Book: Bangla Foods and Recipes
Author: Rakhi Mandal - Researcher, Food & Recipes
What is Food? I love this question because it is compulsory to know for all of us. Food is indispensable for all creatures to live. It is impossible for a human being to live without food. The involvement of the food for human beings begins from the embryo phase in the womb; which is essential to lead the healthy and normal life of every human being.
Food provides a mixture of chemicals that enables the body to build and maintain its organs and supplies it with energy to carry out its activities. Our body is made up of chemical substances, the replacement of which is essential for the continuous process of tissue and organ regeneration. It is worth mentioning that the substances found in food and that provide the energy necessary for normal body functions are known as nutrients.
In general terms, food is a substance used for the correct nutrition of a living being, in addition, it has a social and psychological impact on humanity. It is nutritional because it can provide energy and matter in the anabolism of living beings, managing to maintain all physiological functions, a clear example of this is body heat (or anatomical heating of living beings).
In human beings, it has a social impact because it encourages communication, the creation of emotional ties, as well as the transmission of cultures and connections in social relationships.
The psychological impact has to do with the boost in emotional health. As long as there is good mental health, then there are rewarding feelings and feelings of happiness.
A good diet represents the physical health of the individual and expands mental health. It is important to note that the food does not have to enforce the aforementioned factors, an example of this is alcoholic beverages. These are considered as a food substance due to their yearning interests, not precisely because they add nutritional value to the human being.
Although it has been explained that food is a substance taken or received by living beings, there are certain conditions that these substances must possess to be considered as food. For example, materials that tend to alter the functions of the metabolic origin of the organism of the living being are not considered as food. These substances are drugs, tobacco (in any of its forms), medications (even vitamins), and chewing gums.
According to the science of Nutrition, all that we eat are not food. The edible items which can produce energy and immunity and helps to grow and develop a living body by its nutrition are called food. It means only if the edible items that help in body growth, energy production, nutrition, and body corrosion of human beings and other creatures are considered as food.
So it is clear that nutrition and food have profound connectivity. Only fulfilling the appetite is not enough; nutritious food elements are a must. And the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health is called Nutrition. It is the resource of materials that organisms and cells require to live.
Now we all have a clear idea of ‘what is food’: the edible items that help us to live a healthy life are considered as food. Every day, we do various physical and mental activities. As a result, our bodies become weak and dilapidated. In that case, food rejuvenates our bodies. It means food works inside the body. So let us see what is the importance of food.
Food is more than a necessity. The first of the terms encompass the mechanical actions related to the ingestion of food, while the second refers to the absorption of substances contained in food to transform them into energy and tissues for the proper functioning of our body.
In other words, the importance of diet for health has more to do with what happens after the incorporation of food into our body than with the process of eating itself.
Nutrients are not evenly distributed in all foods. That is why there are some that we should eat in greater proportion than others. From there the famous food pyramid was born, which includes all types of food in its proper measure to avoid the appearance of pathologies.
Although food is capable of providing us with both nutrients and non-nutrients, only one of them cannot provide all those essential or fundamental nutrients for the correct functioning of the organism of living beings.
Therefore, it is essential to use a totally balanced, rich diet in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. In order for this to be accomplished, it was necessary to create a classification of foods, thus, not only their composition is known, but also what each one of them contributes.
Organic foods are those that do not involve chemical substances such as pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers in their production process.
These foods are grown, raised, and processed, using natural methods, in order to obtain food products that do not include any chemical compound or synthetic additives.
For the cultivation of this type of food, fertilization systems are used, through the use of compost that returns the nutrients that are wasted to the soil.
To combat pests in crops, natural products are used that neutralize and attack organisms that can damage crops and livestock. Plant-based foods are organic and, in turn, contain nutrients. Foods with vegetable protein are nuts and seeds. In this category, there are also foods with carbohydrates and foods with iron, for example, vegetables.
It is important to note that some people may experience an allergy to organic food, but it is not a large percentage.
Importantly, animal foods are also organic, for example, beef, fish, cheese, eggs, and milk.
Inorganic foods are those that have a mineral origin, for example, water and mineral salts.
There is no single possible classification according to their nutrients, although the following is widely accepted:
This types of foods is the most popular of all, as it is the most widespread and is based on grouping foods by their chemical composition, whether they are inorganic or organic substances, according to the following criteria:
Macronutrients mainly provide the body with energy, which is essential for many essential functions: conduction of nerve impulses, regulation of body processes, and the development of new tissues (their growth and repair). The body needs a higher amount of macronutrients and fewer micronutrients, thus keeping it balanced and functioning properly. This type of food is found in sugars (including glucose), starch, and fiber.
The following groups of macronutrients are distinguished:
These substances are organic compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms, although some also contain elements such as nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus. In this group carbohydrates predominate, which provide high energy value to the body (immediate energy). We find legumes, cereals, and tubers.
