A healthy diet is simply one which enables the body to maintain or enhance overall good health. The primary focus of a healthy diet is to ensure that the body receives all the nutrients it needs for normal function. A good diet not only ensures that the body has all the elements it requires to function but also to ensure that the body is kept well fed. A healthy diet also gives the body important nutrients: protein, minerals, vitamins, and necessary calories.
There are a number of factors which determine a healthy diet. These include both quality and quantity of food. For example, some people have a very low intake of saturated fat but still suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. Some people can eat large amounts of meat and dairy products but still remain prone to cancer, heart disease, or other serious ailments. Similarly, a balanced diet can be classified as healthy or unhealthy depending on how much of each the individual consumes.
One of the most nutritious foods on earth is fruit. The majority of Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables contain essential nutrients in great amounts, such as fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants. When consumed in the proper proportions, fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of health benefits. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides a great deal of energy, including strength, stamina, concentration, and mental clarity.
Whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. Whole-grain foods include oats, bran, barley, and other cereals. Oatmeal is a perfect example. It consists of 80% air, making it highly absorbable, thus providing high levels of nutrients. Similarly, whole grains such as barley and oats are great sources of magnesium and potassium, which play a vital role in regulating and balancing blood pressure.
A healthy diet must also contain a variety of protein sources. Animal products are a poor substitute for vegetables in a healthy diet. Lean meats contain great amounts of protein, but they lack the essential amino acids that are found in fruits and vegetables. Protein provides B vitamins, which help regulate thyroid function and help prevent heart disease. Lean meats are also low in fats and cholesterol, which are two factors that contribute to heart disease.
Vegetables and fruits are a complete source of nutrients, especially when raw. However, cooking makes many nutrients lose their vitamins and other beneficial nutrients. A good example of this is the avocado, which has very high nutritional value when boiled. Cooking destroys most of the beneficial nutrients in vegetables, which makes them poor substitutes for a healthy diet.
Whole-grains and vegetables are rich in fiber. Fiber is known as a natural appetite suppressant and acts as a metabolism booster, resulting in a more balanced diet. A diet that is rich in fiber ensures that there is an efficient use of calories in the body, which helps you control your weight. Less calories burned equals less weight. Fruits and veggies contain essential nutrients like potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and niacin.
If you want to lose weight, a healthy diet should include foods that have a low calorie content. This means that you need to cut back on processed, fatty, fast foods and sweets, fried foods, breads, potatoes, soda, etc. Instead, choose foods that are high in complex carbs, but low in fat and calories. This way, you can achieve your weight loss goals and still keep your diet healthy.
Fruits and veggies are a source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Complex carbohydrates consist of two or more monosaccharides and one polysaccharide. These nutrients are broken down into simple sugars by the body. This results in spikes in blood sugar and subsequent insulin release. These factors cause spikes in energy levels and eventual collapse in appetite.
Following the healthy guidelines recommend limiting the amount of saturated fats and processed carbohydrates, but you should also watch your consumption of dairy products and food additives like saccharine. In addition, eat lean meats, poultry, fish, and eggs. Limit your consumption of breads, pastas, and potatoes. Instead, opt for rice, quinoa, or other grains that provide you with more nutrients without the excess calorie.
It is important to limit your sodium intake to reduce high blood pressure and avoid cardiovascular diseases. The healthy guidelines recommend limiting your salt intake to less than 2 tablespoons for every meal and keep your intake under a safe range for your height and weight. When cooking meals, use water or a minimal-salt solution to reduce your sodium intake. If you do regularly eat salty foods, replace them with healthier alternatives.