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Balanced nutrition for best performance

Updated: Jan 23

Nutrition is the understanding of the nutrients present in the food we consume and how they are utilized in our bodies. Nutrients are essential organic substances required for daily bodily functions. These include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water, vitamins, and minerals. Poor health can result from an insufficient or excessive intake of nutrients or an imbalance of certain nutrients. This nutrient imbalance may lead to cardiovascular diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and mental illness. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a balanced intake of nutrients to ensure a healthy diet and promote a healthier life. 


What is a balanced diet? Any food habit that supplies all the required nutrients in adequate quantity to avoid any deficiencies is called a balanced diet.

So, what is included in a balanced diet? 

A diet that has an adequate amount of  


1. vegetables and fruits – supplies protective nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.  


nutritious vegetables and fruits


2. Nuts and oils – increase energy density and quality of food.  


Nuts and oils


3. Cereals, millet, pulses, and legumes – are the major sources of most nutrients. 


Cereals, millets, pulses

 

4. Dairy – supplies quality protein and calcium which are essential majorly for infants, children, and expecting and lactating mothers.  


Dairy products


5. Eggs, poultry, and meat – enhance the quality of the diet.  


Egg, poultry and meat


6. And balanced diet wouldn’t include large quantities of highly refined ingredients like hydrogenated oils, fats, sugars, and refined flour.

 

How can we start following a balanced diet? 


It’s very simple, if we start following my plate guide, we can follow a balanced diet very easily. 


So, what is MyPlate? 





My plate is a model for eating a balanced diet which enables us to choose a variety of healthy foods by dividing the plate into sections – fruits, grains, vegetables, proteins, and dairy products. This also helps to focus on portion size control, which avoids overeating and prevents overweight and obesity.


Building a healthy and balanced meal 

  • Make most of your meal included with vegetables and fruits - ½ of your plate 

  • Include whole grains, and starchy vegetables like potato, sweet potato, yam, and tapioca – ¼ of your plate. 

  • Proteins including fish, poultry, beans, and nuts – ¼ of your plate. 

  • Healthy plant oils in moderation. 

  • Limit milk and its products to one or two servings, avoid sugary drinks, and stay well hydrated.

 

The advantages of following a balanced diet include –  

  1. It ensures the one’s best nutrient intake,  

  1. It supplies stamina for the daily activities,  

  1. It helps manage the body weight,  

  1. It helps prevent diseases,  

  1. It enhances immune functions, and  

  1. It ensures mental wellbeing.  



References: 

  1. Che Ibrahim Azahani; Yusof Yusmarwati; Poh Keong Pua; 17 October 2015, The importance of Balanced Diet for the Human Capital Formation on Physical and Mental Fitness  

 

  1. Melkie Edris, 2004, Nutrition for Health Extension Workers, Lecture notes, General Nutrition, Page number 3. 

  1. Working group report, National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR, Hyderabad, page number 10. 

 

  1. Elyse Levine; Jodie Abba Tangelo-Gray; Amy Mobley (2012). Evaluating MyPlate: An Expanded Framework Using Traditional and Nontraditional Metrics for Assessing Health Communication Campaigns, 2012.05.011 

 

  1. Harvard School; of public health information directory  

 

  1. American Diabetes Association. (2021). Lifestyle Management: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes - 2021. Diabetes Care, 44(Supplement 1), S15-S33. 

 

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