Most of us have busy lives and it’s important that we have enough nutrients to get us through the day. Whether it’s just breathing, working, exercising or even sitting around, all demand that we feel good, stay alert and perform in top condition.
Besides focused breathing and getting exercise, having the right nutrition makes the whole picture come together. What we eat, when we eat and how much we eat all contribute to having a healthy balanced diet which is the right formula for good health.
Why We Need a Balanced Diet
Since we all eat food it’s important to watch what we eat and try to have a healthy diet. It’s good for our physical and mental health to avoid the dangers of poor health, including risks like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression and cancer.
Avoiding health risks and making good choices are two main reasons to help us stay in top shape. This shows in us having enough energy and stamina to get our tasks done thoroughout the day.
How to Balance your Diet: The 7 Factors
Balancing our diet has many pluses but besides eating for pleasure, we need food to get nutrients, energy, vitamins and minerals. There are 7 main factors for balancing our diet which act as guidelines for proper dietary management.
The 7 Factors
The nutrients we need are contained within these 7 factors: protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water.
When we balance these we are well on our way to right outlook, healthy disposition and feeling good. Because balancing the diet is important we should pay attention to all of these factors.
Protein –Protein is an important part of every cell in the body and is used to build and repair tissues. It is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Protein is used a lot in supplement form although a healthy balanced diet can provide enough protein for us.
We get it from things like seafood, meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, beans and soy.
Although protein is essential to your diet, it is only needed in moderation.
Fat –Dietary fats are important to give your body energy and support cell growth.
They help protect your organs and keep your body warm. They also produce important hormones.
Fats are important in our diet and we get them from foods like Avocados, cheese, Whole eggs, fatty fish, nuts, chia seeds, Virgin olive oil and dark chocolate.
Your body definitely needs fat.
Carbohydrates –Carbs are an important part of our diet and are often an overlooked part. Eating carbs regularly can add many benefits.
First of all, you shouldn’t necessarily believe the conventional wisdom which says to take protein powders immediately after your workout. Specialists say that before, during, and after a workout, carbs are what your body needs. They’re what your body uses for fuel, and what your muscles run on.
Carbohydrates break down into glucose (body energy) and are found in foods like fruits, vegetables, breads, pasta, and dairy products.
U.S. guidelines suggest that between 45% and 65% of your calories should come from carbohydrates.
Fiber –Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. While most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules. Instead it passes through the body undigested and helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.
It has benefits like lowering risk for heart disease and diabetes, lowering cholesterol levels, and maintaining regular bowel movements. Eating enough good fiber can also help reduce toxins in the body.
Vitamins –Vitamins are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are required in small quantities in our diet. They are nutrients your body needs to develop and function properly and there are 13 essential vitamins: A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins.
You can usually get all your vitamins from the foods you eat and your body can also make vitamins D and K.
They are one of the most popular dietary supplements and a great addition to our diet plan. A visit to the health food store can show you hundreds of choices of the vitamins available. It’s good to research the vitamins you need and if you must then contact your doctor or health professional.
Minerals –Minerals, like vitamins, help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses them to perform different functions like building strong bones, making hormones or maintaining a normal heartbeat.
Some of the major minerals include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sulfur. It’s important to keep these levels up and also don’t forget to add iron.
They are not made by humans.
Water –The last of the 7 factors is the all important water, called the “universal solvent” because it is capable of dissolving more substances than any other liquid.
Water makes up a very large percentage of the body. The average adult human body is 50-65% water, while the percentage of water in infants is much higher, typically around 75-78% water.
Drinking water is one of the most important things to include in our day. It helps nourish and cleanse and is also good for having balanced thinking. It helps our well-being so be sure to drink enough water.
Including Supplements in our Diet
Balancing our diet with the 7 factors and thoughtful eating can often be enough to maintain good health. Quality foods and liquids are a natural way to keep us on a good track.
Today many people like to augment their diet with the use of dietary supplements, which come in many different forms. If a standard diet is not enough then adding supplements might be what you want, especially for athletes.
Do You Need to Add Dietary Supplements?
Athletes work hard and often look to dietary supplements for the added boost. But remember, most people, even athletes, can get almost everything supplements offer by eating sources of lean protein like meat, fish, chicken, and dairy products.
For that added boost the most popular type of supplement is a protein supplement. There are a few reasons why an ordinary athlete might want more protein in his or her diet:
- When you’re starting a program and working out is new to you
- When you’re amping up your workouts
- When you’re recovering from an injury
- If you’re going vegan
Also a growing teenager needs more protein so there are reasons for considering protein supplements.
Protein Supplement Dose
When looking at protein supplements it is best to use discretion and good common sense.
The average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, and athletes need more.
Some of these protein powders have 80 grams of protein per serving, which might be a lot, and too much protein can be hard on your kidneys and your liver.
Protein for Teens
For teens it is different.
The average teen needs 0.4 to 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. Teenage athletes, according to experts, need more like 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound per day.
They warn, however, against teens using protein supplements. Excessive protein can be hard on the kidneys. It also can lead to dehydration.
These risks can be avoided by having your teen get his protein from high protein foods in his normal diet.
Use Carbs for Workouts
For working out, don’t pay attention to the conventional wisdom saying to take protein powders immediately after a workout.
Experts say before, during, and after a workout, carbs are what your body needs. The body uses them for fuel, and it’s what your muscles run on.
They say protein is ok as a snack or meal replacement, but not immediately after a workout.
Protein powders are not really necessary if you have access to a normal, healthy diet.
Balancing our diet is the smart plan and we see there are simple ways to go about it. By following the guidelines and using good practical sense (avoiding the junk foods) we can watch what we eat to intelligently plan our diet for maximum gain.
As we say most of us are rather busy so the pluses are evident in keeping our diet sound. Nobody minds at all when they are feeling good, working good and all systems are go!
We hope you have enjoyed reading this ‘Definition Balanced Diet’ article and we invite you to leave any questions or suggestions in the comments section down below. We love to hear from you so follow us on Social media!
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