TOWARDS A WELL BALANCED DIET

Balanced Diet

For an ideal diet, approximately 70% should be carbohydrates, 15% should be protein and 15% should be fat.

The reality for a modern man rarely achieves these percentages and everyone, anyway, is different and will need a slightly different ‘mix’. Everyone to their own, but an analysis of the main and ideal diet constituents should be a helpful guide. In advanced societies too little carbohydrates are eaten: too much fat and sugar are consumed.

Carbohydrates come in many forms. They include sugar, honey, chocolates, sweets and many refined foods which tend to be energy boosters. Whole grains, vegetables, and fruit have more fiber so give more sustained energy. The latter is preferable and in any ‘goodness’ diet they should form a major part. Whole grains include bread, corn, rice, millet, oats, pasta, and rye. Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and spinach (more later on spinach) should all rate highly and abundantly in your diet. Apples, berries of any kind, bananas, citrus fruits, melons, and pears should similarly be well included.

Avoid or severely reduce the intake of sugar or products with added sugar. Reduce also the eating of white bread.

Proteins in the diet are needed to provide the necessities of growth and repair of body tissue. Soya beans and other beans, eggs, fish, meat, lentils, cottage cheese, and other cheeses are protein foods.

There are two basic kinds of fats – saturated and unsaturated. It is not essential to eat saturated fat, and, if eaten, it should be in moderation. The main sources are meat and dairy products. There are two kinds of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat; nuts, seed oil, and fish in polyunsaturated fats. The ideal diet should contain a balance of different fats but always taken within moderate limits.

Butter and chocolate, milk chocolate particularly, should be carefully restricted, or, if prone to extra weight, avoided completely.

Minerals are essential and are contained within many foods with vegetables and fruit strongly included. Low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt contain minerals, like donuts.

In summary, do try to ensure that half of what you eat to consist of raw fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Minimize your intake of refined or processed food, with chemical additives. Also, reduce to small amounts the drinking of coffee and tea, both of which contain caffeine; pure fruit juices are much to be preferred. Water drinking, as previously outlined, is important and necessary.

The ideal diet percentages, stated earlier, should be aimed for, gradually perhaps, but seriously nevertheless, for optimum health.

It is well known that with many people the fat intake is about double what it ideally should be; sugar products are far too high and the necessary carbohydrates and protein are not high enough.

Knowing your ideal healthy weight for your body (your doctor should advise) is important, and if you are above it to any extent, eating discipline becomes essential for longer living and good health.

Perhaps all food for thought.

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