Food and Nutrients

Whenever we feel hungry, we eat food. Food not only ends our hunger but also gives us energy. Food gives energy to do some essential elements required for the important works of the body.

All the elements found in food which are essential for our body are called nutrients. Various nutrient elements found in our food are carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and mineral salts.

1. Carbohydrates

This is an important element in our food. The main function of carbohydrates is to provide energy for physical work like playing, learning, working in a farm or factory.

Whenever you are sitting or sleeping, various activities also take place like breathing, pumping of heart, food digestion, etc. We require energy for these processes also.


The main food elements in our food which gives us energy are all types of grains like wheat, rice, maize, millet, bajra, ragi, etc. We also get energy from roots kandmool, example, potato, arbi, turnip, sugarcane, banana, etc. Other sources of carbohydrate are sugar, honey and jiggery.

If we take extra carbohydrates in our body, they get deposited in the form of fats in our body. If the intake of carbohydrates in less in our body then our weight gets reduced and we feel tired.

Marasmus: This disease is caused because of less carbohydrates intake in food by child. His muscles start drying up. He gets wrinkles on his skin. This disease is also called dry disease. Child cannot grow in this disease and his skeleton can be seen in his body.

2. Protein

Protein is essential for the development of body. Therefore, we must consume protein rich food. This helps us in building of new cells, tissues, organs, hormones and hemoglobin (red pigment in blood). It also helps in the maintenance of damaged cells.


All pulses like masoor, moong, urad, rajma etc gave high protein. Our body also gets protein from milk, curd, paneer, meat, fish, eggs, etc.

Less consumption of protein leads to less development of body and mind energy and malnutrition is caused by the lack of protein in food. This malnutrition is of two types - Kwashiorkor and marasmus.

Kwashiorkor: This is caused mainly by the lack of protein. Here, the child has swelling on his hand, legs and face, he also suffers from loose motions. He gets a fat belly.

3. Fat

Fat gives us energy. It gives a soft layer on the heart. Therefore heart does not get damaged by a push or injury. Some vitamins like A, B, E, K are soluble in fat and fat helps us in getting them from the food. Fats are important to make our body work.


Various food items like bitter, ghee, cream, malai, oil (mustard, cocount, groundnut, til) gives fat. But extra fat is not good for health. Therefore, we must take foods giving fat in a limited manner. Ghee, butter and malai consumption can be dangerous to elderly people. Fats give more energy than carbohydrates when needed.

4. Mineral Salts

We require very less amount of mineral salts found in our food. But for the proper functioning and growth of human body, mineral salts are required. For example, for building blood in human body, iron is required. Therefore, it is essential to have mineral salts in our food.


Calcium helps in building bones and teeth. It also controls the speed of muscles. We get calcium form milk, paneer, curd, butter milk, green leafy vegetables (spinach, reddish, cauliflower, methi, arbi ke patte, bajra, black grans). Its deficiency leads to weakness of bones and their deformation. Teeth also get weak by the deficiency of calcium.


iron is required for the building hemoglobin a red pigment found in red blood cells in blood. It is mostly found in green leafy vegetables, Bajra, chidwa, ragi, murmura, jaggery, roasted gram, masoor dal, fish. The deficiency of iron leads to a disease called anemia. Anemia refers to the deficiency of red blood cells. Patient feels weak and his breathing is abnormal. His nails get fellow. He does not feel good to eat something. 


This salt is essentials for the growth, development and functioning of biological activities. The most common source of iodine is salt (with iodine). Iodine is also found in extra amount in food obtained from salt. Deficiency of iodine leads to goiter. It also leads to the swelling of thyroid glands. Deficiency of iodine leads to improper growth of children.

5. Vitamin

Vitamins are required for many biological activities in human body. There are required in small amount. There are many types of vitamins like A, B, C, D, E, K.

Vitamin A

It helps in proper functioning of eyes, keeping skin healthy and boosting immunity power of body to fight disease. This is found in bajra, papaya, sitafal, carrot, mango, yellow maize, green leafy vegetables, like, egg, butter, fish. Deficiency of vitamin causes night blindness, patient cannot see properly in dim light in this disease. More deficiency of vitamin A causes blindness. 

Vitamin D

It is essential for building bones and increasing their strength. Vitamin D is build by our body with the help of sunlight. This is the cheap and simple medium of getting vitamin D. Vitamin D is also found in fish oil, egg and kaleji. Deficiency of vitamin D causes rickets, bones get weak and legs get deformed in shape of bow.

Vitamin E

This vitamin is required for reproduction capacity this is mostly found in vanaspati oil, fish, egg, flour with choker, milk. Its deficiency causes sterility meaning less reproductive capacity.

Vitamin K

This vitamin helps in blood clotting after an injury. The main sources of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, cabbage. Deficiency of vitamin K causes more time in blood clotting after an injury which can be dangerous.

Vitamin B Complex

Many vitamins are found in this group of vitamins. These are necessary for the development and growth of body. They keep our muscles and skin healthy. Some of the sources of vitamin B complex are - sabot and sprouted pulses, milk and its product. Deficiency of vitamin B causes beri-beri. This leads to less hunger and problem in digestion. The corners of mouth get cut, tongue gets rough and red, misbalance in biological process is caused by the deficiency of vitamin B complex.

Vitamin C

It is essential for wound filling. This keeps our skin, teeth, bones, healthy and strong. It also gives power to fight diseases. It is found in raw fruits and vegetables, amla, lemon, grapes, tomato, sprouted pulses, sahjan ki fali. Deficient of vitamin C causes scurvy, gums get swollen and blood starts coming out of them. It takes time to cure wounds and immunity power gets lessened. 

6. Water

Water is required for all biological activities of human body. About 55% of human body is water, water is required to keep human temperature normal (98.4 degree Fahrenheit or 37 degree Celsius). We require more water in summer. We should always drink water and other liquid drinks. We should always drink 7-8 glass of water every day.

7. Fiber

Fiber is also an important part of our food. Eating fiber in optimum quantity helps us in constipation and provides proper digestion of dodo. It also supports proper excretion out of human body. Eating good amount of fiber saves us from obesity. We get required fiber from green leafy vegetables, fruits, sabot grains, pulses.