Your body is a machine, and like any other machine, you need to keep it running. The fuel for this machine is food, and not just any kind of food will do.
It would be best if you ate the right things in order to get the most out of your machine. So in this post, we will be looking at how to maintain a balanced diet and how you can get most of it.
How Can You Make Sure That Your Diet is Balanced?
First, break your calorie requirements down into three different groups: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
By far, the majority of calories should come from carbohydrates (45-60%) followed by fat (25-30%), with only 15% coming from protein sources.
These are general guidelines that are applicable to everyone, but there are many factors that increase or decrease these percentage ranges. Some conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol increase the number of carbohydrates you will need to eat, but also dietary restrictions such as veganism or gluten intolerance may require special diets.
People are often wary of eating fat for fear that it will make them become obese. However, eating too many carbohydrates can have similar effects on your body, yet there are no restrictions whatsoever on eating carbs, and nobody is scared to eat a bowl of spaghetti because they think it might turn into fat in their stomachs. Carbohydrates alone do not cause obesity, and you should always keep an eye on the ratio between your three food groups: don’t just fill up with carbo-hydrate-heavy foods because they taste good!
Importance of Balanced Diet
It’s also important not to ignore how much protein you are eating. Adequate protein intake is important for muscle growth and repair, so if you participate in any kind of regular exercise, you will need to make sure you eat enough protein. Even if you don’t go to the gym, there are many other uses for proteins in your body besides building muscle fiber. Your hair and nails are mostly made up of protein (not true, they are made out of a tough type of carbohydrate called ‘keratin’), and your body needs this material to stay healthy. This also applies to the runny nose you might get after eating too much chocolate – it’s just your body getting rid of excess nitrogen compounds that were not used up by enzymes in the metabolic pathway that processes chocolate.
The final thing to consider as part of your diet is drinking plenty of water. The human body needs a lot of water to function properly, and it will definitely have an effect on your overall health if you don’t drink enough.
You should be drinking at least eight glasses a day, more if you are exercising regularly or live in a hot climate where you sweat more. It’s also helpful to eat foods that contain a lot of water as this will help keep up the electrolyte balance (e.g., cucumbers).
By eating each food group in moderation, preferably not altogether at once, and making sure that the majority comes from carbohydrates, your body should run smoothly for many years to come!
Ingredients that your balanced diet should contain:
A balanced diet should be composed of several key ingredients that keep you healthy and fit. Below is a list of some of them.
1. Lean Proteins
Lean proteins are typically high in amino acids the body needs to build muscle, enzymes that help digest food, and various vitamins & minerals that promote growth & repair of cells.
2. Healthy Fats
Avoid trans fats found in processed foods & stick to healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, etc., for optimum health benefits. Remember that you need to be moderately selective with your intake of healthy fats since they are also very high in calories.
3. Complex Carbohydrates
Foods rich in complex carbs are an important part of a balanced diet since they provide energy while at the same time being low in fat and calories. Great sources of complex carbs are oats, brown rice, whole grain bread & pasta, etc., so include these in your diet on a daily basis.
4. Calcium-Rich Foods
Calcium is an important mineral required for maintaining healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis since it helps bones absorb Vitamin D, which they require to stay strong. Dairy products like milk & cheese are great sources of calcium, along with fortified orange juice & soybeans.
5. Vitamin C-rich Foods
Vitamin C promotes the production of collagen required for stronger joints as well as teeth & gums. It also prevents premature aging by protecting cells from free radicals that can lead to cell damage. Good food sources of Vitamin C include broccoli, bell peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, etc.
6. Vitamin D-rich Foods
Magnesium is a mineral required by the body for healthy bones and teeth as well as regulating proper nerve & muscle function. Ensure you get enough magnesium from your daily diet by including dark green vegetables, beans, whole grains, along with yogurt or milk each day.
Many of us take our bodies’ need for water for granted since we always have plenty available to drink at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it should be consumed in excess. By keeping yourself hydrated, you’ll feel more energized throughout the day while preventing constipation and various other health issues caused due to a lack of sufficient fluid intake.
