Blog - What is a Balanced Diet?
It is true; what we eat literally determines many of the factors about ourselves. There are obvious examples of what happens if you don’t maintain a balanced diet such as, people who eat a lot foods high in saturated fat are generally visibly overweight, and scarier still are carrying a lot of the fat internally around their organs and in their blood vessels. It is common knowledge that smoking is known to cause a decrease in the efficiency of the lungs and the cardio-respiratory system along with a whole host of other side-effects.
However, there are less obvious changes which occur in the body as a result of what we consume as well. We influence our internal processes such as hormone release by eating the foods we do. This has a dramatic effect on our performance and our ability to perform everyday tasks. In this respect we are like machines, despite having efficient mechanisms to recycle our energy, we require fuel to keep going. So just like the engine of your car or the bus you get to work, if we don’t have sufficient fuel to power us we will stop working, no matter what lane we’re in.
Like cars there are different types and qualities of fuels. We need to be ensuring we are getting the best fuels to optimise our performance. By eating the right combinations and quantities of foods we can improve our standard of living across the board. Whether it be having more energy throughout the day, encountering less illness or slowing the effects of ageing; to name a few advantages. Suffice to say a healthy diet is paramount in achieving the best for yourself both mentally and physically.
There are 3 macronutrients:
- Carbohydrates – 55-60% of your total daily calorie intake
- Protein – 10-15% of your total daily calorie intake
- Lipids (Fats) – 30% of your total daily calorie intake
It is important that you eat the right balance of these macro nutrients. Too much of either one can have undesirable effects on the body. You should be looking to have the amounts specified above:
What makes this a little trickier to get your head around is that there are many different types of these macronutrients, all of which vary in how beneficial they are to the body.
As a rule, always be looking to eat complex carbs such as vegetables. When eating starchy carbs, choose wholegrain varieties, as these release energy slowly throughout the day and will stop you reaching for sugary snacks. Eat complete proteins, which are generally in products from animal origin. If you’re vegetarian or vegan you will need to eat a variety of vegetables, legumes or grains to acquire a complete protein. Soy beans however, are deemed a complete protein. Choose to eat good unsaturated fats which aid brain function, maintain water balance and improve immune response and metabolism, to name a few of the benefits. Beware of saturated fat, there is no need for it in the diet. Cut it out as much as possible, it can lead to serious conditions like heart disease, stroke, obesity and cancers.
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