What is a Balanced Diet?
When we talk about a balanced diet it means choosing a variety of foods from the different food groups – specifically: vegetables and fruits; protein (meat, fish, eggs, beans, soy); dairy (low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt); carbohydrates (starchy foods like rice, pasta, potatoes and bread – preferably wholegrain or wholewheat varieties); and a small quantity of healthy fats such as the unsaturated fat from olive oil. Avoid sugary drinks and foods, and foods with added saturated fat like processed meats, chips, pastries, and pies. Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and to help your body function better.
What are the Benefits of a Balanced Diet?
- Prevents diseases and infections. When you eat the full range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients you improve your immune system and your healthy diet may even help prevent diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
- Helps you control your weight. Most people at some point want to lose weight or gain weight – eating a balanced diet helps you control your weight and maintain it over time. It is not feasible to be on a weight-loss diet forever – a balanced diet is the only way to healthily control your weight in the long term.
- Improves your mental health. Getting the right mix of nutrients can help to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety – looking after yourself by eating well is essential as you take steps to good mental health.
- Good for growth. A balanced diet is crucial for children and adolescents. As the body grows it is important to receive the right nutrients so that cells are built and maintained and the body grows at the right pace.
- Better skin and hair. A healthy balanced diet also improves your looks. Eating well contributes to healthy skin and hair and a “glow” that makes you look younger.