A diet should be balanced to ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs daily to be healthy. The key to long life is a nutritious diet from childhood to adulthood.
With poor nutrition, your body’s tissues and organs will not function properly, and open you to an array of diseases.
Children with a poor diet run the risk of lackluster performance in school, as well as growth and developmental problems. They are also at risk for obesity, which is another cause of health problems altogether.
Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer are all directly influenced by diet. And these are concerns we all want to avoid.
So, how do we achieve a balanced diet in our daily lives?
Food that are low in fat and sugar yet high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are at the very core of a balanced diet. While keeping this in mind, here are the essential food groups that one must eat to have a balanced diet:
Fruits have zero cholesterol, and most fruits are low in fat, sodium, and calories. They are a delicious and refreshing source of essential nutrients like potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid and vitamin C.
Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. How it is cooked matters — as sauces and seasonings may add cholesterol and calories — but for the most part, veggies by themselves have no cholesterol.
Vegetables are an essential source of vitamins and minerals including potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamins A and C. And if you’re wondering which veggies are the most nutritious of ‘em all, dark, leafy greens like kale, green beans, broccoli, and spinach are the winners in this department. So, pull a Popeye and chow down that spinach!
Essential for muscle and brain development, meats and beans are primary sources of protein. Lean beef and certain cuts of pork that’s low in fat, along with chicken and fish are your best options. Doing away with the skin and fat is the easiest way to reduce cholesterol in meats.
For vegetarians, tofu and other soy-based food are an awesome and delicious alternative to meat products.
Other great sources of protein include nuts and beans such as lentils, peas, sunflower seeds, almonds and walnuts.
Refined white flour is consumed more than any other type of grain. Unfortunately, this contains less nutritional value because the hull of the grain — where most of its nutrition is found — is removed during the refining process. Hence, whole grains, which include the hull, is exponentially more healthy to eat. Switching from white bread and pastas to whole grain products is an easy way to guarantee you get more nutrients from your grains.
Dairy product like butter, margarine, milk or cheese are delicious and full of nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. Unfortunately, they are also major sources of fat, so it’s wise to stick to small portions of your favorite cheese topping on your pizza, or butter on your toast during breakfast. Low fat or fat-free milk are also great alternatives, as are plant-based milk products like almond or soy milk. All these are fortified with calcium, just like dairy from cows.
Since oil is high in fat, opt for low fat and low sugar versions of products that contain oil, such as salad dressings and mayonnaise. Although deep-frying food should be avoided, there are a number of good oils out there that can replace your everyday cooking oil that is high in cholesterol. Olive oil, canola oil, palm oil, fish oil and coconut oil are all healthy alternatives when cooking.
A balanced diet is essential to live a healthy life. However, if you’ve got special requirements because you live an athletic lifestyle, or if you’ve got an existing medical condition, you are advised to seek a nutritionist to make the most out of your diet. Or, if you’ve got some basic dietary questions, you may visit our BayaniHealth website, a subsidiary of Horsepower.ph and have a one-on-one medical consultation from one of our physicians who are on call daily.
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