We are all familiar with the notion of eating right. There is so much information about all sorts of healthy foods and their calorie values. There is enough being written about how vitamins are good for us and what are the rich sources of this nutrient. But rarely do we get to know the approximate quantity that is required by human body on daily basis. What makes a balanced diet? To make it a little simple let’s get an overview of what should make your daily dietary intake.
The key nutrients that are required for smooth functioning of the diet are proteins, fat, fiber, minerals, iron, carbohydrates, vitamins and calcium. A diet that includes all these essential nutrients, in proper portion, is known as a balanced diet. Based on the average calorie requirement for a male weighing 60 kilograms it is 2700 and for a female weighing 55 kilograms it is 2100.
Different age and lifestyles demand more intakes of certain nutrients to counter the deficiency and restore the balance. The following is the list of essential foods and nutrients that are recommended in the general dietary intake for an average person –
Chapatti/Rice: Carbohydrate is the most important fuel for human body. It is the refined carbohydrates like sugar, white bread, sodas and other processed foods that make you gain weight and make you prone to diabetes and heart diseases. A daily meal should consist of 4-5 portions of carbohydrates in a day.
Milk or Dairy Products: Dairy is an essential for calcium, protein, phosphorous and magnesium. In fact some recent studies even suggest that dairy can help you cut belly fat. A minimum serving of 1-2 glasses of dairy is required every single day.
Vegetables: Vegetables are the most important part of a balanced diet. A minimum of 3-5 servings of vegetables are required daily to get minerals, fiber, iron and most vitamins. The fiber in vegetables also helps regulate the use of sugars in human body while helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check. Eating vegetables is also linked to weight loss.
Fruits: One should eat at least 2 fruits a day to fulfill the requirement of vitamins in human body. Fruits besides providing essential vitamins boost immunity to keep away from infections with its anti-oxidant properties to destroy free radical.
Pulses/Poultry and Other Meat: They are the main source of protein. If you believe in the myth that eating extra protein will add muscle mass then you are wrong. The human body rather process according to the requirement of the muscle and the extra protein gets saved as fat in the fat cells. 2-3 servings are more than sufficient for daily protein intake.
Water: Human body is 70-75% water and forms the bulk of blood and tissue fluid and is therefore essential for transporting nutrients, hormones and waste products around the body. Water is also essential to help digest the food and generate the energy required for body movements and other physical activities. Minimum of 10-12 glasses are important for normal functioning of the body.
Fat: Extremely important for absorption of vitamins in the body. It also helps maintain the elasticity of skin. A person requires at least 4-5 teaspoons of oil/butter every day. So for all those people who consider fat as their enemy should start reconsider and add it to their diet. In fact the real enemies are the Trans-fat and Saturated fat usually found in processed food. Fat can also help you improve memory and build muscle.