Like vehicles need fuel to run, living organisms need food to grow. A healthy diet leads to a healthy and happy life- this is a common belief. And yes, it’s true. Your body requires a healthy combination of different foods and fluids to function properly on day-to-day basis and to maintain good health. A healthy diet comprises of three basic nutrients: Protein, fats and carbohydrates along with small amount of minerals and vitamins in the right proportion. To be precise – balance is the keyword that triggers good health.
Your intake of food or food requirement depends on your lifestyle and how active you are. In case of a demanding manual job, your energy needs may be higher, while if you are in a sedentary job, food requirement may be less.
Ensure that your food intake has the right amount of nutrients to avoid deficiency or over-intake of a particular nutrient:
- Proteins- about 30%
- Carbohydrates- at least 40%
- Fats- 30% or less
However, there may be times when your body may demand more of particular nutrients, for instance during pregnancy. During such times, consult your dietician and follow the recommended diet.
Protein is a nutrient your body requires for proper growth and maintenance. It plays a major role in building body muscles because of its response to exercise. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins play a vital role in building new tissues of muscles. They also repair the damaged tissues.
Meat, fish and eggs are considered to be rich sources if protein and a powerhouse of energy. Fruits, beans, peas, nuts and lentils are protein rich sources for strict vegans.
Known as the main source of energy, carbohydrates are made up of units of sugar. Carbohydrate is an important nutrient to be included in the diet. However, its excess intake results into weight gain. Carbohydrate foods in natural state are high in fibre, low on fat and rich sources of vitamins.
To follow a diet rich in carbohydrates go for sugars and starches mainly available in bread, potatoes, rice, cereals, pasta. Besides carbs, these foods are also rich in fibre. Wholegrain and unprocessed foods like wholemeal pasta, brown bread and brown sugar too are healthier sources of this nutrient.
Fats are the triesters of glycerol and fatty acids. Fat also known as lipid, helps to carry fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E & K into your blood stream. Besides this, it supplies energy to the body, keeping it warm. It also cushions various organs of the body.
Though fat is an important nutrient, balance should be maintained as too much of saturated fat proves to be a root-cause of many health problems. Rich sources of saturated fats are red meat, milk and milk products like cheese and butter, cakes, biscuits, ice-creams, cakes and chocolates.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins and mineral as nutrients build a tough base for your immune system. They also support normal growth and development, and help cells and organs of the body to function properly. In case you take a diet, which lacks adequate amount of vitamins and minerals, you may go for supplement tablets that will provide necessary nutrition to your body.
These micro-nutrients are found in abundance in fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, meat, fish and wholegrain. You may even go for multi-vitamin tablets as daily supplements. However, during pregnancy or breastfeeding, you may need a higher supply of micro-nutrients.