In the practice on Nature-cure it is equally necessary to keep the body well-nourished. For adequate nourishment the digestive system should be normal. Accordingly we proceed with knowledge of the fundamental elements of the digestive system.
In describing this we have tried to be simple in description, so that the reader may grasp the essentials easily.
The body needs food to get energy for keeping its organs and tissue alive and working. The contents of a normal diet or food should best be in the ratio of 80:20 (approximately), between the alkaline and the acidic foods.
Such foods as contain a major share of green vegetables and fruits and lesser of starch, as in cereals, are considered to be a BALANCED DIET. Refined foods like white sugar, white bread, polished rice, boiled potatoes, animal fat, like ghee, and foods prepared in boiled water and fats, as also spices, jams, etc. are acidic foods, while the alkaline foods are green vegetables and fruits, unhusked wheat, unpolished rice, brown sugar, or jaggery (gur), unskinned potatoes which are not acidic and mostly alkaline.
Food gives us energy and energy is derived from food in the body by a process called METABOLISM, which is carried out in two phases or stages. In the first stage, energy from food is released, when complex molecules of food are broken down (decomposed) into simpler ones, also called a destructive process.
In the second stage, simpler food components of food are oxidised (a synthetic process) by using oxygen received from air by respiration. While oxygen is breathed in, carbon dioxide is breathed out.
In these two processes of METABOLISM, ample amount of energy is released by food, that is, in the first process of destruction involving breakdown of food molecules and in the second process of synthesis i.e. that of oxidation using oxygen in the process.
Thus food, in the process of absorption in the body, yields materials in the tissues for the production of energy, as well as for the growth and repair of tissues and the regulation of life’s processes in the body.
Foods must contain nutrients, that is, substances usable naturally by the body organism. On the basis of their functions these nutrients are divided into three categories:
1. The energy-yielding foods—Carbohydrates and fats;
2. The body-building foods—Proteins and minerals; and
3. The regulators (regulating foods)—Vitamins and Minerals.
NUTRITION, as described above, is the process so as to consume all these three categories, or types of food. Nutrition is done by different organs in different ways of taking, or consuming the food, which constitutes, as we call, the METABOLIC activity.