats and carbohydrates are known as ‘energy giving foods’.
Vitamins help in protecting our body against diseases.
Different kinds of vitamins are there like Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, etc.
Vitamin A keeps our skin and eyes healthy.
Vitamin C helps body to fight against many diseases.
Vitamin D helps our body to use calcium for bones and teeth.
Some sources of Vitamin A are papaya, carrot, mango, etc.
Some sources of Vitamin B are rice, wheat, liver, etc.
Some sources of Vitamin C are guava, lemon, amla, etc.
Some sources of Vitamin D are egg, fish, liver, etc.
We get Vitamin D from sunlight.
Some important minerals needed by our body are calcium, iodine, phosphorous, etc.
Besides these nutrients, our body needs dietary fibres and water.
Dietary fibres are also known as roughage.
Roughage is mainly provided by plant products in our foods.
Whole grains and pulses, potatoes, fresh fruits and vegetables are main sources of roughage.
Roughage does not provide any nutrient to our body, but is an essential component of our food and adds to its bulk.
This helps our body get rid of undigested food.
Water helps our body to absorb nutrients from food.
It also helps in throwing out some wastes from body as urine and sweat.
The diet which contains all the important nutrients in appropriate amount is known as ‘balanced diet’.
Washing vegetables after cutting or peeling them, results in loosing of important vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin C easily gets destroyed by heating.
The intake of too much fats rich food will lead to ‘obesity’.
Diseases that occur due to lack of nutrients over a long period are called deficiency diseases.
If a person does not get enough proteins in his/her food for a long time, he/she is likely to have stunted growth, swelling of face, discolouration of hair, skin diseases and diarrhoea.
If the diet is deficient in both carbohydrates and proteins for a long period of time, the growth may stop completely. Such a person becomes very lean and thin and so weak that he/she may not even be able to move.
Deficiency of Vitamin A causes Night Blindness.
Deficiency of Vitamin B1 causes Beri-Beri.
Deficiency of Vitamin C causes Scurvy.
Deficiency of Vitamin D causes Rickets.
Deficiency of Calcium can cause bone and tooth decay.