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Importance of Health and Hygiene

Biology | 7-14 yrs | Interactive, Learning Pod

What is Health?

Health as scientists describe is a state of complete well being both physically and mentally. A healthy person is one whose mind and body are completely fit. Hygiene refers to habits or practices that ensure good health and a clean environment.

We consume a variety of foods everyday. Food is necessary for all living things. Plants and animals both need food to grow. Plants make their own food whereas animals depend on others for their supply of food. We all begin our day with a good breakfast and have at least two more big meals in the day – lunch and dinner.

Where does food come from?

The food we eat comes from plants and animals. Different parts of the plant are eaten by us as food. We eat the leaves of some plants like spinach, seeds of some plants like corn, flowers of some plants like broccoli, stems of some plants like potato and roots of some plants like carrots. Food from animals are eggs, milk and milk products like butter, ghee etc, We also eat the flesh of some animals like chicken, fish, goat etc. The food that we eat can be thus divided into five types based on their usefulness to our body These types of food provide energy, build our body, protect it from diseases and keep us healthy and strong.

Components of Food:

The five types or components of food are:

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Fats
  3. Proteins
  4. Vitamins
  5. Minerals

What are Carbohydrates?

  • Carbohydrates are also known as energy giving foods.
  • We need energy to do our daily activities like running, walking, cycling etc.
  • Carbohydrate rich foods are potatoes, bananas, corn, sugar, cereals etc.

What is Fats?

  • Like carbohydrates, fats are also considered as energy giving foods. Excess or extra carbohydrates are changed and stored as fat in our bodies.
  • Foods rich in fats are meat, ghee, vegetable oil, milk, butter, cheese, dry fruits.
  • Although fatty foods are necessary for the body but an excessive intake of these foods leads to weight problems like obesity leading to heart problems.

What is Proteins?

  • Protein rich foods are those foods that help in the growth and repair of muscles and tissues in our body. This is one of the most important food groups. It builds muscles and repairs worn out tissues in our body.
  • Foods rich in proteins are milk, chicken, eggs, fish, soya bean etc.
  • Now, can you tell me if a coolie or a porter should eat the same diet as an office going person who does a desk job?
  • No, a coolie has to do a lot of physical work everyday. He carries heavy luggage for which he needs a lot of energy and so his diet should be rich in carbohydrates, which are energy giving foods. An office person sits at his desk all day and hardly does any physical activity hence he needs foods rich in proteins which are body building and tissue repairing foods.

Vitamins and Minerals

  • These are foods that are needed in small quantities by the body to keep our body healthy, help in normal functioning of the body and protect it from diseases.
  • There are 13 important vitamins needed by our body.
  • Besides performing the above functions, minerals also help in strengthening the bones and maintaining a normal heart-beat.
  • Important minerals that our body needs are iron, calcium, phosphorus and iodine.
  • Foods rich in minerals are fruits, eggs, milk and vegetables.

Why should certain fruits and vegetables like tomatoes carrots, cucumbers be eaten raw?
This is because cooking of these vegetables leads to loss of some essential vitamins present in them.

Water and Roughage

  • Our body is mostly made up of water and this is the reason why water is very important for us.
  • We need to replenish the water we lose from our body through our sweat and urine by increasing our intake of water.
  • We must drink atleast 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Certain fruits and vegetables contain water in them.
  • Water helps in flushing out the toxins in our body and keeping our body clean and healthy.
  • Roughage is the fibre present in food, it is that part of the food which is not digested by our system and helps in eliminating waste materials from our body.
  • Roughage is necessary to stimulate digestive juices in our body and thus help in digesting food.

Balanced Diet

  • When we eat any meal, we do not eat only one component of food in it. What we eat is a meal that has a little of all five components which are necessary for us and perform different functions for our body.
  • As the name suggests a balanced diet is a diet which contains the right or adequate amounts of different components of food which are required for the normal functioning of our body.
  • Eating a balanced diet ensures proper growth and development of our body, gives us energy and also protects us from diseases, as it contains all the components of foods mentioned above.


  • Just eating away is not going to keep us healthy. Imagine if we were to eat all day without doing any physical activity like running, walking, swimming cycling etc. Our body would become lethargic and our growth would get affected.
  • So, like it is necessary to eat healthy and the right kinds of food, it is also necessary to exercise so that we are able to digest the food we have eaten.
  • Regular exercise improves blood circulation in our body.
  • Yoga is an ancient system of exercise that has been practiced in India. Yoga improves our posture and keeps us healthy and fit. It keeps us calm and wards away many diseases.
  • Playing outdoor games like football, basketball, cricket etc is also considered as exercise.

What is Hygiene?

Hygiene is nothing but maintaining cleanliness through good habits and practices. Good hygiene prevents various diseases from spreading.

Steps to maintain a good Hygiene

  • Have a bath daily. Dust particles stick to our body when we play or sweat. These dust particles attract disease causing germs. Bathing daily keeps these germs away.
  • Wash your hands before and after every meal. When we play, the germs present in soil and mud get transferred to our hands and can enter our body causing illnesses.
  • Take care of our teeth, brush twice a day and floss regularly to remove food particles that are trapped or stuck between our teeth and are hard to remove.
  • Trim your nails regularly.
  • Keep hair clean and lice free.
  • Take good care of your eyes and ears. Avoid reading in bad light and wash your eyes with cold water regularly.
  • Keep our surroundings clean always. Throw garbage in dustbins, do not collect water in drums and buckets as water is the breeding ground for mosquitoes which can cause diseases.
  • A recipe for a fruit salad can be inserted.
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