8. Fiber-Rich Foods
Fiber cookies, nuts, flax seeds, oatmeal, whole grain bread & pasta are just some examples of foods that provide much-needed fiber in your diet. Supplying your body with sufficient amounts of dietary fiber helps to keep you regular, prevents constipation, and also keeps the hormonal balance. Choosing to include these types of foods daily will help you stay healthy & energized throughout the day.
9. Vitamin A-rich Foods
Beta carotene is a type of Vitamin A found in tomatoes, carrots, green leafy vegetables like spinach, and apricots converted into active Vitamin A once consumed by the body.
Vitamin A benefits your health by preventing cell damage which can lead to impaired vision as well as skin problems.
10. Vitamin B-rich Foods
Foods like fortified cereal, whole wheat bread, fish, chicken & dairy products are all great sources of various types of Vitamin B that help keep your body in top shape by promoting healthy functioning of cells, tissues & organs. Include these in your daily diet to stay healthy.
11. Iron-Rich Foods
Iron is an important mineral required for producing hemoglobin that transports oxygen throughout the body. The recommended daily allowance for iron is approximately 8 mg per day for men & 18mg per day for women between the ages of 19 – 50. Besides meats, good sources of iron include fortified cereal spinach, tofu, etc.
12. Zinc-Rich Foods
Vitamin E benefits your health by protecting cells from free radicals that can cause damage to tissues & organs.
It is a very important antioxidant that plays an important role in the body’s ability to fight against infections as well as prevent premature aging.
Good sources of this vitamin include almonds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, and peanuts which you should try and incorporate into your daily diet.
14. Magnesium-rich foods
Besides being required for healthy bones and teeth, magnesium is also responsible for regulating proper nerve and muscle function. Since it helps improve blood flow throughout the body, magnesium deficiency can lead to various health issues such as high blood pressure, poor sleep patterns, diabetes, etc. Include green leafy vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your daily diet to maintain healthy levels of magnesium.
Benefits of a balanced diet:
There are a lot of benefits of a balanced diet. Some of the major ones are listed below.
1. Maintains your blood pressure:
A balanced diet helps you keep your blood pressure normal. Balanced meals are high in fiber, which helps keep the body’s sugar levels under check. This also helps maintain your blood pressure, which can otherwise shoot up if there is too much sugar in the blood.
2. Prevents diseases related to the heart:
High cholesterol level increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases like a heart attack or stroke due to the formation of plaque with time.
A balanced diet consisting of vegetable oils, cereals, and legumes will decrease this build-up by decreasing triglyceride levels in your bloodstream.
Also, they contain antioxidants that prevent damage caused by free radicals present in the body that clogs arteries and damages heart muscles over time, leading to health problems.
3. Keeps you active:
A diet that contains the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in adequate quantities is necessary to give you energy. Complex carbs are broken down into glucose by our bodies for producing energy. Proteins are amino acids that help us synthesize enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters that keep our bodies active. Fats act as fuels for physical activity.
4. Keeps your muscles healthy:
When you workout repeatedly at the gym or play sports, there is a likelihood of muscle injury or strain which can be prevented with balanced dietary practices like proper hydration with water before, during, and after exercise; ingesting complex carbs instead of simple sugars immediately post-workout; adding protein supplements to your meal plans; etc. These things together will help prevent muscle pain and make for faster recovery times.
5. Gives you desired weight:
If you want to lose weight, start eating balanced meals that contain complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and proteins and reduce simple sugars and fats in your diet plan. This will help you lose fat while maintaining the desired muscle tone in your body.
6. Helps you stay focused:
A balanced diet helps prevent episodes of low blood sugar levels, which can make you feel sluggish and sometimes irritable. By eating smaller portions of healthy foods throughout the day, your body will maintain a steady supply of energy, and this will help keep your mind clear and focused on the task at hand.
7. Keeps your skin glowing:
If you have dry or acne-prone skin, it’s best to avoid processed food loaded with preservatives as these cause problems from the inside out. A balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables keeps not just your internal systems but also your outer layer of skin healthy by providing essential nutrients that promote cell growth and improve collagen production to reduce fine) lines and other signs of aging.
