Food is fuel for your body. This is the most important idea to remember when it comes to nutrition. It is also the most positive-healthiest way to think about food. We should avoid considering food as a past-time, reward, obsession, or temptation. We all have to agree, food is the fuel your body uses to think, work and play. In order for our body to function at its best, the following are fundamental nutrients that are considered a balanced diet.
Carbohydrates have been looked at with distrust for the past few decades with the dawn of low-carb diets. Yet they are the basic source of energy for everyone. When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose for immediate energy needs. Unused glucose is changed into glycogen for short-term storage and unused carbs will be turned into fat for long-term storage. For all of us to maintain healthy body weight, we want enough carbohydrates to fuel our daily activity, but not so much that we are storing excess fat.
Proteins are made up of amino acids. These are the building blocks of the muscles and organs in your body. You need an adequate amount of protein, especially after a workout for muscle repair and recovery. Your body can get the necessary amino acids for health from daily food. There are nine essential amino acids (out of twenty) that are found in most animal protein sources. For vegetarians, they have to make smart combinations to fulfil protein needs. For example, a plate of rice and beans or lentils is considered a complete protein, with all nine essential amino acids. You can try multi-grain flour for bread/chapatis or mixed-dal to get all essential amino acids.
Fats as nutrient has received a bad name in recent years, yet the body requires fat for proper functioning. Fats play a vital role in long-term energy storage. They also offer padding and protection for vital organs. The aim for a balanced diet should not be the elimination of fats but “eating” the right fats. You want to eat polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats such as those found in fish, nuts, olive oil and peanut butter. You have to reduce the number of saturated fats such as those found in dairy products and red meats. You should stay from trans fatty foods such as many baked goods, fried fast foods, and various ultra-processed foods.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential in our food on a daily basis, as the body uses them as part of many important processes like cell repair and energy conversion. It is better to avoid the bottles of vitamin supplements (unless prescribed), as your body is designed to get vitamins from the foods you eat. When you do shopping in the supermarket food section, notice the range of natural colours in vegetables and fruits. It is a safe assumption, that the more colourful your diet, the more vitamins you are getting. We should eat our greens, reds, yellows, and a few purples as well.
You can get the full nutrition you need from a healthy, balanced diet. Focus on minimally processed foods with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. The food you eat is a delicious fuel.