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Why is a Balanced Diet Important?

Stephen Rampur Mar 16, 2020
A balanced diet is a common sense that a person who is more active needs to eat more, and the one who is less active needs to eat less. Eating right type of food in right amounts and proportions as per your body's needs is important.
Wonder why celebrities look the way they do? How some people manage to maintain that fab body while most of us wear only the clothes which manage to hide our belly fat and bulky arms? Why some people never have to see the doctor while some are wasting half their salary in clearing up long hospital bills. The answer lies in their diet.
Not just some fad diet that they are following, but a proper, healthy one, where they don't starve, but eat. Contrary to the belief of avoiding specific food groups, a balanced diet actually means eating all kinds of foods so as to provide the body with all the nutrients that it needs for its day-to-day functioning.
A balanced diet focuses on two main aspects:

- Eating the right type of foods.
- Eating in right quantity.

None of the these two are mutually exclusive. Each food group contains different kinds of nutrients, and our body definitely needs all of these, but in different amounts, and it varies from person to person.
When it comes to adopting a healthy diet, one size does not fit all. Everyone leads a different lifestyle, comes from different backgrounds, has different professions and fitness levels. All food is good when eaten as per your body's needs. Yes! Even fats and carbs. How? Let's see.

What It Includes


Its known that carbohydrates are classified as simple and complex. But what also needs to be known is that they are also classified depending upon their glycemic index as fast and slow carbs. Fast carbs are the ones that get converted to fat quickly, while slow carbs don't get stored as fats and provide us with energy.
Slow carbs have a high fiber content and a low glycemic index. These are found in oats, barley, whole-wheat bread and pasta, all the lentils, as well as in brown rice. These provide the body with all the energy that it needs for carrying out the day-to-day functions.
Fast carbs have a low fiber content and high glycemic index and you should not eat these along with a meal, but eat them as a meal by itself in form of  biscuits, cakes, pastries, white rice, cold drinks, and sugar. Keep these limited to twice a week. Some fast carbs like fruits can be consumed within ten minutes of your workout to boost your energy levels.
A well-balanced diet includes about 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates in each meal. You need slow carbohydrates as:

- They regulate the bowel movement due to their high fiber content.
- They keep the hormones balanced.
- They stimulate the functioning of the immune system.
- They generate powerful antioxidants that protect the body cells from getting damaged.

Proteins play various roles in the functioning of our body. Their primary function is to build and repair the body cells. Proteins are as necessary as carbohydrates when it comes to maintaining a proper diet. Not only do they help you lose unnecessary fat, they also help in increasing the circulation and mobilization of the stored fat.
They also help in making antibodies that help us fight against infections. Proteins are found in high quantity in eggs, chicken, fish, milk and milk products. You should include about 50 to 175 grams of protein in your daily meals.

The belief that fats are bad for our body is nothing but a myth. They are just as necessary for the body as the other food groups, but only in smaller amounts. Fats protect our vital organs like the heart, kidney, liver, etc. They lubricate the joints and also transport the fat-soluble vitamins A, K, E, D around the body.
You should have only 65 to 85 grams of fat each day. Seafood, nuts, milk and milk products, olives and flax seeds, are good sources of fats (monounsaturated fats) which should be consumed daily. Sources of saturated fats like red meat, deep-fried foods, biscuits, cakes and pastries should be avoided.
Vitamins and Minerals:

Vitamins and minerals helps human body to utilize the energy that it gets from carbs, proteins and fats. These are found in all kinds of fruits and vegetables. They act in our body as catalysts and co-enzymes. They are needed for various reasons ranging from the growth and development of the body to regulating the hormones.
Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble vitamins, which are found in milk, green leafy vegetables, all colorful fruits, vegetable oils, oats and whole grain. Since they are fat soluble, they are easily stored in the body, and hence should not be consumed in excess.
Vitamins C and B are water-soluble vitamins, which should be consumed everyday. They are needed to produce hormones, maintain the respiratory system, to protect us against heart diseases, and to aid digestion. These are found in eggs, cheese, fish and nuts. Aim on eating fruits with different colors.
Minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and copper are very essential for the body. They maintain the health of our bones and joints, regulate blood pressure, prevent acne and wrinkles, etc. They are found in milk and milk products, green leafy vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, and whole grains.

Fiber helps body in healthy digestion. Fiber is found in cucumber, beetroot and carrots. When eaten before meals to fill the stomach, thereby preventing us from overeating. Try eating unprocessed foods that are rich in fiber, e.g. brown rice, barley, legumes and nuts.

The vegetables and fruits available in the market today go through a lot of processing. Due to this and poor storing conditions, the nutrient content of these become comparatively low. After adding different kinds of seasonings and sausages while cooking, the amount of nutrients that our body finally absorbs is very low.
Taking supplements to make up for the same ensures proper nutrition of the body. The supplements that our body needs regularly are vitamin A, B, E and C supplements, and mineral supplements of zinc, calcium, chromium and selenium. However, it is always necessary to consult your doctor before starting on one.

Without water, all the carbs, proteins, vitamins and minerals that you consume are a pure waste. The basic reason why our body is dehydrated is today's lifestyle. Too much of processed food, aerated drinks, and consumption of lot of caffeine - all of these leaves the body dehydrated.
If your body is not hydrated, your muscles contract, your joints start hurting, and the skin loses all its glow. Plus, it also interferes with the proper functioning of the heart, lungs and kidneys. Drinking up to 10 glasses a day is a must. You should always sip water in intervals as gulping too much water at the same time leads to water retention.

Importance of a Balanced Diet

Prevents Infections and Diseases

Consuming all foods in a well-balanced proportion will help your body prevent many infections and disorders as the body gets all the required nutrients. Not only does it keep you physically fit, but mentally alert too.

Controls Weight

The busy lifestyle is taking a toll on people's health. Eliminating carbs and fats from your diet is harmful. It is not starving that is going to make you lose weight, it is eating properly. Following a balanced diet is the only key to maintaining proper weight.

Promotes Healthy Body Growth

If the body is getting all the essential nutrients regularly, it will certainly be fit. It would be away from infections and diseases, which in turn will promote healthy body growth and maintenance.
A balanced diet should especially be implemented in the routine of a growing child or a teenager. Plus, you would be able to easily perform physical tasks without any exertion on the body.

Keeps You Mentally Fit

A balanced diet would also be beneficial to the state of mind. Because, if both, body and mind are in a good state, they would coordinate with each other in better way. It is also beneficial for boosting your memory. It prevents you from feeling drowsy or weak.

Helps You Look Beautiful

The glow that you see on people's skin and the shine in their hair is not always a result of various beauty and hair products but their diet. If provided with necessary nutrients, the skin and hair also become healthier. A balanced diet also prevents our body from aging.
The truth is, no nutrient can work in isolation. They all need to be eaten in combination to reap maximum benefits. A good health can be gained only when all carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, etc., are eaten in the right quantities.
For a healthy body, it is not just a balanced diet that is essential, it has to be combined with the proper amount of sleep and exercise. These three things, when included in your daily routine, will ensure that you not only have a healthy body but also a healthy mind.
So, go ahead and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Don't wait for the 1st of the month or even the next Monday. Because when it comes to being healthy, the time is NOW!
Disclaimer: It is recommended that you consult a dietitian or a nutritionist before starting out on any kind of diet. A personalized diet will be more beneficial for your overall health.