A healthy and balanced diet contains carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber and water. When we say balanced, the intention is to supply proportionate (not too much and not too little) of those ingredients.
When we talk about a healthy diet, we mean balanced consumption through food (not as supplements) of seven components:
And when we say balanced, the intention is proportional consumption (not too much, not too much) of the seven components of food, so that the body will have all the elements necessary for is development and functions.
Vegetables, fruits, healthy vegetable and animal sources, low-fat foods, and a varied menu tailored to the medical situation are the key to good health as opposed to unhealthy eating compensated by taking vitamins and supplements in pill form.
In addition, in various medical conditions, nutrition plays a critical role in the recovery process. For example, after injury or burn in which massive tissue construction is required, it is necessary to increase protein supply. On the other hand, a person suffering from obesity and diagnosed with metabolic syndrome should limit the intake of carbohydrates and fats. In cancer patients, it is necessary to make dietary adjustments according to the type of disease and according to treatments that can be cured. During pregnancy, the needs of the growing fetus must also be taken into consideration.
Why are vitamins and minerals not part of the staples?
The food groups (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) are called so that they are the basis for creating energy in the body. So we consume them in large quantities – dozens of grams a day. One gram of fat creates 9 Kcal of energy, while one gram of protein or of sugar creates 4 Kcal.
In contrast, vitamins and minerals do not create energy on their own but help the body in its various processes – from enzymatic processes, through normal functioning of the immune system to tight control over cell division and cell death. This is why we need smaller amounts of them – milligrams or micrograms.
Where do we get vitamins and minerals?
We are dependent on food to get some vitamins and minerals as well as for some of the amino acids that make up the proteins, and some fatty acids (like Omega 3) because the body can not produce them alone. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to consume whole foods especially whole grains. There are many essential healthy nutrients in the shell of whole grains unlike processed foods (such as rice, flour, and sugar).
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds (containing carbon) that contain additional atoms of other chemical elements. The main source recommended for them are in the food and not dietary supplements. They can be soluble in water (such as vitamin C or any B vitamins) or in fat (vitamins A, D, E, K). This means that absorption of the various vitamins and their timing requires adjustment.
Most vitamins are relatively vulnerable, so high temperature, light, and food preparation (cooking versus steaming) have a strong effect on food composition and absorption.
What are minerals?
Minerals are also divided into two groups – those for which we need relatively large quantities (more than 100 mg per day) such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium , sodium, chlorine, magnesium and sulfur, Such as iron, iodine, zinc, chromium, selenium, fluorine, copper, molybdenum and manganese, these minerals will be found in their free form (ions) or in compounds related to proteins or other molecules.
There are differences in how minerals are absorbed in the body. For example, the mechanism of iron absorption in the body is ineffective. Coffee and tea, phytic acid, oxalic acid (which is present in spinach), fiber and milk (because of its high content of phosphorus and calcium) interfere with its absorption. Therefore, if there is a lack of iron, it is important to take a quality dietary supplement. Other minerals found in nature such as lead, are toxic to the body and we do not need them.
What are dietary fibers?
Dietary fiber is also divided into two groups – water soluble and non-soluble in water. Fiber-rich sources recommended for daily nutrition are wholemeal products, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Fiber plays an important role in the digestion process and has a direct effect on the sense of satiety and blood sugar and lipids.
Due to the fact that a large part of the fiber is not absorbed or disintegrated during the digestion process, the amount and composition of fibers in the diet has a direct effect on bowel activity. Fiber can help with constipation but it is not allowed to consume too much of it, especially in people who have had intestinal surgery or who have intestinal pathology for fear of blockages. In general, fiber intake from both groups is recommended at about 25 to 30 grams per day (or 15 to 18 grams of fiber per 1000 kilocalories).
Is mineral water good for the health?
The whole story of mineral water is regretfully a brilliant exercise in marketing the blanks of any health basis. They are often marketed in plastic bottles that may be exposed to extreme temperatures to release carcinogens (so do not buy a six-pack at a gas station or freeze plastic bottles). They may also be deficient in essential substances such as fluorine and if they stand long in unsuitable storage conditions, they may be contaminated.
So it is better to drink regular tap water?
Yes. In Israel, the quality of the tap water is good and if the problem is the taste, the water can be filtered.