Nutrition is the biochemical and physiological process by which an organism uses food to support its life. In simple terms, it is the process of taking in nutrients from the foods we eat, to stay healthy and alive. According to WHO, Nutrition is “a critical part of health and development. Better nutrition is related to improved infant, child and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease), and longevity.” Hence, it is extremely crucial for each and everyone to have the proper nutrition by eating a healthy and balanced diet to ensure they are healthy and not malnourished. And it is this extreme importance of proper nutrition that started India’s National Nutrition Week in the first place, which we will be discussing in detail.
What is Nutrition Week and Why is it celebrated?
Celebrated on the first week of September, National Nutrition Week is an annual nutrition event organized by the Food and Nutrition Board under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, to highlight the importance and function of the right nutrition for the human body. It is celebrated with an objective to bring awareness on the importance of nutrition for better health, which has been known to have an impact on development, productivity, economic growth and ultimately national development.
Importance of Nutrition Week
Malnutrition, in every form, presents significant threats to human health. Today the world faces a major burden of malnutrition that includes both undernutrition and overweight, especially in low- and middle-income countries, including India. With a high population and high poverty rate, many people in India are suffering from undernutrition or extreme malnourishment. Likewise, there are also many cases of overnutrition, where people eats more calories than their body requires, leading to overweight and obesity. A balanced diet with a composition of essential nutrients is important for the smooth working and growth of the human body. And it is the aim of this initiative to bring about a positive change in this area and promote a better and healthier India through proper diet and nutrition. It is also through this initiative that the government aims to support its population with adequate nutrition so that they become more productive, creating opportunities to gradually break the cycles of poverty and hunger.
Government of India’s plans to make India healthy
Several initiatives have been taken by the government of India focusing on nutrition, good food, healthy body, mind, and lifestyle. For that, ‘POSHAN Abhiyaan or Nation Nutrition Mission’ was launched in the year 2018 by the Prime Minister of India with the vision of attaining a malnutrition-free India by the year 2022. This mission aims to reduce stunting in identified remote districts of India where malnutrition levels are at their highest, through the help of Anganwadi workers and services. It is also the mission’s aim to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children.
Apart from this, “Agricultural Fund of India” is also being created by the government of India, which will consist of information related to crops that are grown in each district and their related nutritional value. Additionally, seminars, camps and other initiatives have also been organized to offer proper knowledge and education to every citizen of the country, especially children to make sure they grow better without any nutritional problems.
The importance of proper nutrition
With Nutrition Week upon us, it is an opportunity to educate ourselves and learn more about the importance of good nutrition so that we may lower our risks of developing diseases and ensure a long, healthy life. People who are known to regularly eat more foods high in fats, energy, added sugars or salt and do not eat enough fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods like whole grains are known to be more likely to develop chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Therefore, it is important to eat healthy foods, rich in all nutrients to ensure that no deficiencies or hormonal imbalances are created in the body.
Now that we know what good nutrition does to our health, it is also important to know that every good food and liquid contains some important nutrition, playing different roles to keep our body healthy and build new cells in our body. Below are the important nutrition and their roles in our body:
1.Protein: Protein helps us build muscles and a strong immune system. It also helps hormone and enzymes formation, which play a variety of roles in our body, including metabolism ad sexual development.
2.Carbohydrates: It is the nutrition that gives us energy. It helps our body to supply the energy for the formation of cellular components.
3.Fats: Fat also provides us with an extra boost of energy necessary for our body functioning. It protects our body from a sudden temperature change and also protects our vital organs.
4.Vitamins: It is an organic compound that helps regulate our body processes and also plays an important role to ensure our body functions properly. We also need vitamins to grow and develop normally.
5.Fibre: It helps produce bowel regularity in a child. It can also play a role in reducing the chances of heart disease and cancer later in life.
6.Minerals: Minerals aid our body processes and also help us in making body tissues. They help strengthen our immune system.
7.Water: Water is one of the most important nutrients for our body. It gives cells in our body their shapes and acts as a medium where body processes can occur. It also helps maintain temperature and aids to carry away the body's waste products.
Nutrition made Simple, Healthy and Natural
Now that we know the importance of proper nutrition, as well as the different essential nutrients present in our foods to help us maintain health and longevity, it is crucial we take good care of our health and ensure all the essential nutrients are present in our daily diet. We should be mindful of the foods we eat, or do not eat as it is through proper nutrition we can help improve not just our physical health but our mental health as well.
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Proper nutrition is the key to improving health and wellness. It is important to teach our children the importance of proper nutrition, starting from the different types of nutrients needed for a healthy body, as well as teaching and promoting healthy eating habits to make sure they remain healthy. It is from one healthy person that a nation can only grow to become a healthy nation as a whole. Hence, starting right from the beginning is key!