Proteins are molecules formed by hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen also may contain sulfur and phosphorus. Its basic unit is the 9 essential amino acids, whose structural function constitutes 80% of the weight of cells, in addition to other essential functions for the body: growth and formation of tissues, regulates the function of enzymes, among others. We find meat, fish, seafood, and eggs.
These compounds are hydrogenated chains of carbon (insoluble in water) and sometimes sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorus. These elements are vital for life since the plasma membranes of cells are made up of lipids. Lipids are energy producers and are mainly divided into three types: fats or oils (triglycerides or triacylglycerides), phospholipids and cholesterol esters (whose common ingredients are saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids). Some lipid foods are oilseeds, oils, mayonnaise, cream, lard, margarine, butter, bacon, almost all sausages.
Micronutrients primarily help facilitate much of the chemical reactions that occur in the body, but they do not provide energy. Its main difference, compared to macronutrients, is that the body requires it but in very small amounts. The micronutrients are:
These inorganic substances, although we need them in small amounts, are essential in many metabolic reactions in the body. These compounds do not generate energy or provide calories. Some vitamins are complex A, B, C, D, E, and K.
These inorganic elements fulfill many essential functions in the body: they regulate the activity of some enzymes, facilitate the membrane transport of essential nutrients, perform structural functions, among others. These compounds do not generate energy, nor do they provide calories. Some minerals are calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, potassium, etc.
Water is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless liquid, composed of two hydrogen atoms covalently bonded to an oxygen atom, however, this liquid acquires several kinds of minerals when it runs through the subsoil or aquifers. Water is considered a nutrient, but especially it is an essential substance for life since all living beings are composed mainly of water.
In this category are energy, regulating, and restorative foods.
They are those that provide vitality and energy to living beings. It is these characteristics that make them the most important foods in the human diet, made up of carbohydrates and fats.
They have a fundamental role in the body since they intervene in the correct functioning of it. They are made up of minerals, for example, iron-rich foods like nuts and beef. Also included are foods with fiber (grains and legumes) and foods with potassium (bananas).
They are responsible for regenerating the tissues of the body of living beings, increase the strength, growth, and vitality of the anatomy, and allow different chemical reactions to occur in order to maintain life. These foods are fish, red meat, nuts, legumes, vegetables, general fruits, cereals, grains, and derivatives of foods of animal origin.
Antioxidant foods are all those whose function is to neutralize the action of free radicals on our body.
Free radicals are produced as a result of cellular oxidation. When the number of free radicals increases and becomes unstable, negative results occur. This is because they modify the DNA of the cells, preventing their cell renewal, and altering their normal functioning.
Cells in the body degenerate and wear out, leading to chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease, vascular atherosclerosis, cancers, osteoarthritis, and neurodegenerative diseases. Cellular and organic aging is also accelerated.
The detoxification of our body is the elimination of harmful substances or toxins, accompanied by the consumption of foods with cleansing properties that facilitate the elimination of liquids. Therefore, this diet detoxifies and increases defenses, helping to improve health.
The cleansing diet should be carried out in the following situations:
The alkalizing or acidifying condition of a food is due to its content of mineral salts that alter the PH of the body. The body has a neutral PH of 7.45.
The body contains several mineral salts that make it alkaline because they increase the body’s PH, among which are calcium, sodium, potassium, zinc, manganese and magnesium. Its sources are fruits, vegetables, water and also olive oil.
Other mineral salts, acidifying because they lower the PH of the body, such as phosphorus, sulfur, iron, iodine and chlorine. Their sources are animal and vegetable proteins and some fats.
An unbalanced acidifying diet causes metabolic acidosis and as a result leads to premature aging, and the body must remove mineral salts from the bones, which causes a loss of bone mass. To counteract this problem we must eat alkaline foods.
This type of gastronomy is quite common in the world due to how easy and fast its preparation can be, in addition, it is characterized by containing ingredients with too many fats, sugars, and seasonings and although its flavor is unmatched, its habitual consumption can reach to cause severe illness in people.
Junk food has a wide variety of dishes, including hamburgers, hot dogs, pizzas, nachos with creams, etc. The animal tissues used in the preparations of junk recipes have excessive seasonings, in addition, the salt and oil used to cook it exceeds the appropriate level, which is why doctors recommend not consuming this type so often.
There are all kinds of cuisine in the world, each country has a specific typical dish and it leaves a bit of its culture, of who they really are and how they are spread or distributed throughout the planet. There is Chinese, Venezuelan, Italian, Lebanese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Vegetarian, Peruvian, Mexican, Indian, and Vegan food.
Each of them with different recipes, ingredients that can be combined in a variety of ways, and, best of all, they are totally delicious. Currently, gastronomy has achieved that the dishes from all these countries can be found worldwide, they can even be prepared at home or simply take the food home.
It is said that Heath is the key to all Happiness. A healthy man is a man of action. And it is not possible to do anything properly without physical fitness. Who are lazy, do not work, may suffer from an inferiority complex, and do not get any mental peace. To them everything is meaningless. So we need to be fit and healthy beyond everything. We must intake food maintaining regularity by understanding the food value to keep our body fit and healthy.