This hand book provides detailed information on the nutrient composition of a wide range of common Indian foods available in different parts of India. It also includes a write-up on the basic aspects of human nutrition. The nutrient composition covers 600 foods, both familiar and less familiar. Only those foods with confirmed scientific names have been included. Besides English, names of the foods in several Indian languages are also given for easy identification by the user. The data on nutrient composition of foods given in this book are entirely based on Indian work, mostly carried out at the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, and other research Institutes and University laboratories.
An attempt has been made to give a simple account of current concepts of nutritional principles, nutritional chemistry of major food groups and nutritional deficiency diseases, prevalent in the country. This book should be useful to the lay public as well as to the health professionals. Uptodate information on nutritional requirement and Recommended Dietary Allowances and Guidelines for formulation of nutritionally adequate diets are also given, for the benefit of professionals and informed public.
Information on nutritive value of Indian foods was published in 1937 by Dr. W.R. Aykroyd. This booklet, popularly known as Health Bulletin No.23, underwent many revisions and was widely used both by the professionals and the common man. It was revised in 1971 by Drs. Gopalan, Rama Sastri and Balasubramanian and published under the title "Nutritive Value of Indian Foods" and reprinted several times. In view of newer information that had accumulated over the years on the nutritional composition of Indian foods and to overcome some of the short-comings of earlier editions, it was felt necessary to revise and update the information. The revised edition, besides data on trace elements, non-nutrient component of several foods, corrected values for nutrient content of foods (specially iron content), contains data on dietary fibre. In light of new data, information on total, insoluble and soluble dietary fibre contributed by Drs. P. Ramulu and P. Udayasekhara Rao is presented in a separate table. Also the write-up on dietary fibre in non- nutrient components of foods is modified and elaborated. The data on fat and fatty acid composition of Indian foods contributed by Dr. Ghafoorunissa are included in a separate table.
It is hoped that this publication will continue to be popular with nutritionists, planners, medical and health professionals and general public. The data presented can be used for computing the nutritive value of diets, for formulating nutritionally adequate and therapeutic diets and for planning food production on sound nutrition principles.
Life cannot be sustained without adequate nourishment. Man needs adequate food for growth, development and to lead an active and healthy life. Plants can manufacture the foods they need from simple chemicals derived from the soil, water and carbondioxide of the air. Higher organisms on the other hand do not possess this capacity to manufacture food from simple chemicals and hence they depend on plants or other animals for obtaining the food they need. Procuring enough food for its survival is the main aim of the life's struggle in all the higher organisms.
Animal satisfies basic food requirement mainly through natural selection, man however, has access to a wide range of foods to chose to make up his diet. Since all foods are not of the same quality from a nutritional point of view, man's ability to meet his nutritional needs and maintain good health depends upon the type and quantity of foodstuffs he is able to include in his diet to satisfy his hunger.
Dietary habits of population in different regions of the world have been determined mainly by the availability of foods locally and local practices. Man has evolved his habitual dietary pattern to maintain good health, perhaps after a good deal of trial and error. Satisfaction of hunger is usually the primary criteria for adequate food intake. But, satisfaction of hunger itself is not a safe guide for the selection of proper foods. For sustaining healthy and active life, diets should be planned on sound nutritional principles.
A brief outline of general principles and considerations that govern the planning of satisfactory diets are given in the following pages. In the section dealing with dietary principles, information is given on the importance of various nutritional constituents that are present in foodstuffs. Besides major nutrients, information on trace elements, essential fatty acid content are also included. Brief description of non-nutritional constituents of foods which are known to have some health implications are also given.
The currently recommended dietary allowances of various nutrients for different groups of people by nutrition experts are discussed in the next section. A table giving the latest RDA for Indians is included in the appendix. In order to use these recommendations, guidelines are suggested for planning nutritionally satisfactory diets for persons belonging to different age and sex. With the prevailing diet patterns, large segments of Indians are known to be deficient in one or more important nutrients and therefore hints on improving the quality of the current dietaries are also given.
Next, available information on major foods and food groups which form part of Indian dietaries, their nature, chemical composition and nutrients contributed by them and their importance in our diets is discussed.
Available information on the composition of Indian foods is given in Tables that follow the text. These tables have been considerably improved over the earlier editions by including new data on trace elements and non-nutrient composition of foods. The content of all tables have been extensively edited to eliminate errors and redundant entries etc. All familiar and commonly used foods are grouped together while data on less familiar and infrequently used foods are given separately.
Major nutritional deficiencies prevailing in the population and their health implications are briefly discussed. Apart from identifying the dietary basis of these deficiencies in the population, other environmental factors which contribute to the prevalence of nutritional deficiencies are indicated. Various intervention measures to prevent these deficiencies are also discussed. The point is made that the vulnerable groups among whom nutritional deficiencies occur more frequently and to more severe degree, require special attention and care.
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