Optimum nutrition for vigor and vitality

Optimum Nutrition for Vigour and Vitality
Your food shall be your medicine.
- Hippocrates
Diet plays a vital role in the maintenance of good health and in the prevention and cure of
disease. In the words of Sir Robert McCarrison, one of the best known nutritionists, ‘The right
kind of food is the most important single factor in the promotion of health ; and the wrong kind of
food is the most important single factor in the promotion of disease. "
The human body builds up and maintains healthy cells, tissues, glands and organs only with the
help of various nutrients. The body cannot perform any of its functions, be they metabolic,
hormonal, mental, physical or chemical, without specific nutrients. The food which provides
these nutrients is thus one of the most essential factors in building and maintaining health.
Nutrition, which depends on food, is also of utmost importance in the cure of disease. The
primary cause of disease is a weakened organism or lowered resistance in the body, arising
from the adoption of a faulty nutritional pattern. There is an elaborate healing mechanism within
the body but it can perform its function only if it is abundantly supplied with all the essential
nutritional factors.
It is believed that at least 45 chemical components and elements are needed by human cells.
Each of these 45 substances, called essential nutrients, must be present in adequate diets. The
list of these nutrients, include oxygen and water. The other 43 essential nutrients are classified
into five main groups, namely carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins. All 45 of
these nutrients are vitally important and they work together. Therefore, the absence of any of
them will result in disease and eventually in death.
Research has shown that almost all varieties of disease can be produced by an under-supply of
various nutrients. These nutritional deficiencies occur on account of various factors, including the
intense processsing and refining of foods, the time lag between the harvesting and consumption
of vegetables and fruits, the chemicals used in bleaching, flavouring, colouring and preserving
foods and the chemical fertilisers, fungicides insecticides and sprays used for treating the soil.
Therefore, as a first principle of nutrition, one should insist upn whole meal flour and whole meal
bread and avoid the white stuff.
Research has also shown that diseases produced by combinatins of deficiencies can be
corrected when all the nutrients are supplied, provided irreparable damage has not been done. A
well-balanced and correct diet is thus of utmost importance for the maintenance of good health
and the healing of diseases. Such a diet, obviously should be made up of foods, which in
combination would supply all the essential nutrients.
It has been found that a diet which contains liberal quantities of (I) seeds, nuts, and grains , (ii)
vegetables and (iii) fruits, would provide adequate amounts of all the essential nutrients. These
foods have, therefore, been aptly called basic food groups and the diet contains these food
groups as optimum diet for vigour and vitality. It is described, in brief, below :
(I) Seeds , nuts and grains :
These are the most important and the most potent of all foods and contain all the important
nutrients needed for human growth. They contain the germ, the reproductive power which is of
vital importance for the lives of human beings and their health. Millet, wheat, oats, barley, brown
rice, beans and peas are all highly valuable in building health. Wheat, mung beans, alfalfa seeds
and soya beans make excellent sprouts. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts
and soya beans contain complete proteins of high biological value.
Seeds, nuts and grains are also excellent natural sources of essential unsaturated fatty acids
necessary for health. They are also good sources of lecithin and most of the B vitamins . They
are the best natural sources of vitamin C, which is perhaps the most important vitamin for the

