What is the importance of a balanced diet and nutrition for your health? A balanced and nutritious diet refers to a variety of foods but with portion control.
“WHEN DIET IS WRONG, MEDICINE IS OF NO USE. WHEN DIET IS CORRECT, MEDICINE IS OF NO NEED.”
– AYURVEDIC PROVERB
What is a Balanced diet?
A diet that contains adequate amounts of all necessary nutrients required for healthy growth and daily activities. A balanced diet should be both sufficient and wholesome.
Types of nutrients:
Nutrients are compounds in foods essential to life and health, providing energy, the building blocks for repair and growth, and substances necessary to regulate chemical processes. Different types of nutrients and their functions regulate different body functions.
What is the different type of nutrients?
What is carbohydrates? Carbohydrates function is to provide energy and regulation of blood glucose. They provide you with energy for daily tasks and are the primary fuel source for your brain’s high energy demands It prevent the breakdown of proteins for energy. The brain uses 20–25% of a person’s glucose when they are at rest and is reliant on a constant supply.
There are three types of carbohydrates ;
- Starch – also called complex carbohydrate
- Fiber – also called complex carbohydrate
- Sugars- also called simple carbohydrate
Without carbohydrate foods include; eggs, fish, meat, cheese, oils, butter, water, and plain tea or coffee.
High carbohydrate foods include spaghetti, bakery items like cookies, buns. bread, potatoes, soft drinks etc.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories.
What is Protein? Protein is important for the growth and repair of body cells. Food with protein list include meat, fish, dairy, lentils, beans, and tofu. Insufficient protein can lead to low growth and a weakened immune system. Excess protein may lead to weight gain and liver problems.
Point to remember is all proteins are not enzymes but all enzymes are protein.
The World Health Organization (WHO) sets the Safe Level of Protein (SLP) intake at 0.83 g per kilogram per day.
about 12 to 20 percent of your total daily calories
What is fats? Dietary fats are needed for insulation and protecting vital organs. Dietary fats increase the bioavailability of fat-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals. Dietary fats satisfy our appetite because they satisfy our desire for flavor. Dietary fats provide essential fatty acids.
There are three types of fats;
- Saturated fats
- Mono-unsaturated fats
- Poly-unsaturated fats
Foods with healthy fat include oil, nuts, meat, fish, butter and some dairy products.
The dietary reference intake (DRI) for fat in adults is 20% to 35% of total calories from fat.
Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients because acting in concert, they perform hundreds of roles in the body. They help shore up bones, heal wounds, and bolster your immune system. They also convert food into energy and repair cellular damage.
Vitamins are classifies into types;
- Fat soluble vitamins include Vitamin A, D, E, K.
- Water soluble vitamins Include all other vitamins except above mentioned fat soluble vitamins.
Minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many different functions from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat.
Fiber as a nutrient:
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Fiber is mainly a carbohydrate. The main role of fiber is to keep the digestive system healthy. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.
Getting enough fiber is important for your health. It can reduce constipation and help with weight loss and maintenance. It may also lower cholesterol levels, as well as your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Some types of fiber are prebiotic, meaning they promote healthy gut bacteria.
According to the American Heart Association, the daily value of fiber is 25 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet for adults. women under 50: 21 to 25 grams per day and men under 50: 30 to 38 grams per day. Children between ages 1 and 18 should eat 14 to 31 grams of fiber per day, depending on their age and sex.
Importance of water as a nutrient:
Getting enough water every day is important for your health. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones. Water is also required for digestion, absorption, transportation, dissolving nutrients, elimination of waste products, and thermoregulation.
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men.
About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
Putting it all together:
A healthy diet will combine all the nutrients and food groups mentioned above, but you need to balance them, too. A handy way to remember how much of each food group to eat is the plate method. The USDA’s “ChooseMyPlate” initiative recommends:
Filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
Filling just over one-quarter with grains
Filling just under one quarter with protein foods adding dairy on the side (or a nondairy replacement)
But individual needs will vary, so the USDA also provides an interactive tool, “My Plate Plan” where you can enter your own details to find out your personal needs.
Foods to avoid:
. Foods to avoid or limit on a healthy diet include:
. highly processed foods
. refined grains
. added sugar and salt
. red and processed meat
. trans fats
What’s healthy for one person may not be suitable for another. Whole wheat flour can be a healthy ingredient for many people but isn’t suitable for those with gluten intolerance. A balanced diet and nutrition junk food make no sense. If you are a healthy person, try to have it occasionally and in portion control. This helps you to maintain your calories under control.
Why a balanced diet is important:
A balanced diet supplies the nutrients your body needs to work effectively. Without balanced nutrition, your body is more prone to disease, infection, fatigue, and low performance. Children who don’t get enough healthy foods may face growth and developmental problems, poor academic performance, and frequent infections. They can also develop unhealthy eating habits that may persist into adulthood. Without exercise, they’ll also have a higher risk of obesity and various diseases that make up metabolic syndrome, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, 4 of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are directly linked to diet. These are: heart disease, cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes.
Healthy eating tips:
Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
Eat less salt: no more than 6g a day for adults
Get active and be a healthy weight
Do not skip breakfast
Drink Plenty of Water
Sleep Eight Hours a Day
Tips for a healthy diet:
A well-balanced diet includes food from all food groups in balanced quantity.
Engage in regular physical exercise, at least 3o min/day.
Positive approach towards people and life.
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