What are the essentials to a balanced diet?
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Eating health is essentially adhering to a balanced diet. It means including a wide variety of foods in the correct proportions in your diet. According to studies most of us eat more than we actually require and need to take steps to reduce our food intake. Not just the food that you eat, but also some drinks can be very high in calories, especially those that contain a lot of sugar. There are five different groups of foods that we eat – fruits and vegetables, starchy foods, meat, fish eggs and beans, milk and dairy foods and fats and sugar. Let us look at how these foods contribute to our body.
Fruits and vegetables
They are one of the main sources of vitamins and minerals. It is important to eat 5 portions of different fruits and vegetables every day. This will reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer. You can have a banana with your breakfast in the morning and substitute your mid morning biscuit with a tangerine. Also add a side salad to the lunch and a portion of vegetables to the dinner. Also make it a point to snack on dried fruits in the evening.
These are the foods like bread, pasta, rice cereals etc. and are important for a healthy diet. They provide energy to the body and also a large number of nutrients. You should make up one third of what you eat of starchy foods. It is advisable to choose whole grain like brown rice, whole wheat bread etc. This is because they contain more fiber and also more vitamins and minerals as compared to the refined varieties.
Meat, fish, eggs and beans
These are all necessary for the protein we require which is necessary for the growth and repair of the body. They also provide a lot of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc and vitamin B complex. It is advisable to opt for lean meat to cut down on fat and cook the meat properly to avoid food poisoning. It is important to include fish in our diet because it not just provides proteins but also omega 3 fatty acids.
Milk and dairy foods
Milk and dairy foods like cheese, and yoghurt contain a large amount of protein. They also are rich in calcium which is necessary for the health of the bones. You should use skimmed or semi skimmed milk and lower fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese and low fat yoghurt to cut out the fat.
Fats and sugar
They are both sources of energy for the body but eating too much of them means that we consume more energy than we can burn and this can cause us to put on weight. This in turn can cause diabetes, some cancers, heart disease and stroke.
Of course it is very difficult to eat a completely balanced diet and this is why we have to rely on dietary and nutritional supplements. To know more about these you can click here.