What kind of food does a man need to keep fit and free from disease? A study of the following will explain how far short our average diet is of a good, balanced diet, which alone can sustain and keep us healthy. Some of the necessary things for our system are water, mineral salt, carbohydrates, fats. proteins, roughage and the vitamins. Water and mineral salts are found in fresh vegetables. Carbohydrates are made up of sugars and starches and are found in potatoes, bread, sugar and in cereals as wheat and barley. Fats produce energy and warmth. Proteids (foods containing proteins) are needed to repair tissue-waste and to build up the body. Hence children, who run about and play and move more often than grown ups, need far more proteins. Roughage is the indigestible part of our food which is passed out of the body, carrying out with itself poisons, thus helping to keep the body clean and healthy.
Food is needed (i) to produce growth, (ii) to repair wear and tear of body tissues and (iii) to produce energy and heat. Proteins produce growth and repair waste; carbohydrates and fats produce energy and heat. But along with these kinds of foods are other foods called vitamins, which are mixed with them. Without vitamins all our food is useless, like so much dead-matter lifeless. In order to have a diet which helps the body to grow and to resist disease, it is obvious that we should have a selected diet. It is clear that a better diet than the nation has at present will require more food stuffs in the country, more money with the average person to buy them, and consequently greater production and planning than is anywhere in evidence so far.
To come the question of a diet which should satisfy all the needs of the body, that is, provides salts, carbohydrates, fats, próteins and vitamins in sufficient quantities, and also be within the pocket of the average man, we may place the following list from which out of each class one food must form part of a person’s meal every day though it may be said that some things are not perfect substitutes for others. For example, milk cannot be fully replaced by anything else. Milk is the perfect food, which builds up and repairs the body perfectly. Select your foods out of the following groups, omitting to make use of no single group:
- Wheat, rice, millets, barley, gram, maize, etc.
- Milk, meat, fish, eggs, oils, ghee, hutter.
- Gur, sugar, heet-root, dates, grapes, etc.
- Green vegetable leaf vegetables, sag.
- Fruit, sweet or sour-sweet, like orange.
The presence of all or most of these elements in one’s daily diet will help to keep the body in a fit condition of growth and health. Though, of course, it has to be pointed out that, in order to enable the average citizen to afford so much to eat, we have to increase our production many times, which effort will take several years of intensive national work.