A balanced and healthy diet that consists of all the essential nutrients, along with adequate amounts of fluids, vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential fatty acids and calories is necessary to maintain your health and improve it in the long run. Proper diet and nutrition are required to support energy requirements for performing daily activities and engaging in sports and exercise sessions. A properly balanced diet in combination with regular exercise can lower the risk of obesity, hypertension, heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Guidelines to Achieve Proper Nutrition within the Daily Diet
Here are a few basic guidelines and tips that can help you to achieve optimum nutrition from your diet so that you can maintain your health without the use of supplements.
Never Skip Meals - Three main meals makes our day, those are breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it is best not to skip any of these three meals. Because when you skip a meal your body feels it doesn’t have the fuel that it can convert into energy, and it immediately goes into the energy conserving mode or survival mode where it slows down the metabolism and starts storing excess food and glucose as fat. Having the meals on the scheduled time boosts metabolism and breaks down the fat because it thinks it does not need to store it anymore.
Drink Plenty of Water - It is needless to emphasise the importance of drinking water on a daily basis. The human body is 60% water, and it is necessary to stay hydrated by drinking at least 3-4 litres of water (1 litre/20 kgs of Body Weight) every day to promote and facilitate normal functioning of the organs. Sugar and calorie-rich soda, energy drinks and beverages are best avoided because they don’t have any positive effects on the body.
Consume Lean Protein - Protein is the most prevalent material in the human body next to water. An increase in the consumption of lean protein in the diet helps to improve heart health by lowering the level of bad LDL cholesterol and raising the level of good HDL cholesterol in the blood stream. Proteins are the basic units of muscles and the basis of the majority of the enzymes in the body which control the metabolic rate. Some of the reliable sources of lean protein are chicken, turkey, soy products, dairy products, eggs and fish.
Include Whole Grains - Whole grains are the main source of carbohydrates that provide energy for performing physical activities. But most people are prejudiced about carbohydrates and try to avoid it all together. The trick is to include healthy complex carbs in the diet that are found in whole grains. Whole grains are also rich in fibers that aid weight loss and help to control blood sugar, lower cholesterol and protect against colon cancer and heart diseases.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables - The answer to the question of how to maintain your health lies in increasing the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. A healthy diet should include at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables that are the best natural sources of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories that make them the ideal choice for snacks in between meals.
Workout - Last but not the least is the importance of exercise in enhancing the effectiveness of the diet. Exercising for merely 30 minutes 3 days a week in combination with a healthy diet can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and increasing longevity. Some of the low impact exercises that you can try yourself are brisk walking, swimming, bicycle riding, yoga, aerobics and weight training.
Food Groups to Include in a Healthy Diet
Following is a brief list of the healthy foods and drink that you can include in your balanced diet plan.
- Fruits and vegetables – Carrots, bok choy, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, radish, peas, celery, apple, pear, banana, berries, grapefruit, grapes, guava, orange, pomegranate.
- Starchy foods – bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes
- Proteins – Meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, beans
- Dairy Products – Milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yoghurt, curd, butter
- Fats – Nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados
How to Plan a Healthy Diet for Maintaining Overall Health?
To maintain a healthy diet and nutrition you need to choose a variety of foods from the food groups mentioned above.
Fruits and Vegetables - These two foods are the main source of vitamins and minerals and it is advised to make them the basis of the diet. It is suggested to have at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits every day. You can have an apple, a pear, a banana or a slice of pineapple or melon or 3 heaped tablespoons of mixed boiled vegetables as 1 serving.
Starchy Foods - Starchy foods should comprise 1/3rd of every meal. You can have potatoes along with the skin if possible to load up on vitamins and fibers. Opt for whole grain varieties such as brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, brown pasta, multigrain bread, etc.
Proteins - Meat, fish, eggs and beans are all good sources of protein that is essential for growth and repair of the muscles and tissues. Lean cuts of meat and lean protein also help to cut down fat from the body, and they are amazing sources of zinc, iron and B vitamins along with omega 3 fatty acids.
Dairy Products - Dairy products like cheese and yoghurt are good sources of protein along with calcium that helps in improving bone health. Avoid the full fat varieties and opt for semi-skimmed or low-fat varieties instead.
Fats - There is no need to cut out fats entirely. Avoid trans fats and saturated fats found in processed foods and baked goods like sausages, biscuits, pies and cakes and opt for healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds that provide essential fatty acids and lowers the level of cholesterol.
So, now that you are acquainted with tips and guidelines to plan a nutritious and healthy diet plan, chalk out your diet chart and start eating healthy and wholesome meals.
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