A Balanced Diet Is the Foundation of Good Health

vegetables, health, diet, food, massage recovery

Vegetables. Photo by Martin Cathrae via Flickr. Licensed under creative commons.

Apart from regular massage a healthy diet is essential for well-being.

There have been dozens of fad diets spawned over the last few decades – everything from totally vegan diets to restricted carbohydrates to the use of human hormones to diets that call for you to eat several pounds of lettuce every day. Considering how opposite to the dietary needs of the human body these diets are, it’s really not too surprising that they will ultimately fail.

Those who are looking for a magic diet to help them lose weight or maintain health are going to be disappointed: good health is based on normal portions of food included in a balanced diet.

The Elements of a Balanced Diet

Humans have evolved as omnivores, and this means that we actually eat a bit of everything. Carnivores like lions and tigers eat meat exclusively, and herbivores such as cows will only eat vegetation, but omnivores, which include quite a range of species, enjoy meat, vegetables, and fruit. Humans have added even more to the mix with dairy products and grains (usually in the form of cooked or baked goods).

Whether you are looking to lose weight or just want to make sure that you stay as healthy as possible, it’s important not only to eat a variety of foods, but also to eat sensible portions. The potentially healthiest diet will be defeated if you take in too many calories.

A balanced diet will make sure that your body will be able to provide you with the energy you need, for regrowth of cells and tissues, and for the proper functioning of your nervous system and brain.

  • Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They often contain trace elements and provide needed fibre. They are good raw or cooked.
  • Grains and products made from grains provide you with carbohydrates, which are the source of energy for your body. Whole grains are probably best, but those with special dietary needs can also enjoy refined grains without problem. The problem with this group of foods is that people tend to eat too many of them.
  • Dairy products like cheese, milk, and yoghurt not only are packed with protein, but they are also high in calcium to help keep bones strong and muscles functioning well.
  • Protein is essential in any person’s diet. Every day, millions of cells age and die and these cells must be replaced. Protein is what is used by your body to make new cells and tissues. Protein is especially important for growing children, but adults require it every day, too. Red meat, fish, eggs, and poultry are all good sources of protein, and you should include at least one serving of protein every day.
  • For people who are anxious to avoid animal sources of protein, there are a number of very good vegetative sources that will provide you with the healthly building blocks you need. Lentils and other legumes, such as beans and peas, pack a powerful protein punch. Chickpeas work well in vegetarian chilli and hummus, and tofu can be used in a number of ways as an animal protein substitute.
  • Although many dieters shudder in fear at the thought of including sugar and fats, there is a valid place for them. Sugar provides quick energy, and fats are needed for a number of essential purposes in the body. Fat is needed as a reservoir of energy and it also helps with temperature regulation, especially when the weather is cold. Fat is also required for the production of hormones. The secret, of course, is using fats and sugar in moderation, and avoiding trans fats.

Eating a balanced diet, with sensible portions, is the best way to maintain your ideal body weight, or actually to lose weight if you need to shed some pounds. Fad diets that rely on odd foods will seldom provide the nutrients you need to stay healthy, and they usually are not appetizing. Good food, from a variety of sources, is the key to good health.