To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. Buddha
Starving for Health incarnation one of the most common term you may come across is balanced diet, a lot of focus is given on importance of balanced diet. As commonly said ‘abs are made in kitchen not the gym’ is really very true and balanced diet is the key to that. You can’t really underestimate the importance of balanced diet. As shared in our previous articles Top 5 Vegetables to Incarnate your Health, 5 Healthy Fruits to Incarnate your Health the food you eat plays an important role in your efforts towards a healthier being. Realizing the importance of balanced diet now you should know what is balanced diet.
Balanced diet definition
Balanced diet definition as per Cambridge dictionary is ‘a combination of the correct types and amounts of food’, further they share ‘If you have a balanced diet, you are getting all the vitamins you need’. Here we recommend replacing ‘vitamins’ with ‘essential nutrients’. Actually, balanced diet is nothing but eating as per your body need. Everybody has a different body structure, physical and mental activity level, work environment etc. accordingly nutrient requirements are identified, diet fulfilling these requirements is called Balanced Diet.
Clinical Nutritionist and Spokesperson for Nordic Naturals, Warren Maginn, shares his simplified guide to a balanced diet. A balanced diet should contain a mix of vegetables, protein, carbohydrates and foods rich in omega-3s. Proportion is key to getting the ‘balance’ right.
As per WHO, ‘Consuming a healthy diet throughout the life-course helps to prevent malnutrition in all its forms as well as a range of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and conditions. However, increased production of processed foods, rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles have led to a shift in dietary patterns. People are now consuming more foods high in energy, fats, free sugars and salt/sodium, and many people do not eat enough fruit, vegetables and other dietary fibre such as whole grains’.
Importance of balanced diet
Emphasizing the importance of balanced diet, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services shares, unhealthy eating habits have contributed to the obesity epidemic in the United States: about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese. Even for people at a healthy weight, a poor diet is associated with major health risks that can cause illness and even death. These include heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. By making smart food choices, you can help protect yourself from these health problems.
The risk factors for adult chronic diseases, like hypertension and type 2 diabetes, are increasingly seen in younger ages, often a result of unhealthy eating habits and increased weight gain. Dietary habits established in childhood often carry into adulthood, so teaching children how to eat healthy at a young age will help them stay healthy throughout their life hence you should never underestimate the importance of balanced diet.
The link between good nutrition and healthy weight, reduced chronic disease risk, and overall health is too important to ignore. By taking steps to eat healthy, you’ll be on your way to getting the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, active, and strong. As with physical activity, making small changes in your diet can go a long way, and it’s easier than you think!
Components balanced diet
The human body needs a balanced diet to work properly. Now understanding the importance of balanced diet let us know the major components balanced diet. Good health involves drinking enough water and eating the right amount of foods from the different food groups:
Carbohydrates give us energy. They are found in foods such as bread, potatoes and pasta. Proteins help our bodies to repair themselves. They are found in foods such as fish, meat, nuts, seeds, eggs and cheese. Fats help store energy for our bodies. They are found in foods such as butter, cheese and fried foods. Fibre is important for helping us digest our foods. It’s found in fruit and vegetables.
Inclusions of balanced diet
World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes a lot on the importance balanced diet, WHO shares constitutes a healthy diet for an adult as follows:
- Fruit, vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils and beans), nuts and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice).
- At least 400 g (i.e. five portions) of fruit and vegetables per day, excluding potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots.
- Less than 10% of total energy intake from free sugars, which is equivalent to 50 g (or about 12 level teaspoons) for a person of healthy body weight consuming about 2000 calories per day, but ideally is less than 5% of total energy intake for additional health benefits. Free sugars are all sugars added to foods or drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
- Less than 30% of total energy intake from fats. Unsaturated fats (found in fish, avocado and nuts, and in sunflower, soybean, canola and olive oils) are preferable to saturated fats (found in fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee and lard) and trans-fats of all kinds, including both industrially-produced trans-fats (found in baked and fried foods, and pre-packaged snacks and foods, such as frozen pizza, pies, cookies, biscuits, wafers, and cooking oils and spreads) and ruminant trans-fats (found in meat and dairy foods from ruminant animals, such as cows, sheep, goats and camels). It is suggested that the intake of saturated fats be reduced to less than 10% of total energy intake and trans-fats to less than 1% of total energy intake . In particular, industrially-produced trans-fats are not part of a healthy diet and should be avoided.
- Less than 5 g of salt (equivalent to about one teaspoon) per day. Salt should be iodized.
Combining a healthy diet with an active lifestyle has huge health benefits and helps reduce the risk of major health problems such as heart disease, cancer and obesity. So be mindful on what you eat, never undervalue the importance of balanced diet.