A healthy diet or balanced diet is a group of foods the provides the nutrients to the body which are essential for its proper functioning. More simply, a healthy diet meets all nutritional needs of your body so it can function properly. A healthy diet is highly important for your health because it can keep your body and its metabolic functions on track.
What are the major constituents of a healthy diet?
A typical healthy diet consists of the following food items:
- Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
- Whole grains
- Lean Proteins (meat)
Apart from that, any food item that is healthy for the body and provides essential nutrients, can be used in a healthy diet.
How many calories you can take in a healthy diet?
When you eat the food, your body obtains calories from it to use for energy production so you can walk, think, breathe and perform other body functions. According to the research studies an average person requires 2000 calories per day to maintain their body weight. So the diet, which can provide 2000 calories in a harmless way, can be regarded as a healthy diet. The number of calories also depends on several factors like age, sex, or physical activity level.
Research studies suggest that males require more calories than females. People who exercise frequently need more calories than people who don’t.
There are some foods that provide calories with zero nutrition. It means when you consume them, you will get only calories, which are also known as the “empty calories”.
Examples of foods that provide empty calories include cakes, processed meats, energy drinks, ice cream, pizza, and sodas.
Why a healthy diet is important?
As we mentioned earlier, a healthy diet supplies the nutrients, essential for the body to maintain its functioning. It means without a healthy diet (nutrition), your body will not function properly and become susceptible to fatigue, diseases, and infections. Low performance of the body is also a sign of the lack of a healthy diet. Children are more susceptible to improper functioning of the body when they don’t get a healthy diet. The lack of a healthy diet can seize their physical and mental growth, cause developmental problems and frequent infection. Poor academic performance is another issue that may arise due to the lack of a healthy diet. According to the research studies, people who don’t have a healthy diet, are prone to many life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
What is the composition of a healthy diet?
A healthy and balanced diet has the following essential nutrients:
- Healthy fats
Like we have described earlier, a balanced diet has a variety of healthy foods, most of which belong to fruits, vegetables, protein foods, dairy, and grains. The protein food includes beans, nuts, meat, and legumes.
Some people usually follow a vegan diet which is entirely based on plant-based foods. This type of diet does not include any food item that is derived from animals. For example, a vegan diet does not include the use of meat, dairy, or fish. But a vegan diet is very much different from a healthy diet because it does not provide all of the essential nutrients required by the body.
Foods to avoid in a healthy diet
All unhealthy foods are limited to a healthy diet. Following are some major foods that you have to avoid if you want to make your diet, healthy in a true sense:
- Highly Processed Foods
- Refined Grains
- Added Sugar and Salt
- Processed or Red Meat
- Trans Fats
It is also important to keep in mind that what is healthy for one person may not be good for another. For example, whole wheat flour is healthy for many people but not good for those who have gluten intolerance.
Foods to eat in a healthy diet
If you want to keep your diet healthy, you should eat the following foods:
Fruits are highly nutritious and a fantastic choice for a tasty snack or dessert. Although fruits are high in sugar, this sugar is completely natural. It means they are highly less likely to cause a rise in your blood sugar level. Fruits are loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
Vegetables are rich in essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Try to eat dark and leafy vegetables as much as you can, such as:
- Green Beans
- Collard Greens
- Swiss Chard
When it comes to healthy grains, refined white flour and whole-grain products are the best choices. They are rich in a wide range of essential nutrients.
Meats and beans are the best and primary sources of protein. Protein that comes from meats is highly helpful for wound healing and muscle recovery. Animal protein like red meats, poultry, and fish plays a vital role in the maintenance of muscle mass in the body. Plant-based protein is another good option in this regard. Following are some common sources of plant-based proteins:
- Sunflower seeds
Dairy is a rich source of essential nutrients, especially fats. It also provides calcium and Vitamin D to the body.
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