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September 24, 2021
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Lifestyle

The Art of Balancing a Healthy Diet

What do we call a healthy diet?  How do we define a healthy diet?  A healthy diet is one that Is focused on improving overall health. it is a meal or set of meals where all the essential nutrients needed by the body is present. These nutrients consist of  Carbohydrates, Fiber, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Mineral. I usually like to include water. Though water has no nutritional value, it does a lot for/to the human body. As a matter of fact, 60% to 70% of the human weight is made up of water.

Now that we have understood that a healthy diet helps  maintain or improve your overall health. We must also understand that a healthy diet will keep you active and reduce the level of toxin in the body. However, a healthy diet should be able to provide your body with all the essential nutrients. That is to say, your meals can be balanced but not necessarily healthy for you. But if your meal is healthy for you (healthy diet), there is a 110% chance that it is a balanced meal/diet.

Let me give you a practical example. Eating pineapple on its own is healthy because it contains vitamins and fiber But it also has natural sugar. It may be okay for another person who is not diabetic but it is unhealthy for you who is diabetic. Another example; a diet full of vegetables, juices, salads, etc. will help in the proper functioning of the body, but can also reduce cholesterol level, which can be very harmful to the heart if it goes too low.

Here’s my point, we should strive more for a healthy diet that would balance all the essential nutrients we need to properly function. Without a balanced diet, the body is more prone to diseases, fatigue, poor performance, etc.

Your diet can affect your mood and sense of wellbeing, a cranky person may just need a balanced diet to turn that frown upside down. In children, poor diet can lead to developmental and growth problems, even poor academic performance. Nobody wants a dull child. Are you aware that Your diet can also affect your mental health. I don’t think You want that so why not eat properly and avoid it. Research has shown according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, 4 out of the 10 leading causes of death are caused by poor diet.

I’m not going to bore you by listing and explaining the essential nutrients the body needs, their importance and sources; I am sure you know most of them by now . However it’s important I brief you about them so you can also come up with a meal plan that is healthy, balanced and specific to you.

CARBOHYDRATES

one the body’s best source of energy , sometimes I’m think that’s why most African countries consume it a lot. Asides from needing the energy,it’s the cheapest option to purchase, It is also a good source of dietary fiber.
wholegrains (all kinds of rice, wheat, pasta, cereals, etc.); fruits, etc.

FIBER  

This helps lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, etc. it also aids in weight loss. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, bran, brown bread, cereal, oats are examples of fiber.

PROTEIN

Proteins have to be broken into amino acids. It cannot be synthesized in the body. It is important for proper development and repair of the brain, muscles, red blood, hair and other tissues. It is advisable to consume this more than every other nutrient ! However too much protein can be harmful to those with kidney diseases. Examples of proteins are Lean meat (chicken, fish, some parts of pork); legumes (beans, peas, lentils); nuts (almonds, groundnut, walnuts); diary produce (cheese, milk); eggs; soy based products.

FATS

There are two varieties of fat , the saturated fat and unsaturated fat . Animal based foods are high in saturated fat, While vegetable oils are higher in unsaturated fat. Good fat helps to maintain a healthy skin and hair,cushion vital organs,provide insulation and aid the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. It is advised to take foods rich in omega-3. These are found in some fishes, walnuts, vegetable based oil, groundnut, almonds, coconut, avocado

VITAMINS

We have different vitamins that perform different functions. Note however, that vitamins are taken in small amounts, We have fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K), which are absorbed with fat and can be stored in the body. Then we have water soluble vitamins (B Complex & C) which cannot be stored in the body so must be consumed daily.

VITAMIN A:  * perfect for vision *Aids in blood cell production *strengthens the immune system *aids in embryonic development.
VITAMIN C: *Helps to fight diseases and strengthen the immune system *Aids in the synthesis of collagen *It provides structure to blood vessels, bones and ligaments
VITAMIN E: *Acts as a disease fighting antioxidant *supports eye health
VITAMIN A- organ meat, oranges, vegetables

MINERAL

These constitute nutrients like iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium which have different functions like the different kinds of vitamins. They are also required to be consumed in little quantities. Iron is needed for the red blood cells to transport oxygen. Magnesium helps in bone structure, nerves and muscle.

Potassium helps with blood pressure, reduces the effect of sodium (salt), etc. Potatoes, tomatoes, white beans, yoghurt, bananas, soy beans, nuts and seeds, bran, halibut, low fat diary products, fish with bones, etc.

WATER

This helps to control body temperature; Carries nutrients and waste products from cells and generally aids cell function. consume more Regular water, milk, fruit juice, soup, fruits & vegetables that are high in water eg watermelon, orange etc

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