Every person wants to live a healthy life in this world. For leading a healthy life we need healthy food. Actually, food is a basic need of human life. We get energy from the food we consume and from that energy we do all our works for livelihood. Food helps in the growth of the body, recovery of the body, and in performing all the activities inside and outside of the body. But is it enough to eat only food? The answer will be NO!!! Because maybe the food you are having is not healthy or we can say your diet is not balanced. Now the question arises what is a balanced diet? So let’s know.
What is a balanced diet?
A diet that contains all the essential food components like protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, etc. in a definite proportion is called a balanced diet.
Each person does not need the same type of diet. It varies from person to person. It depends on various factors which we will discuss below.
Nutrients: All the food components like proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, etc. together are known as Nutrients.
Characteristics of a balanced diet.
1. It should contain all the nutrients in adequate amount.
2. The proper proportion for proteins, fats, and carbohydrates should be 1:1:4.
3. The food should be easily digestible.
4.It should be cooked easily.
Factors affecting a balanced diet :
1. Age: The amount of food which one should take depends upon the age of the individual. Like children needs a small amount of food, the young person needs a large amount of food and an old person needs a moderate amount of food. Their amount of diet is different but it should be in such a manner that it fulfills all the requirements of their body irrespective of the amount of their diet.
2. Sex: Balanced diet also depends on the sex of the individual. Male needs more amount of calories in comparison to female. Because of their structure of bodies. Males have more height and weight than that of the female.
3. Occupation: A person who works in fields and factories requires a much amount of balanced diet in comparison to a person who works in an office.
4. Climate: The climate in which we live also affects the balanced diet. It is a fact that we take more diet in winter than that of summer. Also, we take more amount of food which contain water in summer as those type of food keeps our body cool and in winter we prefer to have hot and spicy food which helps us to keep the body warm.
Elements of Diet and their Functions and Sources :
1. Proteins. Protein is the main constituent of a Balanced Diet especially for children and young people.
Functions: Proteins form new tissues, repair the broken tissues, regulate the balance of water and acids, transport oxygen and nutrients, and make antibodies. Our physical growth and development depend on proteins. It plays a crucial role in the mental development of our bodies. It should be kept in mind that neither we should take protein in excess nor in deficient. Excess of protein can cause heart diseases and stroke while deficiency of protein can cause diseases like marasmus and Kwashiorkor in children.
Sources: Protein in good quantities are found in Milk, pulses, egg, fish, cheese, cereals, and meat.
2. Vitamins. Vitamin is also an important constituent of food. Vitamins are very important for a healthy life. It increases our immunity power and protects us from many diseases. It is also important for the general development of the body.
There are two types of Vitamins:
1. Fat-Soluble Vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins.
2. Water Soluble Vitamins. Vitamins B, C are water-soluble vitamins.
Vitamin A is very important for the eyes, skin, and teeth. Night blindness and xerosis cornea can be caused due to deficiency of vitamin A. There may be adverse effects on the kidney, nervous system, and digestive systems due to deficiency of vitamin A.
Vitamin B includes 12 other vitamins in its category. These 12 vitamins have different roles in the growth of the body. The deficiency of vitamin B1 can be caused by ‘Beri-Beri’ disease.
Vitamin B2 is very important for skin and body tissues.
The deficiency of vitamin B3 causes grey hair.
The deficiency of vitamin B5 causes pellagra disease. It also helps in maintaining the bodyweight of an individual.
Vitamin B6 is important for the formation of hemoglobin. It also keeps the skin healthy.
Vitamin B12 may cause anemia.
Vitamin C helps in healing up a body. It is very important for a body to fight against diseases. It improves our immunity power. Deficiency of vitamin C causes ‘Scurvy’. It is found in citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, tomatoes, etc.
Vitamin D is helpful for the formation of good teeth and healthy bones. It enables the body to collect calcium and phosphorous and helps in the formation of bones and teeth through them. The deficiency of vitamin D causes Rickets, ill-shaped teeth, and softness of bones.
Vitamin E helps in keeping the reproductive system healthy. It improves fertility among men and women. Its deficiency causes the death of a child in the womb and miscarriages. It also helps in the proper functioning of sex glands in males and females.
Vitamin K is important for the coagulation of blood. The deficiency of this vitamin causes continues the flow of blood for a longer time during injury. Its deficiency also causes anemia.
Sources: Wheat, green vegetables, fruits, egg, fish, meat, milk, yeast, nuts, dry fruits, etc.
3. Carbohydrates. Carbohydrate is a chemical composition of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It acts as a fuel in the body. It provides energy to the body to do work and other activities. The quantity of carbohydrates one should take depends upon the work he does. Excess of carbohydrates changes into fats and it keeps on accumulating in fatty tissues and makes us fat. The deficiency of carbohydrates causes skin loose and wrinkles start appearing on the face. If it is not taken in enough quantity the body becomes lean and thin and the weight of the body starts decreasing.
Sources: Carbohydrate is found in rice, maize, jowar, bajra, pulses, gram, dry, pea, date, grapes, sugar, potato, banana, etc.
4. Fats. Fat is also an essential ingredient of food. It is made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It provides heat and energy to the body. Fat is also helpful in maintaining body temperature. It protects us from a hot and cold climate. It should be taken inaccurate quantity as an excess of fat makes us fat and causes various diseases like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc.
Sources: Ghee, butter, fish, oil, milk, coconut, food grains, mustard oil, and cottonseed, etc.
5. Water. Water is very essential for our body. Our blood contains 90% of water. Water helps in the transportation of oxygen and other nutrients to the cells of the body. It also helps in the excretion of harmful substances from the body. It is essential for maintaining body temperature. Normally an adult person should drink 2.5 -3 liters of water daily.
In conclusion, I would like to say that a balanced diet is key to a healthy life, that is, a balanced diet is very important for a healthy life. If we want to remain healthy, then do not just eat the food, take it in balance. A well-balanced diet is essential to every person.
In this blog, we discussed a balanced diet and learned the importance of it.
We do suggest that you should consult your dietician before making your diet chart. This will help you out to get a better and healthy diet.