Energy is required for the body for a wide range of purposes, including brain function, metabolism of organs and muscular activity. The main sources of energy are carbohydrates, protein, fats and alcohol.
Proteins are the most versatile macronutrient which maintain crucial functional and structural properties in human body. Dietary proteins are broken down in the body into amino acids, which are used in cell signaling, immune response, and used as building blocks for muscles, organs, and some hormones. Although human bodies can synthesize certain amino acids, there are nine essential amino acids that can only be obtained from food.
Carbohydrate is the most common energy source, especially for the brain, which requires glucose for its metabolism. It is commonly found in plants such as grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables; dairy products are the only animal-derived foods containing a significant amount of carbohydrate, in the form of lactose.
Fats are the most concentrated energy source, and they can also act as an energy reserve when they are stored in the body as fat tissues. They are involved in many structural and metabolic functions of the body. Moreover, fats are required for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins i.e. Vitamins A, D, E and K.
Fibre is the indigestible portion of plants. Since it is not digested in our stomach and intestines, it adds bulk, soften stools and shortens transit time in the intestinal tract. Therefore, it is important for digestive health.
Sodium occurs in most foods as sodium chloride, which we know as ‘salt’. It is important in maintaining body fluid volume, and electric potential in tissues. A great part of people’s sodium intake is from processed food. High sodium intake is related to hypertension, so people are encouraged to control their sodium/salt intake.
Calcium is crucial for the normal growth and development of the bone, as well as proper functioning of neuromuscular and cardiac functions. Prolonged low calcium intake is usually associated with poor bone health, especially osteoporosis. Adequate dietary calcium is extremely important during the rapid growth period (young children), as the bone mass increases dramatically, i.e. sevenfold from birth to puberty. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, are well known sources for calcium. Adequate calcium intake plus sufficient Vitamin D intake, and exercise, will help to achieve optimal bone health.
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Did You KnowMost yogurt in the USA has pectin or gelatin added...
Fruit jam is used instead of raw fruit pieces in the fruit yogurts (despite what is in television commercials) so that they can be stored for weeks without mildew!