The importance of a balanced diet can’t be emphasized in a single statement.
To achieve any health goal, whether you’re looking to build muscle, lose fat, or just to improve athletic performance, a healthy and balanced diet plays a crucial role. A healthy and balanced diet provides important vitamins and minerals that are required for the body. It helps you to maintain your Body mass index (BMI) in the healthy range (i.e., 18.5 – 24.9)
Healthy eating can also help ward off numerous health complications and improves energy, allows you to sleep better, and improve brain function. Read the article to know the importance of a balanced diet.
What is a balanced diet?
To explain the importance of a balanced diet, you should understand what’s balanced diet first?
The Foods Standards Agency (FSA) defines a balanced diet as having a variety of foods, basing meals on starchy foods, protein sources such as fish – in moderate amounts and healthy fat sources and moderating the amount of protein you have and having small or occasional amounts of food high in fat or sugar. Eating at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day is also recommended.
In simple words, a balanced diet is defined as the different varieties of food that offer all the essential fluids, macros (carbohydrates, protein, fats), and micros (vitamins and minerals) that are required by the body for healthy functioning. Here’s an explanation of why a balanced diet is important to you, and how diet and health are connected.
What contains in a balanced diet?
A balanced diet constitutes all macro and micronutrients that are essential for the body.
Protein is required for the repair and growth of the cell. This is where most people are lagging. On average, women require 45-50 grams and men require 55-60 grams per day (depending on several factors this average varies). Here are some veg and non-veg protein sources.
Carbs are energy-providing foods. Energy is required to do all activities. Hence, carbohydrates should be taken in every meal. Rice, potato, oatmeal, wheat bread, cereals, etc are some of the carb-rich sources.
Healthy fats are essential for growth, development, and cell functions. They provide a major source of stored energy and serve as a shield to protect vital organs from mechanical damage. Fats also help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, K. Fats should ideally make up 30% of your total calorie intake. Dairy, poultry, lean meat, and nuts are some good sources of fats.
Fruits and vegetables offer vitamins, minerals, fiber, and some protein that are important for the body. They are less in calories and helps you to stay full for a long time.
Related: Calculate your BMI
The importance of a balanced diet
The importance of a balanced diet lies in the intake of the right amount of calories. As I mentioned earlier, a healthy diet is one that helps maintain or improve overall health. Here are some benefits.
1. Alters health goals – Maintains weight:
Eating carbohydrates like whole grains, oatmeal, legumes, vegetables, and fruits that have a low glycemic index (ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 based on how much they raise blood sugar levels after consuming) will allow the body to stay fuller over a longer period of time and helps you maintain weight.
2. Better sleep:
Sleep is very important, as it allows our muscles to recover and replenish from the day’s activities and workouts. We feel sluggish, energy levels remain low, focus and concentration levels are affected, and cravings for less beneficial food are triggered if we don’t get enough sleep. Poor diet habits often cause digestive issues due to the toxins that may be released into the blood system. Raised acidity can likewise put a strain on the stomach related framework, making it hard to get a decent night’s sleep. It is important to not overeat just before they sleep, which many people do due to poor eating habits during the day. It is more important to space meal timings effectively.
3. Prevents several diseases:
Healthy eating boosts good cholesterol and decreases unhealthy “LDL” cholesterol. As a result, the risk of heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, risk of diabetes is reduced. A balanced diet helps you overcome vitamin and mineral deficiencies. As a result, it builds immunity.
4. Improves mental health:
A balanced diet is very important for proper brain functioning. Omega 3 fatty acids provide several important benefits, such as improved memory, as a result, the ability to learn also improves. Omega 3 also helps fight against mental disorders such as depression. Foods like salmon, walnuts, avocado, kiwi, and almonds contain these important fatty acids. So, make sure that your diet contains these Omega 3s for high brain functioning.
5 tips to achieve a healthy and balanced diet
- Calculate the number of calories you require in a day according to your goal (weight loss or weight gain).
- If you’re eating too many calories, eat in smaller proportions. This helps you to complete your daily requirement rather than in heavy meals.
- You have to spend some time chew and eat. You should not rush your meals in between other work. Chew a lot, this is really good for smooth digestion.
- Avoid processed and unnecessary snacks. Instead, eat 5 portions of fruits and vegetables daily.
- Keep track of your calorie intake. This encourages you to accomplish your goals faster.
Whether it is weight loss or weight gain, a balanced diet plays a vital role. Opting for a balanced, and varied diet with an adequate amount of macros and micros is an important step towards a healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating can also prevent several health complications such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and improves energy, allows you to sleep better, and improve brain function. However, along with a balanced diet, fitness is important.
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