What is your idea of a perfect meal? Sushi? Steak with salad? Steamed broccoli with olive oil? Or Milanese with French fries? Whatever it is, most likely none of these dishes will suffice to meet all your nutritional needs.
The human body needs a balanced diet, a healthy eating plan to function properly. This ensures that our body has the necessary nutrients to:
Grow and strengthen
Repair and heal
Fighting diseases and infections
Avoid weight problems
Eating a variety of foods also helps reduce the chance of coronary problems, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
What foods does our body need to stay healthy?
The food we need can be divided into five categories.
- Food Groups Main nutritional benefits How much per day?
2.Fruit and vegetables (includes fresh, frozen, dried fruit, vegetables, canned and juice Vitamins, Minerals and Fibers Five servings.
3.Carbohydrates (includes bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes) Energy, Fibers, and Minerals and Vitamins A third of everything we eat
4.Meat, fish, eggs, and grains (includes fresh meat, fresh and canned fish, eggs, nuts, and legumes) Proteins, vitamins and minerals Two to three servings (one serving is an egg or a portion of meat or fish the size of a deck of cards.
5.Milk and dairy products (includes milk, cheese, and yogurt) Protein and calcium Two or three servings (one serving is a small pot of yogurt or a glass of milk).
Foods with fats and sugar (includes cakes, biscuits, and soda) Energy One serving (two cookies or a small chocolate bar)
Why do we need all these nutrients?
The reason we need a diet that contains food from all these groups is that each of them gives us different vital nutritional benefits.
Fruits and vegetables are one of the main sources of vitamins and minerals that the body needs to perform a number of functions.
For example, vitamin A helps us to strengthen our immune system, vitamin B to process energy from food, vitamin D to keep our teeth and bones healthy and vitamin C to keep cells and tissues in good condition.
Carrots and steamed broccoli, like the ones we see in the photo, contain a higher proportion of vitamins than boiled or fried vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables (whether consumed with or without skin) also contain a large amount of fiber that serves to maintain the good state of the intestines and digestive system.
From carbohydrates is where we get most of the energy. Our body converts these foods into glucose, which is used as energy at the time or stored for later use.
Carbohydrates also contain fiber (especially integrals) and iron, which we need to make red blood cells that transport oxygen through the body.
Meat, fish, eggs, and legumes provide significant amounts of protein that are essentially the block that forms our body.
Dairy products are also an important source of protein, and also calcium. This mineral – the most common in the body – is necessary for a number of functions. One of these functions is to aid in the clotting of blood and in the formation of bones and teeth.
Fortunately, the group of fats and sugars – the foods most of us find most tempting – also plays an important role as long as these foods are consumed in moderation.
Fat transports the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K through the body. It also protects and cushions the internal organs.
Sugar is another food that gives us energy, whether it occurs naturally as fructose in fruit or sucrose in table sugar.
But “other sources of carbohydrates, such as starches, are a better choice for the nutrients they provide,” explains Lidia Kelly, a nutrition specialist with the UK Public Health Service.
Lidia Kelly, nutritionist at the UK Public Health Service
So how can we do to consume all this variety of food in one day?
“Try to base your meals on starchy carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta or potatoes. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet and try to eat at least one or two servings with each meal,” says Kelly.
“It’s also important to include a moderate serving of protein-containing foods. Then choose a source of calcium, trying to include three servings of low-fat dairy,” adds the nutritionist.
While a reduced amount of sugar-rich foods are acceptable, Kelly warns that “eating sugar very often can damage the teeth. It also causes weight gain if dietary sugar provides us with more energy than we use.”
And many nutritionists agree that there is no such thing as a “superfood.” What matters is the balance of the diet. No food can give us all the nutrients we need, so a balanced diet should include a wide variety of foods from each of the five groups.
Fluids are also vital for our body to function effectively, and the best fluid of all is water.
A healthy human body is composed of two-thirds of water. Fluids are needed to help the blood transport nutrients and waste through the body and also participate in the chemical reactions that occur in our cells.