A balanced diet is one that provides the body with right fats, proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals and fibre required to maintain tissues, cells and organs as well as to function correctly. Without good nutrition, our body is more prone to disease, infection, fatigue, and pOor performance. Children with a poor diet run the risk of growth and developmental problems and poor academic performance. By eating the correct combination, and not too much or too little of anything, you will give your body the right fuel to grow, replenish, repair and strengthen.
The USDA reports that three of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States [Heart disease, Diabetes, Stroke] are directly influenced by diet.
How to Achieve a Balanced Diet?
To achieve a healthy, balanced diet, it is important to eat at least three meals a day and not to skip breakfast. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. By eating the correct combination, and not too much or too little of anything, you will give your body the right fuel to grow, replenish, repair and strengthen.
At the core of a balanced diet are foods that are low in unnecessary fats and sugars but high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. The following food groups are essential parts of a balanced diet.
Fruits are nature’s marvelous gift to the humankind; indeed, they are life-enhancing medicines packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and many phytonutrients (Plant-derived micronutrients). They are an absolute feast to our sight, not just because of their color and flavor but of their unique nutrient profile that helps the human body be fit, rejuvenate, and free of diseases!
Besides being a great source of nutrition, fruits make tasty snacks. Choose seasonal fruits. They’re fresher and provide the most nutrients.
Fun fact: Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple ketonic monosaccharide found in many plants, where it is often bonded to glucose to form the disaccharide sucrose.
Vegetables, like fruits, are low in calories and fats but contain good amounts of vitamins and minerals. All the Green-Yellow-Orange vegetables are rich sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin B-complex, vitamin-C, vitamin-A, and vitamin K.
As in fruits, vegetables too are home for many antioxidants. These health benefiting phyto-chemical compounds firstly; help protect the human body from oxidant stress, diseases, and cancers, and secondly; help the body develop the capacity to fight against these by boosting immunity.
Vegetables are primary sources of essential vitamins and minerals. Dark, leafy greens generally contain the most nutrition and can be eaten at every meal. A variety of vegetables will help you obtain the bountiful nutrients that all vegetables provide. Examples of dark leafy greens include:
- green beans
- collard greens
- Swiss chard
Fun Fact: Potatoes as a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin,dietary fiber, and pantothenic acid. Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity
According to the USDA, Americans consume refined white flour more than any other grain. Unfortunately, refined white flour contains poor nutritional value because the hull of the grain is removed during the refining process. The hull is the outer shell of the grain and is where the majority of the grain’s nutrition lies. Whole grains, however, are prepared using the entire grain, including the hull, so they provide much more nutrition. Try switching from white breads and pastas to whole-grain products.
Fun Fact: Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat and related grains, including barley, rye, oat, and all their species and hybrids. Gluten is appreciated for its viscoelastic properties
Meats and beans are primary sources of protein, which is essential for proper muscle and brain development. Lean, low-fat meats such as chicken, fish, and certain cuts of pork and beef are the best options. Removing the skin and trimming off any visible fat are easy ways to reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in meats. The health and diet of the animal are important and influence the fatty acid profile of the meat, so grass-fed choices are ideal.
Other good sources of protein, which contain many other health benefits, fiber and other nutrients, include nuts and beans, such as:
- sunflower seeds
Tofu, tempeh, and other soy-based products are excellent sources of protein and are healthy alternatives to meat.
Wellness and Nutrition experts, suggest “About 15 to 25% of your diet should consist of protein. This could be in the form of pulses, milk, leafy greens, eggs, white meat or sprouts.” I’d agree since protien is the main component of all of your body’s cells, as well as your hair, skin and soft tissues. Moreover, we burn more calories in digesting proteins than carbs.
Dr. Rupali Dutta, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis-Escorts Hospital highlights the issue of protein deficiency in our country and recommends that we should have one helping of protein with every meal, be it in any form like whole dals, cottage cheese or gram flour or 30 grams of pulses. A recent survey conducted by the Indian Market Research Bureau revealed that 9 out of 10 people of the sample consumed inadequate amount of protein.
All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods Group. Beans and peas are also part of the Vegetable Group.
Aside from adding certain foods to your diet, you should also reduce your consumption of certain substances in order to maintain a balanced diet and a healthy weight. These include:
- refined grains
- saturated fats
- trans fats
If you have questions about your diet or feel that you need to lose weight or change your eating habits, please visit us on www.muscleheadon.com We will suggest dietary changes that will help you get the nutrition you need while promoting your overall health.