Following a healthy and balanced diet is the key to coping with daily activities and keeping our body energetic and healthy. It is achieved by right food to ingest necessary elements proportionally according to age, sex, and level of physical activity, among other factors.
We need to feed ourselves to live. Being healthy and maintaining optimal performance every day are basic needs. When our body assimilates the elements that make up the foods (macronutrients, fiber, etc.), they provide the energy (calories) necessary for each part of the body to fulfill its functions, as well as vitamins and minerals for these processes to be carried out.
What are the most important food components?
The macronutrients that contribute energy and are constituents of the organs among other functions are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. You need them in different proportions.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals, which are needed in much lower amounts and specific concentrations, so they are called micronutrients. Some examples are iron, calcium, vitamin A, among others. And within this group, we also find copper, magnesium, etc., which are subcategorized under the name of trace elements.
Food is also made up of fiber, water, and other elements depending on the food to a greater or lesser extent.
No food product in its natural condition is a source of only one nutrient or nutritional principle. To better understand these concepts, food has been grouped based on the predominant nutrient in its composition, its functions in the body and the amount we need daily.
Thus, foods of animal origin are an optimal source of proteins of high biological value, collagen, roots, Cereals, legumes, and tubers (cassava, potato, sweet potatoes) are sources of carbohydrates; and oils, butter, margarine are sources of fats.
What are the amounts indicated in a balanced diet?
A balanced diet should necessarily include all nutrient groups in the following proportions. Six servings of complex carbohydrates per day; 5 servings of fruits or vegetables; 2 servings of milk or yogurt (or soya milk enriched with calcium); 2 portions of protein, and 15 to 25 grams of fats and oils, and proportional water to meet the water needs of each individual.
Quantity, Quality, and Balance
There must be a balance between quantity and quality, the second term should always predominate. We speak of a balanced diet when the food groups are consumed proportionally to the needs of the individual.
A person can consume large amounts of food and still suffer from malnutrition if he does not eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Many people consume more saturated fat and sugar than proteins, starches, and fiber, which results in a high risk of disease.
A balanced and balanced diet is recommended to all people, depending on their origin, their choice of diet (vegetarians for example), does not mean that the proportions are the same for everyone.
For example, children under two years of age need more dairy products than adults; But between the ages of 2 and 5, as they become integrated into the family diet, the parameters of a similar diet to that of adults begin to be applied.
People with special nutritional requirements and those under treatment should consult their physician to find out if a “balanced” diet is right for them.
These sources are found in the 5 food groups:
Cereals, legumes and their derivatives: baked (white bread, whole, enriched), flour and semolina, rice, pasta, biscuits, beans, soybeans, lentils, beans. They mainly contribute energy through carbohydrates and fiber.
Fruits and vegetables: Wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals, water and fiber.
Cheese, yogurt and milk (not all dairy products): High biological value proteins, vitamin A and D, among others.
Oils and fats: Vegetable oils (olive, corn, grapeseed, canola, etc.) and animal fats (butter, cream, etc.), walnuts, almonds, peanuts and other nuts: the vegetable vitamin E, Essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins and lots of energy.
Sugars and sweets: jams, jellies, refined sugar, dulce de leche, soda and concentrated juices. They contain almost no nutritional principles.
Consequences of not eating a balanced diet
A poorly balanced diet can cause problems in the preservation of body tissues, growth, and development, the functioning of the nervous system and brain, as well as problems in the muscular and bone systems.
The term “balanced” simply means that a diet that adequately satisfies the nutritional requirements, without providing an excess of some of the nutrients. To obtain it you must consume a variety of foods from each of the groups.
- Consume at least 4 meals a day
- Do not skip breakfast.
- Educate yourself about what the body needs, in addition to reading the ingredients and nutritional label of all the foods that are consumed.
- Reduce sedentary lifestyle. Balancing calorie intake with proper exercise and rest.
- Lower consumption of saturated fats and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt and alcohol.
- You should consume less than 2 grams (about a tablespoon of salt) of sodium daily, and limit the added salt in food preparation.
- Consume two cups of fruit and 2 and 1/2 cups of vegetables per day for people who follow an average diet of 2,000 calories a day.
- It is recommended to consume the equivalent of three or more servings of whole-grain products daily.
- Total fat intake should not exceed 20 to 35% of calories. It is recommended to select “good” fats such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils containing essential fatty acids.
- Lean meat consumption, low or fat free, poultry meat, dried vegetables and if dairy products that are low in fat content are consumed.
- Less than 10% of calories should come from saturated fatty acids. And trans fatty acids (fried foods, snacks, pastry products, etc.) should be avoided.
A smarter food selection is the answer:
Lower consumption of saturated fats and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt and alcohol.
You should consume less than 2 grams (about a tablespoon of salt) of sodium daily, and limit the added salt in food preparation.
Consume two cups of fruit and 2 and 1/2 cups of vegetables per day for people who follow an average diet of 2,000 calories a day.
It is recommended to consume the equivalent of three or more servings of whole-grain products daily.
Control cholesterol and consumption of saturated fats:
Total fat intake should not exceed 20 to 35% of calories. It is recommended to select “good” fats such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils containing essential fatty acids.
Less than 10% of calories should come from saturated fatty acids. And trans fatty acids (fried foods, snacks, pastry products, etc.) should be avoided.So by trying to follow this balanced diet is sureshot sign of keeping a healthy body.