Eating a balanced diet from the right sources of nutrients is the best way to ensure that you get the nutrients your body needs to function well. This includes foods that are rich in protein, fat, and carbohydrates. It also includes foods that contain a range of nutrients, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Food is necessary, we all need food to survive. Eating the right types of foods helps us become healthy and strong. It gives us enough energy to play, think and work effectively. For the foods we eat to help our bodies function properly, they must contain the essential nutrients.
In this article you will find in detail, Balanced diet and nutrient sources. This information will allow you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What does Nutrients mean?
Nutrients are very important in our daily lives. These are chemical compounds in the foods we eat, which provide our body system with enough fuel for energy, essential growth materials and repair tissues, our body fights against all kinds of diseases, making the human body function properly.
There are different types of nutrients. To provide the body with essential nutrients, we need to eat a balanced diet every day.
This is otherwise known as complete nutrition.
Definition of Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is one that contains all the essential nutrients in the right proportions. It provides the body with all the nutrients it needs to function properly and build healthy cells. It also gives the body energy to perform the tasks it needs to perform. Healthy eating and physical activity are essential for well-being.
The basic elements of a balanced diet are carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vitamins and minerals. Consuming a variety of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables everyday is essential to provide energy and vital nutrients.
A balanced diet is also known as a nutritious diet or healthy eating. It helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevents diseases.
Benefits Of a Balanced Diet
Balanced diet and sources of nutrients are an important part of a healthy lifestyele. They are key to maintaining a healthy, disease-free life. When we consume the right amount of nutritious food, we enjoy numerous benefits.
- Our weight is effectively controlled
- Vitamins boost our immune system, helping the body fight against diseases.
- We gain more energy for performing our daily activities.
- Our minds become more active as we gain more brain power
- The skin becomes fresher and more supple
- We reduce the chances of contracting various kinds of severe illness
- We generate more healthy sleeping patterns and become very active throughout the day
- Our moods and quality of life improve daily
The main classes of food and their sources
Categorically, we have 6 (six) classes of foods, which contain all the nutrients necessary for healthy growth. When a person lacks these food categories, they usually develop one or more diseases. For example, let’s highlight a child, who often consumes cassava flakes, he develops a malnutrition defect known as “kwashiorkor”. This deficiency does not radiate quickly, but first develops gradually in the child until it becomes apparent.
The classes of food that contains adequate proportion includes:
- Fats and oils
- Mineral salts
Let’s emphasize on each of it.
- Carbohydrates: provide the body system with essential strength, to carryout various activities and tasks efficiently which seems hectic or unusual. This category of food helps stimulate your mental health, so as to concentrate without any form of distractions.
There are two major categories of carbohydrates- Simple Carbohydrates and Complex Carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches, provide energy in a quick manner but tend to make you feel sluggish and hungry soon afterwards.
On the other hand, complex carbohydrates, such as fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, help to keep you full for a longer period of time. As a result, you tend to eat less of simple carbohydrates than complex ones.
Sources of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are present in food such as yam, potatoes, rice, wheat, pasta, soft drinks etc.
- Fats and oils: Fats are a source of warmth and energy to our bodies. We use fat to regulate our body temperature as well. They are classified into 3 main groups:
- Simple lipids
- Compound lipids
- Derived lipids
Sources of fats and oils
Fats and oils come from both animal sources as well as vegetable sources. Butter, ghee, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, and meat are the major sources of animal fats. Vegetable oils can be obtained from groundnuts, mustards, sesame, coconuts, palms, olives, canola, sunflower, safflower, flaxseed, soybeans, etc.
- Proteins: These are the building blocks of our bodies. They are needed for the growth and repair of muscles, as well as other body tissues. Many different proteins are needed for normal growth and development. A shortage of protein in the diet can slow or even cause these processes to come to a halt.
Sources of protein
Proteins can be obtained from animal and plant sources. These include eggs, milk, cheese, legumes, crayfish, fish, beans, meat, chicken etc.
- Vitamins: Vitamins are organic substances that are vital to life and health. Our bodies depend on them for a number of metabolic processes, including growth and development. Vitamins also protect against disease. There are two main groups of vitamins, water-soluble vitamins, and fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C, vitamin B-1 (thiamine), vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and vitamin A. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin D-3 (calciferol), vitamin D-2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin K-3 (menatetrenone).
Sources of vitamins
Vitamins are derived mainly from fruits and vegetables like watermelon, oranges, apple, banana, pear, broccoli, spinach etc.
- Minerals: Minerals are essential nutrients for the proper growth and function of the body. They are essential but are needed in very small amounts. These include calcium, copper, chloride, fluoride, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nitrate, phosphorus, sulfate, sulfide, vanadium, and zinc.
Sources of Minerals
Minerals can be obtained from various foods especially green leafy vegetables and food like organ meat, fish, eggs etc.
- Water: Water is essential for our survival, so we should drink enough of it each day. Drinking enough water keeps us hydrated and lets us function properly. Moreover, it keeps skin and other tissues healthy. It prevents diseases such as constipation, bladder diseases, and some types of cancer. Although water makes up 55%-65% of body weight, it cannot be stored in the body. Hence, drinking enough water throughout the day is essential.
Sources of water
The source of water includes drinking water, soft drinks, tea, coffee and water-rich fruits and vegetables.
One of the most important things you can do for your health is to eat a balanced diet. It will provide you with the nutrients your body needs to function properly and help you stay strong and healthy as you get older. To achieve this, you need to understand the term balanced diet and sources of nutrients.
However, many people don’t eat a balanced diet. This can result in a wide variety of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. We should ensure that we eat a balanced diet daily. But it’s not easy to know what to eat every day. That’s where a dietitian can help.