A balanced diet is one that provides all the essential nutrients that your body needs to function. It maintains muscles, organs and tissue at the optimal level, and gives the body a lot of energy. A variety of healthy foods from different food groups offer a wide range of nutrients. A balanced diet also means not eating too much, especially having low intake of saturated fats, salt and alcohol. When your body has the nutrients it needs, you are more able to fend off disease. As an added bonus, you also feel better rather than tired or ill.
Complex carbohydrates obtained from healthy sources such as whole grains, is an important part of a balanced diet. They provide protection against diabetes, and help protect the heart. Good carbohydrates are those that are absorbed slowly into the bloodstream, as opposed to carbohydrates from refined flours that can cause blood sugar spikes. Whole grain sources include barley, millet, quinoa and brown rice.
Vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits provide a myriad of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Antioxidants can fend off disease by destroying free radicals that damage cells. They also provide fiber. Choose vibrant colors and foods from this group. Choose green, leafy vegetables such as romaine lettuce, kale and broccoli ,. And colorful fruits such as oranges, cantaloupe, apples and kiwi
Dairy foods are included in a balanced diet. However, they can also be high in fat, so be sure to choose low-fat or fat-free products. Of course, if you are lactose intolerant, avoid these products and choose alternatives, such as soy milk. Dairy products provide calcium, vitamins D and A, potassium, B vitamins and phosphorus. Dairy products can also provide healthy bacteria for the body’s digestive system.
Protein is essential for muscle growth and maintenance. Proteins also provide the body with amino acids that are necessary to maintain the body’s cells. Protein provides energy to the body. Choose lean cuts of red meat, chicken and fish. Other good sources of protein include legumes such as lentils and black beans, nuts such as almonds and walnuts, and soy products like tofu. If using nuts for a protein source, choose unsalted nuts.
Fiber can help to prevent heart problems, diabetes and digestive problems. It is also important to stabilize blood sugar. Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber each day. Fiber is found in whole grains, such as bran and oats, and fruits, vegetables and beans.
Without adequate water intake, the body can not function properly. Water is necessary for the body’s cells to function and to flush out toxins and wastes from the body. Adults should drink about three liters of water every day.