- by Portea Homecare
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- Sep 04 2017
4 Reasons a Balanced Diet is Crucial for your Health!
India celebrates Nutrition Week in the first week of September and what better time to discuss a balanced diet than now? The primary function of food is to provide nutrition to the body. (Although some foodies may argue that it is to satiate their pallate! ;). For the right nutrition that your body needs, just intake of “healthy” food isn’t enough; it must be consumed in the right quantity. Thus, a balanced diet is what provides the optimum amount of nutrition to your body. But that can be a vague and ambiguous term, isn’t it? Let’s discuss it.
What is a balanced diet1?
In very simple terms, a balanced diet is one that provides the body with all the vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals to take care of its cells and tissues, and ensure the proper functioning of the organs. The diet must contain ingredients from all the 6 major food groups- Dairy, Protein, Fruit, Vegetables, Grains and Rice, Fats and Oils as well as drinking water in sufficient quantities– and the intake must happen in measured quantities keeping in mind the calorific value of all that is being consumed. An ideal balanced diet contains 2-3 servings of protein and dairy, 2 servings each of fruits and vegetables, 1-2 servings of rice and alternatives per day. And of course the elixir of life- 8-10 glasses of water! The intake must be distributed via at least 3 meals a day.
4 Reasons a Balanced Diet is Crucial for your Health!
- Fights Disease
A healthy and balanced diet protects you from acute as well as chronic illnesses by boosting your immunity. Fruits are some of your bravest soldiers within the army of food groups that fight disease. Turns out an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. It’s rich in pectin which is a soluble fibre, that not only lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels (Thereby reducing risk of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes) but also decreases the risks of colon and breast cancer. Eating around 1 or 2 apples every day should do the trick.
Oranges are a rich source of vitamin C which is again a major immunity booster. An orange a day is enough to supply all the vitamin C you need. Papayas are a versatile fruit providing potassium and folate along with vitamins A and E: two powerful antioxidants that protect against heart disease and colon cancer. So, load up on some fruit and enjoy the “fruits” of your labour – a long, disease-free life.
- Prevents Stress
Stress takes a toll on both your physical and mental health increasing the risk of heart attack, brain disease, and high blood pressure. It also ages you faster and makes you highly susceptible to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other mental health conditions. Of course, while external/lifestyle conditions-especially today’s cut-throat, dog-eat-dog world are largely to blame for a stressful India- our diet can help negate that stress to a huge extent. For instance, low levels of zinc have been attached to high stress levels and since our bodies cannot store zinc, it is important to ensure that zinc levels in the body are optimal.
Cashews are a good source of zinc but they’re also a potent source of fat and protein so having them with every meal is not recommended. A handful of cashews a day would do. Some other foods high in zinc are spinach, ground flax seeds, and eggs. Go on then, Zinc it up!
- Helps you lose Weight
Maintaining the right body weight2 not only helps you look and feel good, but is also important for a number of health reasons!. No amount of gymming or any other form of exercise would be very effective if you don’t control your diet and check your calorie consumption so that the stored fat in the body is reduced. (Thus leading to weight loss.)
Avoid eating too much carbohydrate in your meals. A general rule of thumb is to have 40% of carbs (rice, wheat), 40% protein (eggs, chicken and fish) and 20% fat (nuts, seeds) in your daily diet. In addition to getting the macronutrient ratio right, include one or two servings of food like berries, celery and almonds that elevate your metabolism. A high metabolic rate translates into you burning fat even at rest (Isn’t it great, that you can finally lie down on a job!).
- Makes You Look Beautiful
Beauty comes from within, not just in the philosophical sense but in the physical sense too. A balanced diet flushes the toxins out of the body leading to beautiful glowing skin, luscious hair and a general look of wellbeing over all. When your input is healthy and balanced, its bound to show outside. Water plays a crucial role in keeping you beautiful apart from alive of course.
Drinking 2-3 litres of water (8-10 glasses) a day, cleanses the body of toxins that can lead to signs of ageing, acne and other inflammatory conditions in addition to keeping your metabolic rate high. Foods that are high in antioxidants like green tea, apples, dark chocolate (without the sugar) and cranberries3 help the body in getting rid of free radicals which cause damage to your skin and hair. Include at least 3-4 servings of anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. Also, avoid eating processed foods which contain hidden sugars and other additives that are harmful for the body.
A balanced diet can help you lead a fuller life both litereally and metaphorically. So, now before you get crunchin’ over a bag of chips, go nuts on some nuts instead!
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