Good Food Items
Food Items – Pulses
A variety of grams are included under the term ‘pulses’ and cooked grams called ‘dhals’ are a common item of diet in Bangladesh. All varieties of dhal e.g., mung, masuri, mash kalai, chhola, orator, khesari contain 20 to 25 percent of protein, much more than that in eggs, fish and meat. But dhal protein is unable to provide the •essential amino acid methionine and to a lesser extent cystein while the lysine content of dhal is comparatively higher. Soyabean in exceptionally rich in protein and contains 43.2g protein in 100g providing 430 kcal energy. The anti-nutritional factors. phytates and tannin found in raw pulses are destroyed by heat while cooking. Boiled rice and cooked gram/pulses, together called ‘dhal bhat’ is much more nutritive than when taken separately at a separate time as each of them compensate` the deficiency of the other so far as amino-acid output is concerned. This dietary strategy is called ‘mutual supplementation’.
Food Item- Vegetables
Vegetables are valuable items of diet specially because of their high vitamin and mineral content. Green leafy vegetables, like palang (spinach), cabbage, amaranth, methi, lal sak and datan are rich sources of water-soluble vitamins possibly excepting vitamin B12. Besides, they provide ‘fiber’ which is not digested, retains water. A high fiber diet also reduces the risk of colon cancer and binds with certain substances that would normally result in the production of cholesterol. Roots and tuber types of vegetables, e.g., potato, sweet potato, tapioca, carrots are good sources of carbohydrate; carrots are rich in beta-carotene, cluster beans and drumsticks provide a significant amount of iron requirement. Other vegetables—neither leafy nor roots or tubers – e.g., cauliflower, brinjal, tomatoes, etc. add variety to the diet.
Fruits are not only relishing food items but because of their richness in vitamin, minerals and fiber content finds a reputed place in human nutrition. They contain more vitamins and enzymes when they are at the peak of the ripeness and gradually lose these nutrients during storage. Fruits can be taken raw and fresh. Dry fruits like dates and raisins are good sources of iron and calcium. Like vegetables, the most healthful fruits are those that have been grown stimulating chemicals. Fruits (and vegetables) not produced organically need to be washed more thoroughly before eating.
Food Item- Cooking oils and fats
Cooking food and making them palatable needs the use of oils and fats. Oils are nothing but fats which are liquid at room temperature. Being fats all cooking oils and fats used in cooking are good sources of energy and fat-soluble vitamins. In Bangladesh, the common cooking media is soyabean oil which contains polyunsaturated fatty acids which may actually lower blood cholesterol level. Other polyunsaturated cooking oils are corn oil and sunflower oil. However, their inclusion in daily diet should not exceed 10 percent of total calorie intake. Butter, cream, coconut oil, palm oil and artificially hydrogenated vegetable oils—all are rich in saturated fatty acids and they raise the blood cholesterol level, and especially the level of low density of lipoproteins (LDLs). For these reasons their use and that of mustard oil is not recommended as cooking media. Monounsaturated fatty acids are mostly .found in vegetable oils (unhydrogenated) and nut oils, such as peanut, olive and canola oils. These oils appear to reduce blood levels of LDLs without affecting HDLs in any way. Intake of monounsaturated fats should be kept between 10 and 15 percent of total calorie intake.
The human body is 2/3 water. Water is an essential nutrient that is involved in every function of the body. It helps transport nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. It is necessary for all digestive, absorption, circulating and excretory functions, as well as for the utilization of water-soluble vitamins. It is also necessary for the maintenance of proper body temperature. At least 8 glasses of water should be used for drinking purposes daily and it should be uncontaminated and clean.
Miscellaneous Food Items
Sugar and molasses. Sugar and molasses (gur) are produced from sugar cane in our country; sugar elsewhere is also produced from beet. Refined sugar is 100 percent sucrose, while ‘gur contains also vitamins and minerals.
Honey. Derived from bee, honey consists of about 75 percent sugars—mostly fructose and glucose.
Coffee. Coffee contains 0.6-2.0% caffeine and a little of volatile oils and tannic acid. Coffee as a drink with a pleasant aroma possesses stimulating action on nervous system.
Tea. Green tea and black tea—both have astringent properties and contain caffeine (2.6%), tannic acid (6-12%), theophylline in traces and also essential volatile oils (5%).
Soft drinks. Apart from fruit juices, most other soft drinks are carbonated while a few may not The main ingredients of soft drinks are carbon dioxide, sugars, citric acid or tartaric acid, colouring and flavoring agents. Fruit squashes need to be diluted with water before consumption.
Alcoholic beverages. These are beer, whisky, rum, gin, and brandy. The alcoholic content of these beverages varies from 5 to 6 percent in beers to 40 to 45 percent in whisky, rum, gin, and brandy. Alcohol supplies about 7 kcal per gram.
There are at least 30 species of worms, protozoa, bacteria, viruses and others which may gain access to food and so enter the body and cause well-defined diseases.
Faeco-oral diseases are very common in Bangladesh. They spread by the transfer of pathogens from faeces and urine to foods or utensils. Dysenteries and acute gastroenteritis, especially by Escherichia colt, are wide-spread. Healthy carriers of food-borne diseases are particularly dangerous.
Over 1600 serotypes, of Salmonella typhi murium is the most common pathogen responsible for over 70 percent of reported cases of food poisoning. Incubation period is usually 12 to 36 hours and the disease lasts for 1 to 7 days. being nearly always accompanied by fever.
Ingestion of food contaminated with Staphylococus aureus is folfolowed very quickly in 2 to 4 hours by vomiting and diarrhoea, which may be severe and accompanied by collapse due to dehydration. This is due to a powerful enterotoxin which is heat resistant.
A fatal condition could be botulism caused by Clostridium botulinum. This is a saprophyte forming bacteria, producing heat-resistant spores in an anaerobic condition. Lethal dose is less than 1mg/kg and acts by blocking transmission at the neuromuscular junctions. The weakness of the eyes is followed by paralysis of the muscles of respiration leading to death.