May 3, 2011

A Healthy Diet is a Balanced Diet

           There are many different types of diets, like the Atkins diet, the Zone diet, the South Beach diet and many more. It is important to remember that a diet that limits portions to a very small size or that excludes certain foods entirely to promote weight loss may not be effective over the long term.
It is much easier to maintain a diet that takes into account the foods that you like and dislike and also include combinations of foods with enough calories and nutrients for good health.
When planning your diet it is important that you consider what calorie level is appropriate for you. Is the diet nutritionally balanced? Will this diet be practical and easy to follow? Will the diet be maintainable for the rest of your life? The below information will show you what to look out for in a diet.
A diet program must be responsible and safe; therefore, I consider a balanced diet the key to a healthy lifestyle and a great physique.
To obtain all the nutrients that our bodies require, we have to eat the right mix of foods. This means eating a variety of foods from different food groups that together contain all the vitamins, minerals and fuel, in the form of the proteins, carbohydrates and fats, our bodies’ needs.

A balanced and healthy diet will include:
1. Adequate protein. Adequate protein is important because it prevents muscle tissue from breaking down and repairs all body tissues such as skin and teeth. To get adequate protein in your diet, make sure you eat 2-3 servings from the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group on the Food Guide Pyramid every day. These foods are all good sources of protein. The average woman 25 years of age and older should get 50 grams of protein each day, and the average man 25 years of age and older should get 65 grams of protein each day.
2. Adequate carbohydrates. At least 100 grams of carbohydrates per day are needed to prevent fatigue and dangerous fluid imbalances. To make sure you get enough carbohydrates, eat 6 to11 servings from the Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group on the Food Guide Pyramid every day.
3. Adequate vitamins and minerals. Eating a wide variety of foods from all the food groups on the Food Guide Pyramid will help you get the vitamins and minerals you need. If you eat less than 1,200 calories per day, you may benefit from taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement.
4. A daily fiber intake of 25 to 35 grams. Adequate fiber helps with proper bowel function. If you were to eat 1 cup of bran cereal, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of kidney beans, a medium-sized pear, and a medium-sized apple together in 1 day, you would get about 30 grams of fiber.
5. No more than 30 percent of calories, on average, from fat per day, with less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat (such as fat from meat, butter, and eggs). Limiting fat to these levels reduces your risk for heart disease and may help you lose weight. In addition, you should limit the amount of cholesterol in your diet. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in animal products such as meat and eggs. Your diet should include no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day (one egg contains about 215 milligrams of cholesterol, and 3.5 ounces of cooked hamburger contain 100 milligrams of cholesterol).
6. At least 8 to 10 glasses, 8 ounces each, of water or water-based beverages, per day. You need more water if you exercise a lot.

Finally, do not be tempted to skip breakfast or any meal to lose weight!
While skipping a meal will reduce your calorie intake for that hour, it will leave you much hungrier later on.
Not only you will overeat to compensate, but you will often make bad choices to fill the gap: a cereal bar is not as healthy as a bowl of cereal or as filling, leading you to “need” something extra for lunch.
Irregular eating habits also disrupt your body's metabolism, which makes it harder to lose weight in the first place.
All these things will influence your health in a positive way. But they will work only if you apply them. The only thing that is holding you back is…you. So take action now!