Increasing the Micro-Nutrient density of food
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance. Do we know the RDA of Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K and minerals Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Selenium etc.. All the cells of our body need these micro-nutrients to function. Now let’s look at the food plan of an average South Indian Mr.Raj (fictitious name):
Early morning 7 am – after a 10 hour fast Raj’s body is primed up for some good stuff. Filter Coffee is the apt stuff to have in the morning. Nutrition facts of Coffee – It provides 1% of RDA of Potassium. Wow what a start to becoming Nutrient rich. Added to this he has 2 teaspoons of empty calories, sugar. Raj’s liver breaks down all this stuff hopefully looking for some nutrients which the cells of his body require. Alas! In vain. He has started the day by having crap.
Breakfast 9am – Now Raj’s nutrient deficient body sends out hunger signals. He screams at his wife demanding a sumptuous breakfast. His diligent wife (as all Indian women are) makes Pongal, vada and spicy chutney. This calorie rich pongal gives him 40 % of his Vitamin A, 37 % of his Calcium and Iron too. The vada provides him with another dose of Vit A, C, Calcium and Iron for which Raj has to endure about 2000 calories.
Mid morning 11 am – Raj’s stomach starts grumbling again, his body sends signals demanding Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Biotin, Folic acid, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, B6, B12 etc…etc…Pongal and vada would not suffice. Now Raj takes a cup of tea (2 teaspoons of sugar please) with 2 yummy glucose biscuits. Nutritional facts – Vitamins 0, Minerals 0, Calories 300. Now his body is in distress mode. SOS….HELP…..this is an emergency. Raj’s cells need to survive.
Lunch 2 pm – Raj plunges into sambar rice, packs in another 500 calories, gets little bit of Sodium in the bargain. Hoping to make up for the lost nutrients, he ravenously gorges on fried potatoes. This 200 gms of potatoes fetches him another 600 calories and 20% of his Vitamin B 6 RDA, Magnesium 8% RDA and 15% of his dietary fibre (to make it convenient for him the next morning). No signs of Zinc or Riboflavin or B 12 yet and more than 3500 calories have gone into his body in the bargain.
Evening 5 pm – Raj’s body is in frustration mode. Give me my stuff or I am not going to move out of this place. Raj obeys his body’s dictate and pours in a cupful of tea (never forget the 2 teaspoons of sugar) and 4 delicious pieces of bajjis. Only a nitwit would look for nutrients in bajjis but the ominous bajji does some good stuff. It gives Raj 6% of his dietary fibre (making it even more convenient for the next day). In the bargain Raj has pumped in another 500 calories.
Dinner 8 pm – Raj’s flabbergasted body starts sending out distress signals. Fortunately he decides not to go on an outing with his friends and devoids himself of Somrasas and others delicacies. He has to put up with the less ominous dosas before he calls it a day. And what do you expect out of this innocuous dosa accompanied by sambar. A little more dietary fibre, that’s it. Sambar does come to the rescue, fortifying the body with a little more iron.
Dear friends, I do agree that there can be variation in this diet but isn’t this the norm? 4000 calories of almost nutrient empty food . What can Raj expect out of this – a six pack toned muscle body? Do you expect him to build stamina and win endurance races? Perhaps he could compete with Sivakarthikeyan in Ethir Neechal.
“The bigger your waistline, the shorter your lifeline” .
Formula for the day:
GOOD HEALTH = MORE NUTRIENTS / LESS CALORIES
OBESITY & DISEASE = LESS NUTRIENTS / MORE CALORIES
Mathematicians can unravel this formula and derive a scale or an index for health.