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What Are Some Components of a Healthy Diet?

by GetHealthyShape
What Are Some Components of a Healthy Diet?

What Are Some Components of a Healthy Diet?

A healthy diet does not result in harm when used. Any healthy diet has to consist of balanced meals. In other words, a healthy diet is a balanced diet.

What is a balanced diet?

This is a daily meal plan to provide your body with correct nutrients and in the right amounts to keep it functioning optimally. Essentially, your body requires different nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fats and oils, and mineral ions, to function well. Each of these food components has a role to play in the body, but most importantly, these foods are metabolized to provide energy at some point.

These food components that make up a balanced diet also make up a healthy diet. However, whenever we talk about eating and living healthy, we are talking about exercising, resting, avoiding drugs and junk meals, ensuring you remain hydrated at all times, etc.

I, therefore, dare say that a healthy diet contains a balanced diet, exercising, hydrating, resting, and bathing. Most of us share the same goals when looking to get healthy. And doing too much if something doesn’t get the cut. For instance, eating too many carbs at the expense of vitamins is not the best option. This is why, if you wanted to live a healthy lifestyle, you would focus on correct proportions.

Summarily, a healthy diet contains macronutrients for energy, micronutrients for bodily functions and immunity, and fluid to keep the body hydrated.

These elements include:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates make up the main source of energy in the body.  This element should therefore take up the majority of your meal. Dieticians average the ideal quantity as 50 to 60% of the entire meal.

This might be difficult for some people following strict diets for purposes of weight loss and other reasons.  Some cultures too leverage carbohydrates for proteins. For instance, people following Nordic diets need to consume more proteins than any other food type in a day. And, your meals need to have proteins as well, regardless if it is breakfast or dinner.

Carbs give your body energy; it is the fuel that the body runs on. Your muscles need substantial levels of energy to work optimally; so, does the brain and other body processes.

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Whenever your body is oversupplied with carbs, it has to look for a way of storing the excess. If left in the bloodstream, it may result in a spike in blood sugar levels. The excess glucose, therefore, is converted into glycogen – a safe form of storage.

The best carbohydrates are natural. These are foods that come directly from the source. Natural carbs include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They are unprocessed, hence healthy for consumption.

Protein

Proteins play two major roles in the body. They are cellular and organ components and act as regulators. They allow cells to grow and repair, develop hormones and enzymes, and help in muscle growth and components of bone and skin structure.

Amino acids make up proteins. It is also safe to say that they are the building blocks of proteins. These amino acids are differentiated and specialized in performing specific functions throughout the body. For instance, some protein products such as antibodies specialize in fighting foreign pathogens and organs entering the body. They, therefore, form a formidable immune system in the event of an infection.

Naturally sourced proteins make the best protein options. Here are some examples; meat, fish, chicken, eggs, and beans, etc.

Many diets prefer lean proteins. These proteins are low on calories and provide substantial energy per unit molecule. Proteins should not be overconsumed. They can result in indigestion, dehydration, and nausea, as well as weight gain.

Fats and oils

Fats and oils are essential for regulating body temperature; they are oxidized to release energy and absorb vitamins in the body.  Fats act as shock absorbers on vital body organs such as the heart, kidneys, and liver.

By counting their functions, it is absurd for people to avoid having fats or oils in their diets for fear of gaining weight. Fats are, however, classified as good and bad (LDL and HDL). Bad fats increase cholesterol levels in the body. This is the menace that causes much of these problems with weight, blood pressure, diabetes, inflammations, obesity, etc., that are blamed on fats.

Examples of good fats include:

Monounsaturated Fat: Olive & Canola Oil, Avocados, Olives, Nuts,

Polyunsaturated Fat: Fish, Beans, Soy, Tofu, Walnuts, Flaxseeds, Sunflower Seeds

Bad Fats increase the body’s level of cholesterol and risk of heart disease.

These fats come in the form of saturated and trans fats.

Here are examples of sources of bad fats: –

Saturated Fats: Fried Foods, Red Meat, Dairy Food, Coconut Oil, Pork, Lard.

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Trans Fat: Cakes, Chips, Crackers, Cookies, Doughnuts, Pizza, Muffins, Food Containing Hydrogenated Oil, Fried Food.

Fiber

Fiber is key for maintaining your digestive health. Also, fiber can assist in lowering levels of bad cholesterol and stabilizing sugar levels. They help to rid the body of these compounds before they are absorbed into the bloodstream.

Fiber is classified as soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber is digested and absorbed in the intestines, whilst insoluble fiber passes straight through the digestive tract. Fiber sources:

Soluble Fibre: Oats, barley, bananas, flaxseeds, sweet potato, broccoli, peas, avocados, carrots, apples, hazelnuts, strawberries

Insoluble Fibre: Dark leafy vegetables, whole grains, almonds, potatoes, green peas, popcorn, beans, lentils

Vitamins

Vitamins are a group of specialized substances that carry out varied cellular and organic functions.

Vitamins are involved in developing new proteins, repairing damaged cells, healing wounds, producing antibodies, and supporting the central nervous system.

vitamin  function            source  
A Improves sight and maintains healthy teeth and bones Carrots, Sweet Potato, Kale, Cod Liver Oil, Salmon, Peppers
B Converts food into energy and maintains skin, brain cells Leafy Greens, Eggs, Milk, Beef, Seafood, Chicken, Yogurt
C Forms collagen, absorbs iron and increases immunity.

 

Oranges, Kiwis, Broccoli, Kale, Strawberries, Tomato, Papaya
D Absorbs calcium and forms, maintains strong bones. Salmon, Eggs, Mushrooms, Cheese, Milk, Orange Juice, Oats
E Acts as a powerful antioxidant Almonds, Sunflower Oil, Avocado, Peanuts, Fish, Mango
K Blood clotting and bone metabolism Spinach, Parsley, Lettuce
 

Minerals

Minerals are sourced from the ground. Humans get these mineral ions from plants or animals. And just like vitamins, different minerals play different roles in a diet. For instance, sodium and potassium ions help in transporting nerve impulses. Generally, your body needs electrolytes for osmoregulation, heartbeat, muscle contractions, etc.

Red meat, fish, beans, seeds, leafy greens, and lentils are some foods rich in mineral ions.

Water

Your body cannot survive without water. We can discuss a lot of roles water play you’re your body, and the conclusion will still be one, it is the most important macronutrient your body needs to survive. For instance, water makes up about 90% of your cell plasma. The rest is made up of organelles.

Water is primarily needed for hydration, transporting blood and nutrients to all cells, organs, and body tissues. It’s also needed for cushioning and lubricating joints, tissues, and the spinal column.

Furthermore, water regulates all metabolic reactions in our system, including temperature, nerve impulses, absorption, digestion, and excretion.

Your body is made up of an average of 65% water. So, what foods can you eat to hydrate if there is no water?

  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries

The bottom line

A healthy diet consists of the above-highlighted components. You can, however, add exercise, and sleep to complete the list.

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