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- What is a good balanced diet?
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We all know that it is important to eat nutritious food, but what exactly does this mean? Basically, nutrition is the science that examines the relationship between diet and health. By having a good understanding of nutrition we are able to effectively reduce our chances of incurring health problems associated with poor nutrition which includes diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, scurvy, obesity or osteoporosis, as well as psychological and behavioral problems.
The key to preventing common diseases and their symptoms is good nutrition. The science of nutrition attempts to understand how and why specific dietary aspects influence health.
The idea behind nutrition is that the food you intake is broken down into compounds and elements which can then be used by the trillions of cells you have in your body. For nutrition in general, eating fresh unprocessed plant foods has demonstrated to be favourable compared to eating a diet based on processed foods. This is not what we want to hear, but we all know it! The reason why unprocessed foods provide better nutrition is because they slow digestion and have far more essential and vital nutrients per unit of energy. This short of this is better management of cell growth as well as regulation of blood glucose and appetite.
Another key nutrition finding is that regular medium sized meals (every 2 to 3 hours) has shown to help you both hormonally and metabolically. So it is easy to see how good nutrition will help you lose weight.
In a nutrition report by the United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO, 1996) the real challenge facing our larger community today is not starvation but in fact the malnutrition and deficiency of micronutrients found in common fruits and vegetables, to allow the body normal growth and maintain vital functions.
So how then do we use nutrition to look after ourselves properly? Well there are 6 main classes of nutrients we need for good nutrition and healthy body function: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.
To achieve a balanced diet the number of servings we require from each group is summarised below (nutrition requirements):
- Carbohydrates: 6 – 8
- Protein: 1 – 2
- Fats: 1
- Fruit: 2
- Vegetables: 5
- Water: 6
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- Full-fat yogurt.
- A piece of fruit.
- Baby carrots.
- Hard-boiled eggs.
- A handful of nuts.
- Some cheese and meat.
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