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PRESCRIPTION for a HEALTHY DIET
DIETARY GUIDELINES for FILIPINOS
These are simple messages for all to encourage proper food and nutrition practices to ensure enough and balanced diets.
(Guidelines have been developed by the FNRI-DOST Technical Working Group)
THE FOOD PYRAMID
Food Pyramid is a diagram developed by nutrition experts to illustrate the balance of foods needed for a healthy lifestyle. It serves as a nutritional guideline in the wise choice of food to obtain the best balance of nutrients in the diet. The major food groups are placed in the Food Pyramid with indicators to healthy eating habits in terms of what food one must eat.
Eat a Little - fats, oil, sugar, salt, alcohol
Eat Some - fish, poultry, nuts, dry beans, lean meat, low fat diary
Eat More - vegetables, green salads, fruits and juices
Eat Most - rice, root crops, corn, bread, cereals
Drink a Lot - water
It is common observation that when we offered a new food, our first question is: “Is it delicious or tasty?” (“Masarap Ba?”). Rarely do we encounter someone who would say first: “It is nutritious or good for my health?”
Food must have the following qualities:
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SOURCES AND FUNCTIONS OF FOOD NUTRIENTS
The basic nutrients that are essential in maintaining body functions and good health are carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Carbohydrates – provide heat and energy to the body. More than half of our day’s requirement for energy should come from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates from rice, and other starchy foods such as corn, kamote, gabi, ubi, potato, and sugar also provide additional energy. Heavy intake of carbohydrates tends to limit the consumption of other foods which would supply more protein, mineral, and vitamins, thus resulting in deficiency diseases.
Fats – are concentrated sources of energy.They contain over twice the energy value of carbohydrates, weight for weight. Its inclusion in the diet enhances palatability and delays the onset of hunger. Fats also transport vitamins A, D, E, and K. Good fat sources are eggyolks, meat, cheese, butter, and nuts.
Proteins – build, repair, and maintain body tissues. They are important constituents of body cells. They form the hormones that regulate body processes and anti-bodies that is shortage of fats and carbohydrates in our meals.
Vitamins – are organic substances necessary for growth and maintenance of life. They must be provided in the diet. They occur in small amounts in the body and act as catalysts or substances that hasten chemical reactions in the body processes. They are carried in the blood stream to all parts of the body. As such, they control body chemistry and play important roles in normal growth, energy expenditure, reproduction, resistance to diseases, and general well being.
Vitamin A – is essential for normal eye functioning, resistance to infection, normal growth, and healthy skin. Good food sources include whole milk, butter, most cheeses, fish liver oil and green or yellow parts of vegetables and fruits such as malunggay or kalabasa, ripe papaya and carrots, in the form of carotene.
Vitamin B complex – namely thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin, are water-soluble. They are rapidly lost by the body in urine, feces, and perspiration. They must be provided in our meals everyday. Thiamin prevents beri-beri, helps convert carbohydrates into energy, maintains good digestion and assimilation of food. Niacin plays an important role in cell respiration, carbohydrates oxidation, and good digestion.
Vitamin C – is essential for the health of the teeth, gums, and blood vessels. It is important too in the formation of collagen, a protein that helps support the skin bone, and tendons. Good food sources are green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, especially citrus fruits. Vitamin C has to be provided everyday in our meals.
Vitamin D – is necessary fore strong bones and teeth and is produced by the action of sunlight on the skin. It is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin. Good food sources are liver, fish liver oil, eggyolks, and fortified milk.
Vitamin E – like a, D, and K, is fat-soluble. It helps in the formation of red blood cells, muscles and tissues and prevents the abnormal breakdown of body fat. Good food sources are whole grain cereals, whole wheat bread, wheat germ, and vegetable oils.
Vitamin K – is necessary for blood clotting and is manufactured in the intestinal tract by microorganisms. Good food sources are green leafy vegetables.
Minerals – some 18 minerals are considered necessary for regulating and maintaining body process. The most important are calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper iodine, sodium and potassium.
Calcium and Phosphorous – are essential for the formation of good bones and teeth. Good food sources are milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, small fishes, and nuts.
Iron – is responsible for the hemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen in the blood. Iron deficiency in the diets leads to anemia. Good food sources include enriched bread and flour, unpolished rice, eggs, green leafy vegetables, meat, specially the internal organs, and fish.
Iodine – affects the functions of the thyroid glands. Deficiency of this nutrient causes simple goiter. Chief sources are seafoods, marine plants and iodized salts.
Sodium – is present in common table salt. It is essential for the normal functioning of body fluids and tissues.
Potassium – is needed for healthy nerves and muscles and found in meat, fish, milk, vegetables, and fruits.
Copper – we need a small amount of copper which a well-planned meal will provide adequately. This nutrient is essential in iron utilization.
Water – is an essential part of the body tissues and comprises 2/3 of the body weight. It not considered as food, yet no one can live more than a few days without it. It is lost in sweating and normal body excretions, thorough he intestine tract and kidneys and should be replenished everyday. A loss of 10% of fluid from the body is serious menace to health. As a rule, 6-7 glasses of water or juices and other drinks are needed to maintain water balance in the body. Without water, food cannot be properly digested, absorbed or carried to the different parts of the body as needed.
Fiber or Cellulose – is the indigestible part in foods. It is not nutrient but it provides roughage to stimulate the intestinal muscles for proper evacuation. Moreover, it promotes the growth of useful bacteria in the intestines. Good food sources are fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads and cereals. Lack of roughage in the diet causes constipation.