When it comes to healthy eating, its about consuming all the necessary nutrients that are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water in correct portions. A balanced diet is the key to healthy, disease free living. Healthy eating should not include deprivation, starvation to achieve weight loss or fat loss, or denial of things we enjoy. The best method is to eat a well-balanced diet that includes the correct amounts of carbs, proteins, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A well-balanced diet includes foods from all of the main food categories in the proper amounts to offer optimal nourishment to the body. Every person is unique, and the best diet for optimum health may change from one person to the next. To lead the path to a healthy life it is advised to follow a balanced diet that includes all food categories and is low in undesired nutrients (empty calories) like processed foods high in salt, saturated fats, and sugar.
The main nutrients that are a must in the diet are :
They are among the macronutrients that is, the body needs them in larger amounts. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy and fuel to perform day to day activities and biochemical processes that occur inside the body. When it comes to carbohydrates, it is very important to choose the right type of carbohydrates as all carbs are not created equal! Including whole carbs like whole grains, cereals, vegetables, millets, beans, lentils, pulses etc has been linked to decreased risk of various lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, PCOS, thyroid malfunction etc. It helps in improving the metabolic health. Some are also associated with lowering the risk of developing various types of cancers especially stomach cancer and colorectal cancer. Whole carbohydrates are beneficial for the body as they provide us with energy, fiber, and many other nutrients.
Refined carbohydrates include: processed foods such as sugary beverages, carbonated drinks, refined flour, bakery products like
cake, cookies, pastries , fried chips etc. Research has linked refined carbohydrate consumption to health problems and metabolic disorders such as obesity , type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, malignancies. Refined carbs cause blood sugar levels to surge, followed by a drop that can promote hunger and food cravings. They are mostly deficient in vital nutrients as well. To put it another way, they’re just “empty” calories. They should be avoided as much as possible.
The main function of protein in the body is to repair the cells and tissues. It helps in developing muscle mass. Protein assist in growth and development of the body. It also aids in synthesizing various enzymes. Eating adequate protein ensures hormonal balance in the body. It is needed to maintain the health of hair, skin and nails. Consuming protein at every meal maintains the blood sugar levels and prevent the blood sugar to spike up or drop too low.
Dietary fats are essential for a variety of health benefits and the proper functioning of the human body. Dietary fats are more
than simply a fuel source; they also serve as structural building blocks for the body, transport fat-soluble vitamins, participate in key physiological processes, and are required for a variety of biological activities, including growth and development. Many physiological processes, such as blood coagulation, wound healing, and inflammation, are aided by essential fatty acids.
Vitamins and minerals
Micronutrients are type of nutrients that our body need in minor amounts but they still assist a number of functions in the body and are essential for us. Vitamins and minerals are among them. Vitamins are required for energy generation, immunological function, blood coagulation, wound healing, disease prevention and a variety of other biological processes. Minerals, on the other hand, are essential for growth and development, bone health, hormonal health, fluid equilibrium, and a variety of other functions.
Drinking adequate water is very important for a healthy living. Water performs various functions in the body. It helps in carrying nutrients and oxygen. It flushes out toxins from the body. It improves the digestive health by preventing constipation and promoting better digestion. It is needed to regulate normal body temperature. Water helps in regulating blood pressure. It also
protects vital organs and tissues and help in cushioning of the joints. Proper hydration is very essential for a healthy body.
A well balanced diet is essential for improving the quality of life and a disease-free living. Eating well helps in growth and development of the body, weight management, improved Energy levels, lowering risk of various chronic conditions like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancer, hormonal imbalance, obesity, cancer etc. It also helps in maintaining the mental health
by reducing depression and anxiety.
Tips for balanced eating :
For a healthy, balanced eating follow the tips mentioned below :
- Choose carbohydrates wisely. Major part of carbohydrates should be from whole grains (wheat, millets, oats, rice) , legumes, beans and lentils. Limit the intake of refined carbs like refined flour, white bread, cakes, pastries etc. Just over a third of your diet should be made up of starchy carbohydrates. Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, and cereals are among them. Choose wholewheat pasta, brown rice, or potatoes with their skins on for more fiber or wholegrain alternatives. They include more fiber than white or refined starchy carbohydrates, so they can keep you feeling fuller for longer. With each main meal, try to incorporate at least one starchy food. Fiber helps in lowering the risk of various types of cancers like colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, gastrointestinal cancer and some other malignancies.
- Eat 4 to 5 servings of fresh , local, seasonal fruits and vegetables. They are a great source of micronutrients, antioxidants and fiber. They protect the body from free radical damage and prevent the growth of tumors or cancer cells.
- Go refined-sugar free. Consuming high-sugar foods and beverages on a regular basis raises your chances of obesity and tooth damage. Instead you can use healthier alternatives like stevia, maple syrup, coconut sugar, jaggery etc.
- For protein include a variety of plant sources like pulses, nuts and seeds, beans, legumes etc and lean meat sources like chicken, eggs, low fat dairy products.
- Select foods that are high in healthy fats, limit meals that are high in saturated fat, and abstain from foods that are high in trans fat. The healthiest sources are plant oils, nuts, and seafood.
- Ensure proper hydration. Drink 2-3L of water daily and include fruits with high water content like watermelon, oranges grapefruit, kiwis etc.
- Snack wisely. Choose healthy snacks like trail mix, dry fruits, seeds, seasonal fruit, sprouts, roasted chana etc.
- Drink vegetable juice at least twice a week. Simplest vegetable juice recipe is using carrots, tomato, spinach, cucumber. Blend the ingredients together. Pour in some water. Drink without straining.
- Reduce the intake of salt in the diet. Use spices and herbs to flavor your meals.
- Include protein with every meal.