By Gladys Halima
Although everyone knows how to eat, majority are clueless when it comes to nourishing their body.
Deciding what, when and how much to consume is a complex process.
The bottom line is, you are what you eat. So If you consume fatty and sugary foods, donât complain when lifestyle diseases such as diabetes come calling.
Food also provide protection against diseases.
A well balanced diet should contain adequate and optimal amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Carbohydrates are the energy-giving component and comprise of sugars and starches. Examples of such foods are rice, chapati, pasta, ugali, potatoes and cassava. Complex carbohydrates include fruit and whole grains. Apart from giving energy, complex carbohydrates provide fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, sugar and honey are good sources of simple carbohydrates.
Proteins are bodybuilding foods, as they help the body to grow and heal. They maintain and repair damaged tissues, especially the muscle, and immune system. Proteins can be derived from plants or animals. Fish, poultry, eggs and milk are among the animal ones, while beans peas cowpeas, soya and nuts are plant proteins.
Fats and oils help the body store energy and in hormone production. There is twice as much energy in fats as in protein and carbohydrates. Hence, fats and oils aid in gaining weight. This are mostly found in butter and oils.
Vitamins and minerals are required in small amounts for different normal body functions including strengthening the immune system.