A balanced diet is the right amount of food intake composing of an appropriate mixture of nutrients. Contrary to common belief that certain nutrients are more important than others, research shows that consumption of the right mix of foods in moderation and balance is healthier as our organs and tissues need proper nutrition to function effectively. By balancing and fulfilling the various needs of the body, we live a healthier, longer and stronger life, and have more energy on a daily basis.
|Nutrient||Use in the body||Good sources|
|Carbohydrate||To provide energy.||Cereals, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes|
|Protein||For growth and repair.||Fish, meat, eggs, beans, pulses and dairy products|
|Fat||To provide energy. Also to store energy in the body and insulate it against the cold.||Butter, oil and nuts|
|Minerals||Needed in small amounts to maintain health.||Salt, milk (for calcium) and liver (for iron)|
|Vitamins||Needed in small amounts to maintain health.||Dairy foods, fruit, vegetables|
|Fiber||Roughage to help to keep food moving through the gut.||Vegetables, bran|
|Water||Needed for cells and body fluids.||Fruit juice, milk, water|
The Harvard School of Public Health highly recommends consuming a combination of the aforementioned foods. The composition of a meal depends per individual, but it highlights the need to consume fresh foods from healthy and trustworthy sources, reduce the intake of sugary drinks and increase water consumption, and to not neglect concerns about salt and sodium. Supporting such intake with a fit and active lifestyle can strengthen the chances of maintaining a healthy weight.
Often lack of motivation or lethargy comes in the way of maintaining a balanced diet. Overcoming these will reduce the propensity to catch various diseases, infections, fatigue and poor performance through the day. As with most other nutritional matters, nutritional correction must happen at a very early age; if parents fail to do so, their children will be prone to growth and developmental problems. Physicians or dietitians/nutritionists can provide guidance on dietary intake.
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