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What Is A Balanced Diet and Why Is It Important?

 

importance of balanced diet

These days, health and fitness are among the top priorities for almost everyone. While exercising is key to staying healthy, having a balanced diet is equally important. A balanced diet is a holistic composition of essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fibres, fats, and vitamins and minerals, in adequate proportions.

balanced diet

Unfortunately, lack of time and effort has led to the replacement of nourishing food with packaged and ready-to-eat foods, which are unhealthy.

Why is a healthy diet important?

Maintaining a healthy diet, comprising the right balance of essential nutrition, protects us from diseases, boosts the immune system, and always keeps us active and rejuvenated. It also helps in regulating our digestion and metabolism, along with retaining the right body weight.

Let us have a look at the vital nutrients that constitute a balanced diet.

1. Proteins

protein rich foods

Rightly called the building blocks for our body, proteins help in the growth and repair of cells. A healthy diet should be such that at least 10-15% of our daily calorie intake should come from proteins. While vegetarians can consume pulses (dals), soy, milk, and milk-based products, non-vegetarians can fulfil their daily requirements from eggs, lean meat, and fish.

2. Carbohydrates

carbohydrate rich foods

Carbs are often misunderstood for the vices they carry – weight gain, blood sugar, and health issues. However, the truth is that carbohydrates supply the energy to sustain our bodies. Without them, our bodies may experience fatigue and mood swings. Ensure 50-60% of the daily calories are derived from carbohydrates. Natural sources such as vegetables, fruits, chapatis, grains, and rice should be preferred. Intake of processed food items such as preserved fruit juices and beverages, biscuits, namkeens, etc. can be avoided

3. Fibres

fibre rich foods

Fibres are the secret to maintaining our physical and mental well-being. They contain essential antioxidants and micro-nutrients, which nourish our skin and regulate the bowel movement. Fruits, leafy vegetables, and grains are a rich source of fibres.

4. Fats

fat rich foods

People who are suddenly attracted to fitness make it a point to cut down on their fat intake. It is considered to be a key reason for all heart-related issues. However, this is a myth as not all fats are bad. Inclusion of fatty foods rich in Omega-3 nutrients, such as nuts (Desi almonds, walnuts, pistachios), clarified butter/desi ghee, and certain varieties of fish, are known to reduce bad cholesterol, which unclogs the arteries and thus strengthens the heart.

 

how to have a balanced diet

Now that we understand why healthy food is important, let us see what can be done to ensure we follow a balanced diet.

  • Start by reducing the portion size of ‘unhealthy’ foods in your daily habits
  • Try to prepare your own home-cooked meals to have better control over the nutrition
  • Look out for the unhealthy food ingredients and replace them with healthier substitutes, wherever possible
  • Follow a proper routine for having your meals to allow adequate time for digestion
  • Finally, avoid bingeing when you are not in the best of spirits as stress, loneliness, etc. create craving towards junk foods


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