A well-balanced diet is so important these days to help keep children and adults alike at their happy and healthy best. It should include foods from the new food pyramid that have all the essential nutrients your body needs. This includes vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, fibers and the right kind of fats. A variety of foods from all of the food groups should be consumed on a regular basis. You'll miss out on many very important nutrients if you only eat food from one or two of the food groups. - The days of the "meat and potato man" are long gone.
A well-balanced diet includes only healthy fats. Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil contain fats that are good for you. It's best not to use olive oil for cooking, (lower smoke point can be toxic) but to use it as a dressing instead. - Use all oils conservatively.
Fruits and Vegetables
A balanced diet should really stress the vegetables and fruits, which can protect you from many illnesses, such as certain kinds of cancers, eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration, and digestive tract problems.
Steamed or raw vegetables give you the most nutrition, compared to boiled or stir-fry, and are higher in fiber. If youíre trying to lose a few pounds, all the more reason to eat more of them, lower in calories and fat - higher in fiber to keep you full longer.
You can get your protein from lean meats like chicken, turkey and fish as well as eggs. If you have to eat red meat, try to limit it as much as possible, and make sure itís lean red meat. Red meat tends to be higher in saturated fat, which raises bad cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease.
Beans such as navy beans, black beans, garbanzos and lentils are not only great sources of fiber, but also contain protein, vitamins and minerals. Fiber is important for a balanced diet, and extremely helpful in weight control. (The fiber "full factor".)
No-fat or low-fat dairy products can give you calcium and vitamin D, but using a supplement, as you grow older isnít a bad idea. If youíre not a milk drinker, or even if you are, low-fat yogurt is a good choice, itís got calcium and more protein than milk.
Breakfast cereals, pasta, rice, noodles and breads. The emphasis here, should be on whole grains, and stay away from white breads. Theyíre not bad for you, theyíre just not nearly as good for you as whole grains, with vitamins, healthy wheat germ and bran that are all but lost in the bleaching process that white bread goes through.
The whole grains contain more fiber, and itís been shown that fiber can prevent, and even help to treat problems with constipation and digestion. It can also decrease your risk of diabetes, lung diseases, stroke and certain kinds of cancer.
Water is also needed for a well-balanced diet. Drink plenty of water every day to keep your body hydrated and to help flush your body of toxins.
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