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An Overview ofBalanced Diet

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We are very familiar with the term balanced diet, but seldom do we know what it exactly means. A balanced diet is the one that suffices the nutritional requirement of your body and improves your overall health. Your diet comprises of only healthy variety of foods, which offer you the much needed calories forenergy and vigor.

You need to follow some rules when you decide to give yourself a balanced diet. Not only do you have to decide what to eat, but also decide how much and when to eat. Read on our overview of balanced diet and find out more about healthy eating.

The salient features of balanced diet as per WHO

The World Health Organization has set forth certain guidelines for a balanced diet. They are:

  • Encourages increase in consumption of plant foods, especially  fruits, vegetables,  legumes, whole grains and nuts
  • Reduce intake of unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats
  • Reduce consumption of sugars or any food enriched with sugar
  • Limit intake of salt or salt coated foods. The salt should be iodized
  • Consume organic foods rich in vitamins, minerals  and antioxidants
  • Avoid foods that contain artificial preservatives, sweeteners and carcinogenic substances

Apart from those, WHO also advices to at least eat the same amount of calories as your body burns, if you cannot reduce calorie intake.

What to eat while being on a balanced diet?

We have chalked out a diet plan over here which will help you to understand how to balance the foods you consume every day.

Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrate is the secret to your energy and fitness. To receive all the goodness of carbohydrates, make sure you are eating whole grains, which include brown rice, whole wheat, oatmeal, bran flakes, etc. You can have those fortified cereals at breakfast.

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Fats: Unsaturated fatty acids like omega-3-fats are utmost essential for you. While being on a balanced diet, you can snack on a handful of nuts (almonds and walnuts) and seeds daily. You can also have low fat dairy products like milk and yogurt and fatty fishes like salmon and tuna on a regular basis. Remember your cooking oil should be free from trans fats.

Proteins: You have to make a healthy choice when it comes to supplementing proteins in your diet. Eating animal proteins like lean chicken breasts without the skin is considered to be healthy. Freshwater fishes like rohu, salmon, trout, etc. or a whole egg are also healthy sources of protein.

Fibers: The best sources of dietary fibers include leafy greens like spinach and cruciferous vegetables. Have vegetables as much as you can along with fibrous fruits like prunes, peaches,  pears, papaya, figs,  guava, etc.

Vitamins and Minerals: These elements regulate your metabolism and ensure that your body is functioning properly. Healthy sources of vitamins and minerals include carrots, broccoli, kale, beans, pulses, legumes, nuts, and almost all types of fruits including the dried varieties like dates and raisins.

Water:  You must drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily (more is better!).

That completes the food list for your balanced diet. Make sure you consume the foods we have mentioned above either in your breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks to satisfy your nutritional requirement.

Health benefits of balanced diet

Since you’re giving your body the essential dose of nutrition, you will receive the following health benefits

  • Normal cholesterol, fat, blood sugar and blood pressure
  • Lowered risk of heart attack and cardiovascular diseases
  • Reduced risk of diabetes and chronic diseases of kidney, liver, etc.
  • Reduced risk of cancers, especially of colon, breasts, pancreas
  • Proper management of weight
  • Improved metabolism and digestion
  • Fortified immune function
  • Improved brain and nervous function
  • Healthy skin and long lasting youth

Choose the right food and eat the right amount of food from different food groups. This will improve your health naturally and allow you to maintain a healthy weight. If you are still confused, you could always seek a professional dietician’s help and follow a balanced diet according to your body needs.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: April 28, 2015

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