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Well-balanced diet is the key to the quality life. What people fail to do is that they do not focus on the word “balanced” in the term well-balanced diet. The term “balance” means, neither take too much of the nutrients nor too less. The intake of nutrients should be adequate enough to carry on the functions of the body, while maintaining its health.
Balanced diet helps you to choose the right type of foods and also the right quantity. These foods are beneficial in supplying energy and nutrition for the maintenance of healthy tissues, cells, muscles and organs. These foods also help in the proper development and growth of the body.
Following are the food groups you can choose from. Try to incorporate at least one food from every group to your every meal.
Milk group (dairy products)
- Cheese fat-free
- Milk or buttermilk skimmed or low-fat
- Yogurt low-fat
Meat and beans group
- Legumes (including beans, peas, lentils and split peas)
- Meat beef, poultry without skin, pork, fish select lean cuts; trim away visible fat; broil, roast, or poach
- Nuts and seeds (including almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts)
- Tempeh, Tofu and other soy-protein products
- Apples, avocados, apricots, berries, bananas, dates, grapefruit, grapes, melons, mangos, oranges, pineapples, peaches, raisins and unsweetened dried fruits, tangerines
- Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, collard and other greens, cucumbers, kale, lettuces, potatoes, green beans, radishes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
Grain group (breads and cereals)
- Enriched, whole-grain breads, bagels, , rolls, cereals, pasta and muffins
- Light salad dressing
- Vegetable oil
- Low-fat mayonnaise
Important Guidelines for Well-Balanced Diet
To maintain a balanced diet it is important for you to determine:
- The amounts of calories that are required by your body daily. USDA recommends a minimum of 2000 calories for men and 1800 calories per day for women
- The portion of food
- What healthy choices are available from different food groups?
Here are some of the guidelines that can help you plan a healthy and well balanced diet. These are the recommendations made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HSS and USDA.
- Never skip breakfast
- Take 3 meals at least during the day
- Always read the food labels before buying food products
- Try to incorporate foods from each food group mentioned above to your every meal
- Avoid taking foods high in cholesterol, saturated and trans fats, salt, refined sugar and alcohol
- You can follow DASH or “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” as it offers a well balanced eating plan
- You can also balance your calorie intake by exercising
- Add 4 servings or 2 cups of fruits and 5 servings or 2 ½ cups of vegetables to your daily diet
- Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain foods daily
- Take at least 3 cups of low-fat milk or other dairy products in a day
- Do not take more than 7% of calories from saturated fats
- Avoid foods containing trans fats such as fried food, commercially baked cookies, crackers, donuts, margarine and processed foods
- Take cholesterol not more than 300 mg per day
- Calories from fats shouldn’t be more than 20 -35%. Also try to take good fats found in nuts, vegetable oil, fish, poultry, dry beans and milk
- Say no to refined sugar
- Limit your consumption of sodium, not more than one teaspoon should be consumed daily
- Limit your consumption of alcoholic drinks, for men one to two drinks and for women one drink is the recommended amount
- Take 6 to 8 glasses of water every day
Benefits of Well-balanced Diet
A balance diet would benefit you in the following ways:
Growth and Development
A well-balanced diet supports growth and development of the body, especially in young children. It ensures proper development of various organ of the body.
Taking a well-balanced diet would enable you to keep a check on your weight issues. Your daily calorie requirement depends on your height, your current weight, your age and your level of activity. By keeping a check on your calorie intake and making healthy choices of foods, you would not only be able to supply your body with healthy nutrients but also you would be able to maintain a healthy weight.
Improves Energy Levels
By making the right choices of food you can pack your body with tremendous amount of energy. A well-balanced diet provides you with all the essential energy giving vitamins and minerals.
People consuming diet high in fats, are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. A well-balanced diet on the other hand focuses on consuming low fat foods and therefore saves you from the risk of developing such diseases. A well-balanced diet also helps to build strong immune system and as a result protects you from common illnesses.
A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that taking a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish and meat can prevent anxiety and depression. On the other hand another study revealed that people who took a diet high in processed foods, refined flours and saturates fats are at an increased risk of developing depression.
Prevents sleeping disorders
Consuming too much oil and heavy foods can cause sleeping problems. Taking a well balance diet enables you to have a sound sleep and also gives you a fresh start in the morning.