Generally, one’s body will only be as healthy as the food which is put into it. A poor diet will lead to health problems whereas a balanced diet full of essential nutrients will result in a strong, disease-free body. The practice of health eating is based on putting certain principles into practice each and every day. Making healthy food choices for each meal will lead to an ideal body weight, lower incidence of illness, and increased energy.
Several main elements make up a healthy and balanced diet that work together to build a well-nourished body which runs efficiently. Selecting nutritionally rich foods and finding new ways to serve and enjoy them is a part of this plan. Also, evaluating the oil, starches and such that one eats to determine if changes to healthier ones are needed.
Water is very important for basically all cellular activity in the body and cleanses impurities away; people should drink as many as 8 glasses per day. Sufficient exercise is important for keeping the lungs, heart, and muscles conditioned and metabolism running well; 15 minutes of constant activity every day is recommended. Limiting the use of salt and sugar in the diet is necessary too, as these can lead to diabetes, obesity, and hypertension when used excessively.
Fruits and vegetables represent an important food group which provides the body with many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it needs. These foods are naturally lower in calories and are an excellent source of dietary fiber. There are many to choose from and they each have different nutritional values so it is a good idea to eat a variety of at least 5 servings per day.
Carbohydrates contain certain vitamins and antioxidants and are the body’s primary source of energy. Whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, and oats are good examples. These digest slowly which regulates blood glucose and insulin levels and helps one feel full for longer. Eating 8 servings from this group each day is recommended.
Healthy fats are important for the maintenance of healthy skin, nails, and cells as well as for the function of the brain and heart. Most of these fats are found in meat, fish, nuts, and seeds, and include; omega-3, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats. One should avoid products containing trans fats however, as these are not healthy.
Protein is the main “building material” of the body and also a good source of energy. Foods rich in protein include meats, fish, eggs, beans, and dairy products. They also contain important vitamins and minerals which are essential to growth and repair of body tissues. A person should consume 2-3 servings per day. Dairy products supply protein and also calcium which helps maintain teeth and bones; 3 servings of dairy daily are recommended.
Choosing nutritious foods in proper quantity from the food groups is a major part of health eating, as is the timing of one’s meals. It is better to eat a larger breakfast to fuel the body with energy, and supplement it with smaller meals throughout the day as this optimizes the body’s metabolism. Not taking large portions of food is also important in order that the daily caloric intake is not too high. Eliminating altogether or only occasionally consuming foods high in refined starches, sugars, and trans fats is also advisable.