8. Prevents bloating:
If you have a sensitive stomach or are prone to feeling bloated, avoid dairy products, carbonated beverages, and sugar as much as possible. These things can make your stomach feel swollen and tight, which is very uncomfortable if left unchecked. A balanced diet with a regular intake of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats will provide nutrition to all the organs in the body, including your digestive system that helps relieve discomfort caused by gas/bloating.
9. Fights off stress:
By increasing the number of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, you’re providing a powerful shot of antioxidants to strengthen your immune system against toxins like pollutants and chemicals commonly found in our food supply that can cause serious damage to the body.
Also, by eating healthy meals with adequate proportions of proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fats, you’re providing your brain with necessary nutrients that help fight off stress hormones like cortisol which are responsible for high blood pressure and heart disease.
10. Prevents Bone Loss:
By eating foods rich in calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D, you’re strengthening your bones from the inside out,
which prevents bone loss caused by a diet deficient in these minerals. Calcium is one of the important substances that give strength to bones, while magnesium helps prevent bone mineralization defects that cause osteoporosis over time. Finally, Vitamin D plays an equally important role in helping our bodies absorb calcium effectively for better bone health overall. When provided with inadequate portions in our daily diet, these three vitamins help strengthen bones to prevent fractures and breaks.
11. Keeps your brain sharp:
It’s well known that foods rich in water content like cucumbers, celery, and lettuce are great for maintaining healthy skin because of their high water content but what most people do not know is that these vegetables are also excellent food choices to keep your mind sharp by preventing age-related diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s. These plants are extremely low in calories yet provide the body with essential nutrients that help protect the brain from degenerative disease while improving cognitive function at the same time. This ultimately helps you maintain a sharper memory over time, thus enabling better mental acuity.
12. Promotes clear thinking:
To keep your brain in peak condition, it’s best to eat foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients. These foods can prevent age-related diseases from affecting the brain and maintain a sharper memory for improved mental acuity. By choosing food with adequate portions of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, you’re helping fuel the brain with essential building blocks that promote clear thinking throughout the day. One such example of healthy fat is Omega-3 fatty acids which have been proven to help protect against Dementia.
13. Maintains hormonal balance:
By eating a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables along with protein sources like lean chicken/turkey breast, nuts & seeds, and beans, you’re helping maintain hormonal balance. A diet that lacks calcium and magnesium, which are key minerals required to keep the body’s hormonal system healthy, can lead to cortisol levels rising which ultimately results in low bone density and mood swings. Also, not maintaining a healthy intake of complex carbohydrates and proteins will negatively affect your body’s ability to produce serotonin naturally by failing to provide it with adequate building blocks necessary for synthesizing this chemical.
Serotonin is a powerful neurotransmitter that helps control different aspects of our daily lives like mood, sleep quality, and appetite. When its level within the brain falls too low, it can cause serious health issues like depression.
14. Promotes Healthy Digestion:
In addition to helping your body absorb important minerals and vitamins from your food, healthy digestion significantly increases nutrient uptake. By eating a diet high in whole grains,
You’re providing your body with fiber necessary for promoting healthy intestinal flora, which helps improve digestive functions. This is especially beneficial for individuals who suffer from bloating and irritable bowel syndrome. Also, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants like Vitamin A, E & C, along with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before every meal, will help keep ‘bad bacteria’ at bay so that you feel more energized throughout the day.
15. Keep Diseases at Bay:
Include healthy portions of lean proteins from chicken, turkey, or fish in your diet, which help protect against diseases like cancer and diabetes. Chicken/turkey breasts are a great source of lean protein along with being low in fat and calories while being high in vitamins & minerals. Salmon is also a beneficial choice for disease prevention because it contains ample amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and important minerals that help protect against certain cancers.
You can try Heart-Healthy Salmon Patties – Eat Healthy Foods.
16. Prevents constipation:
For the perfect digestive system, you’ll need to eat plenty of fresh fruits & vegetables daily since they contain necessary fiber along with other nutrients that help keep your body regular. One such example is celery which helps promote bowel movements due to its high water.
By following these tips,
You can ensure that you’re giving your body all the essential components required for maintaining good health. However, it’s important to avoid taking supplements as they may alter your body’s normal metabolism and halt progress. Instead of going for artificial supplementation, make an effort to eat a balanced diet consisting of healthy organic foods, which will keep you disease-free & allow your body to function properly.