preservation of health and prevention of premature ageing. Besides, they are rich sources of
minerals and supply necessary bulk in the diet. They also contain auxones, the natural
substance that play an important role in the rejuvenation of cells and prevention of premature
(ii) Vegetables :
They are extremely rich source of minerals, enzymes and vitamins. Faulty cooking and
prolonged careless storage, however, destroy these valuable nutrients. Most of the vegetables
are, therefore, best consumed in their natural raw state in the form of salads.
There are different kinds of vegetables. They may be edible roots, stems, leaves, fruits and
seeds. Each group contributes to the diet in its own way. Fleshy roots have energy value and
good sources of vitamin B . Seeds are relatively high in carbohydrates and proteins and yellow
ones are rich in vitamin A. Leaves, stems and fruits are excellent sources of minerals, vitamins,
water and roughage.
To prevent loss of nutrients in vegetables, it would be advisable to steam or boil vegetables in
their juices on a slow fire and the water or cooking liquid should not be drained off. No vegetable
should be peeled unless it is so old that the peel is tough and unpalatable. In most root
vegetables, the largest amount of mineral is directly under the skin and these are lost if
vegetables are peeled. Soaking of vegetables should also be avoided if taste and nutritive value
are tobe preserved.
(iii) Fruits :
Like vegetables, fruits are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and enzymes. They are
easily digested and exercise a cleansing effect on the blood and digestive tract. They contain
high alkaline properties, a high percentage of water and a low percentage of proteins and fats.
Their organic acid and high sugar content have immediate refreshing effects. Apart from
seasonable fresh fruits, dry fruits, such as raisins, prunesand figs are also beneficial.
Fruits are at their best when eaten in the raw and ripe states. In cooking, the loose portions of
the nutrient salts and carbohydrates. They are most beneficial when taken as a separate meal
by themselves, preferably for breakfast in the morning. If it becomes necessary to take fruits with
regular food, they should form a larger proportion of the meals. Fruits, however, make better
combination with milk than with meals. It is also desirable to take one kind of fruit at a time. For
the maintenance of good health, atleast one pound of uncooked fruits should form part of the
daily diet. In case of sickness, it will be advisable to take fruits in the form of juices.
The three basic health-building foods mentioned above should be supplemented with certain
special foods such as milk, vegetable oils and honey. Milk is an excellent food. It is considered
as " Nature’s most nearly perfect food." The best way to take milk is in its soured form - that is,
yogurt and cottage cheese. Soured milk is superior to sweet milk as it is in a predigested form
and more easily assimilated. Milk helps maintain a healthy intestinal flora and prevents intestinal
putrefaction and constipation.
High quality unrefined oils should be added to the diet. They are rich in unsaturated fatty acids,
vitamin C and F and lecithin. The average daily amount should not exceed two tablespoons .
Honey too is an ideal food. It helps increase calcium retention in the system, prevents nutritional
anaemia besides being beneficial in kidney and liver disorders, colds, poor circulation and
complexion problems. It is one of the nature’s finest energy-giving food.
A diet of the three basic food groups, supplemented with the special foods, mentioned above,
will ensure a complete and adequate supply of all the vital nutrients needed for health, vitality
and prevention of diseases. It is not necessary to include animal protein like egg, fish or meat in
this basic diet, as animal protein, especially meat, always has a detrimental effect on the healing
process. A high animal protein is harmful to health and may cause many of our common
Daily Menu
Based on what has been stated above, the daily menu of a health-building and vitalising diet
should be on the following lines :

Upon arising :- A glass of lukewarm water mixed with the juice of a half a lemon and a
teaspoon of honey, or a glass of freshly squeezed juice of any available seasonable fruit such as
apple, pineapple, orange, sweet lime and grapes.
Breakfast :- Fresh fruits such as apple, orange, banana, grapes, or any available seasonal
fruits, a cup of butter-milk or unpasteurised milk and a handful of raw nuts or a couple of
tablespoons of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Mid-morning snack : One apple or a banana or any other fruit.
Lunch : A bowl of freshly prepared steamed vegetables using salt, vegetable oil and butter for
seasoning, one or two slices of whole grain bread or chappatis and a glass of butter-milk.
Mid-afternoon : A glass of fresh fruit or vegetable juice or any available fruit.
Dinner : A large bowl of fresh salad made up of green vegetables, such as tomatoes, carrot,
cabbage, cucumber, red beet and onion with lime juice dressing, any available sprouts such as
alfalfa seeds, and mung beans , a warm vegetable course, if desired, one tablespoon of fresh
butter, cottage cheese or a glass of butter-milk.
The above menu is a general outline around which an individual diet can be built. It can be
modified and changed to adopt to specific requirements and conditions. The menu for lunch and
dinner is interchangeable.
Do not drink liquids with meals. The water should be taken half an hour before meals or an hour
after meals. Milk, buttermilk, and vegetable soups are foods and can be taken with meals.

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