The Best Guide for Essential Elements and Adequate Diet

You may have heard the term of essential elements and wondered if they are carbohydrates, fat, protein and vitamins or something else. Well, they are something else. Essential elements are inorganic elements that are essential for normal vital processes of the body and they must be supplied by dietary sources. The important elements which are liable to deficiency in its supply are calcium, iron and iodine so let’s find out all the information you need to know about them and after that we will talk about how to make the perfect diet.

1. Calcium:
• Physiological role of calcium:
A. Maintain element of bone and teeth.
B. Normal clotting of blood.
C. Normal functions of motor nerves.
• Sources of Calcium:
Milk, cheese, egg yolk, fish, green vegetables and sesame.
• Clinical effects:
Deficiency of calcium leads to rickets, Tetany and osteomalacia.
• Recommended intake per day of calcium:
A. Pregnant women and lactating mothers: 1200 mg.
B. Adults: 800 mg.
• Factors affecting absorption of calcium:
A. Absorption is facilitated by gastric acidity, proteins and vitamin D.
B. Absorption is inhibited by phytic acid in cereals and bran and by oxalic acid in vegetables.

2. Iron:
About 70% of the total body iron is found in haemoglobin in healthy adults, 10% is found in tissues and enzyme and 20% as a storage iron in liver, spleen and bone marrow.
• Clinical effects:
Its deficiency lead to hypochromic microcytic anemia.
• Sources of iron:
A. Animal sources: organ meat as liver, heart and kidney, egg yolk and lean meat.
B. Plant sources: Nuts, molasses and green leafy vegetables.
• Recommended daily intake of iron:
A. Adult male: 10 mg.
B. adult female: 15 mg.
C. Pregnant woman: 30 mg.
• Factors enhancing iron absorption from the intestine:
1) Physiological requirements.
2) Quality of diet: more absorption with animal sources than plant sources.
3) Vitamin c facilitates absorption.
4) Gastric acidity increases absorption.
5) Phytic acid decreases absorption.
• Therapeutic uses of iron: iron is used in iron deficiency anemia.

3. Iodine:
The physiological role of iodine is that it is essential component of thyroid hormones which regulate metabolism.
• Sources of iodine:
A. Vegetable and fruits grown on iodine rich soil.
B. Fish.
C. Iodized salt.
• Clinical effects:
A. Iodine deficiency leads to goitre, cretinism, spontaneous abortion and still birth.
B. Excess iodine leads to either hypo-thyroidism or hyper-thyroidism.
• The Recommended iodine intake per day for adults is 150 UG. This amount should increase with physiological stress like puberty, pregnancy and lactation.
• Therapeutic uses of iodine: Goitre and cretinism.

4. Adequate diet:
It is a mixture of food stuffs properly selected and prepared to satisfy nutritional requirements. The food and Nutrition Broad of the National Research Council has given the dietary standards which are universally accepted and referred for planning or evaluating diets and represent the nutritional requirements for man.

The basic food groups include 3 groups:
1) Body Building foods:
A. Milk group: milk and milk products provide high biological value protein, calcium, phosphors and riboflavin.
B. Meat group: includes meat, eggs, beans and the group provides protein, phosphorus, iron and B complex.
2) Energy supplying foods like bread and cereals which supply carbohydrates, cellulose, iron and the B vitamins.
3) Vitality foods: Vegetables and fruits.
This is how to construct an adequate diet under different social, economic and health conditions.


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