Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments. A balanced diet is necessary for a healthy body.
Good nutrition creates health in every area of your existence. Hence, a balanced diet is essential for you, as what you put on your plate affects your overall health and wellbeing.
Let’s look closely at what constitutes a balanced diet and why it is vital for you.
What is a Balanced Diet?
A balanced diet consists of all the necessary nutrients, namely, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water in the right proportions, and promotes proper growth and development of your body.
A balanced diet is a nutritional diet containing foods from the five food groups, which are:
- Whole grains
- Protein foods (meat, eggs, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds)
- Milk and milk products
What is the importance of a balanced diet?
A balanced diet maintains your nutritional health and assists in the optimal functioning of your body in the following ways:
- It helps maintain a healthy weight and energy levels
- It strengthens your immune system and safeguards you from illnesses
- Aids in proper growth and development
- Protects you from lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and certain cancers
- Improves your fitness levels and helps you stay active, attentive, and productive.
In the absence of nutritional meals, you become prone to diseases caused by impaired immunity, fatigue, and lack of productivity.
Today, we share with you the six essentials for a balanced diet and how you can incorporate the various food groups through these diet essentials for a healthy lifestyle.
6 essentials for a Balanced Diet
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy. They comprise 60% of your diet and consist of fibres, starches, and sugars. Your body converts carbohydrates into glucose for energy. Choose the right carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates, such as fibres and starches, are found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They contain natural sugars and provide you with vital nutrients. They take longer to digest due to their fibre content and are less likely to cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Simple carbohydrates are sugars in refined foods, desserts, and soft drinks. These are broken down by the body quickly for energy and cause a surge in sugar levels.
Fats are also an important source of energy and an essential part of a balanced diet. There are two types of fats: saturated and unsaturated fats, of which unsaturated fats are the healthier option.
Healthy fats lower bad cholesterol (LDL), increase good cholesterol (HDL), control blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Fats also help the body absorb vitamins, protect organs, and promote cell growth.
Healthy fats are found in:
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts
- Seeds: Sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, flaxseeds
- Olives, avocados
- Fatty fish: Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines
- Soybean and tofu
3. Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals help carry out several important functions. They:
- Strengthen the immune system
- Aid in wound healing
- Fight infections
- Regulate hormones
- Help in the absorption of nutrients
- Keep the skin and bones healthy
- Support proper functioning of the heart, brain, eyes, nerves, and muscles
A diet lacking in vitamins and minerals can cause fatigue, painful joints and muscles, fragile bones, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
- Brightly coloured fruits
- Green leafy vegetables
- Whole grains
- Milk and milk products
- Fish, and meat (liver)
are rich sources of vitamins and minerals and a vital component of nutritional meals.
Proteins comprise amino acids, most of which we obtain from food. This nutrient plays many essential roles in the proper functioning of your body.
- Proteins help burn more calories
- Promote weight loss
- Increase muscle mass
- Maintain strong muscles
- Boost your metabolism
- Help the body repair after an injury
- Maintain bone health and lowers the risk of osteoporosis
Animal foods are major sources of proteins, while plant-based foods may lack certain essential amino acids. Therefore, you must include different protein-rich plant foods to gain all the necessary amino acids. Some popular options include
- Nuts and seeds
- Tofu and soya
Water is crucial for your survival! Here’s why it is vital for your wellness:
- Water helps in better digestion
- It flushes out toxins from your body
- It carries nutrients to every cell of your body
- It maintains blood pressure
- It regulates your body temperature
- It protects your joints, tissues, and organs
- Water keeps your skin and hair healthy and beautiful.
It is, therefore, important to stay hydrated throughout the day. However, each person’s requirement for water is different; hence, water intake must be based on your activity level, weight, and climate.
Follow these steps to increase your water intake:
- Eat more raw fruits and vegetables
- Opt for coconut water and fruit juices over sugary drinks
- Always carry a water bottle
While a nutritional diet provides all the necessary nutrients, supplements help enhance your overall health. Vegan supplements are a better option as they contain natural ingredients and thus pose no risks of allergies or side effects.
Vegan supplements like those offered at Origins Nutra are plant-based and lack synthetic chemicals and preservatives. They boost your immunity, relieve fatigue, and promote better health by providing essential vitamins and minerals.
Here are some simple food tips and wellness tips for a healthy lifestyle:
- Never skip your breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day.
- Include as many raw vegetables in your meals as possible.
- Eat until you are 80% full. So be mindful when eating. It helps in better digestion and leads to a gradual weight loss.
- Opt for healthy snacks, like fruits, dry fruits, nuts, and seeds, instead of junk food.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
- Allow one cheat day a week, as it is important to indulge your taste buds, too.
- Make physical activity a part of your daily schedule.
- Prioritise sleep over screen time.
- Take care of your mental health.
- Avoid sitting for long periods as it leads to excess fat around the waist, increased cholesterol and sugar levels, and high blood pressure.
- Avoid fad diets, as they do more harm than good.
- Opt for vegan supplements for a healthy immune system and overall wellbeing.