A diet that contains sufficient carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals and other essential nutrients to meet the needs of the body is called a balanced diet. A balanced diet should consume enough calories according to personal needs. It also provides positive health results through biologically active phytochemicals such as dietary fiber, antioxidants and nutraceuticals.
In a balanced diet, a person's total calories are divided into three major nutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fat.
60-70% of calories come from carbohydrates
10-12% from protein
20-25% comes from fat .
A healthy and balanced diet can prevent all types of malnutrition and non-communicable diseases (NCD), such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer .
Food groups in a balanced diet:
In a balanced and healthy diet, there are five main food groups: fruits, vegetables, dairy products, protein, and grains to ensure that all the necessary nutrients for the body are met.
Eat more fruits in a balanced diet. The fruit tastes pleasant and provides natural sugar. It can be added as a dessert in a meal or as a snack. Fruits are rich in fiber, antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals. It is recommended to take 3-5 servings of fruit a day, prefer the whole fruit to the juice, because the fiber and nutrients in the juice are not rich. Some fruit juices have added sugar during the manufacturing process, which is considered empty calories compared to whole fruit juices.
Vegetables should be eaten every day to get enough nutrients. It is recommended to consume 3-5 servings of vegetables a day. There are more sub-categories of vegetables, orange or red vegetables, legumes such as beans and peas, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, leafy green vegetables such as spinach and non-starchy vegetables such as radishes and bitter gourds. Vegetables in these subgroups should be taken within a week to obtain different nutrients. It is taken in raw or cooked forms such as salads, grilled, soup bases, smoothies and juices.
Grains are mainly divided into two categories: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains include oats, barley, whole wheat, pasta, and brown rice. Refined grains include white bread and baked goods. According to recommendations, you should consume 6-7 servings from grains, preferably whole grains, compared to refined grains.
It is recommended to consume 2 servings of low-fat dairy products a day, including milk, yogurt, cheese, buttermilk and soy milk. Dairy products provide a variety of nutrients, such as calcium, protein, and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health. Vegetarians can choose other sources of dairy products such as coconut milk, soy milk, soy milk and almond milk.
Protein is the most basic food category, divided into two subgroups, animal protein includes meat, fish and poultry (chicken and eggs), plant protein includes beans, legumes, soy products and nuts. It is recommended to consume 1-2 servings of protein a day because it helps to develop and maintain muscle mass, growth, wound healing and many other important functions
The role of a balanced diet in weight loss:
A balanced diet and moderate physical activity play an important role in weight loss. In a balanced diet, increase the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein, and reduce refined grains and unhealthy sources of fat such as trans fats and saturated fats. By doing some physical activities, such as walking 30 minutes a day or doing some aerobic exercises, you can enhance the weight loss effect.
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2-World Health Organization. (2020, April 29). Healthy diet. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet
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4-NHS. (2019, March 27). Eating a balanced diet. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/