A healthy diet provides the body with the necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals to maintain the organs, tissues and cells to function properly. A diet that lacks the necessary nutrients can result in many different health problems such as tiredness, lack of energy, growth and development. It is very important to know the types of food that can either benefit or harm our body. The basic components of a healthy diet are the following:
Protein is a substantial element of every cell in our body. It is responsible for building and repairing tissues, building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Our body also needs protein to make body chemicals, hormones and enzymes.It is important to include high-protein foods in our daily diet as they contain many great benefits to our body. Here are some benefits of consuming high-protein foods:
- Boosting recovery after exercise
- Decreasing muscle loss
- Building lean muscle
- Balancing a healthy weight
- Curbing hunger
Protein comes from a variety of sources, such as meat, poultry, fish, milk, soy, eggs, nut, nut butters, beans and legumes. Our body must have 5-6 ounces of protein per day depending on age and sex.
Fat is an essential nutrient that our body must have to function normally. In fact, it is also the most powerful energy source of our body; it contains more than twice as much energy as proteins or carbohydrates provides. Fat is responsible for building blocks for the cells, carries vitamins A, D, E and K through the bloodstream and absorb them into the body. It is also needed to support growth, development and regulation of body temperature. Although fat has many benefits in our body, consuming more than our body requires can result to various health problems such as obesity. It is important for us to know the types of fat that would be beneficial or harmful to our body. Fat is divided into two groups:
The Good Fats (Unsaturated fatty acids)
- They are the essential fats that our body needs for normal growth and development. They provide structural components for tissues. They are crucial for renewal, growth and flexibility of cell membranes. Most importantly, they help control blood cholesterol concentrations.
- The main sources of fat are vegetable oils such as sunflower, rapeseed, olive, soybean, corn and linseed. Products such as margarines and mayonnaise are also rich of unsaturated fatty acids.
The Bad Fats (Saturated fatty acids)
- These are the fatty acids that have to be consumed in moderation as they raise your cholesterol level. High cholesterol is the major cause of health problems such as heart attack and stroke.
- They can be found in animal products such as butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, cream, and fatty meats. Vegetable oils such as coconut, palm, palm kernel oil also contain saturated fats.
Carbohydrates are definitely part of a healthy diet. Although they are the ones to get blamed when people gains weight, they are incredibly important as they provide the necessary nutrients that our body needs. Glucose is a form of carbohydrates that fuels our body with energy. Carbohydrates fights diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. They can also help reduce and control weight. Carbohydrates are divided into three groups, which is sugar, starch and fiber. Sugar supplies our body the energy required for daily activities and they can be found in fruits, vegetables, milk and milk derivatives. Starch can be found in grains, beans, peas and rice. Whole grains, dry beans, bran, soya beans and peas are vegetables that highly contain fiber. Since carbohydrates can be responsible for weight gain or reducing weight, it is important to know which carbohydrates are good for your health. Here are some list of carbohydrates to include in your healthy diet:
Fiber-rich vegetables and Fruits
- Fresh fruits like watermelons, raspberries, grapes, blueberries, pears and plums provides fiber, a lot of water and sugar.
- They provide fiber and micronutrients like potassium, magnesium and selenium. Whole grains provide additional benefits in our body, they can be in a form of bread and other similar products.
- Legumes such as beans, lentils and peas are rich in protein and fiber. They are free of cholesterol and saturated fats so they are highly recommended for people with heart disease.
Low-Fat Dairy Products (no added sugar)
- These products are low in saturated fats and calories. In fact, they also contain vitamins, calcium and mineral proteins that are good for the body.
Limit of Added Sugar
- Sugar consumption has to be limited. Added sugar has no benefit in our health. It can cause tooth decay and weight gain.
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients in our body. They carry out many roles that makes our bodies function properly. Vitamins and minerals are vital components in maintaining and boosting our immune system. They support growth and development and help our cells and organs perform properly. Vitamins and minerals must come from our diet. Minerals must be taken in large amounts while vitamins must be taken in small amounts as they can be toxic.
- Regulating temperature
- Transporting nutrients and oxygen
- Eliminating waste
- Giving cells form and stability
- Lubricating joints in our body
Another great tool to use is the Canada’s Food Guide. It provides the necessary information on the type and amount of food we should eat to help us meet our daily health requirements.Recommended Sites: