Balanced Diet: basis of a healthy life

Balanced Diet Puro Food

The need and importance of food in our lives is an undeniable fact. This most basic of needs induces man to strive for sustenance from birth till death. A square meal will satisfy a person’s need, but whether it fulfills nutritional needs or not will depend on the nutritional quality of the food.

A diet that meets the nutritional needs of the body in appropriate quantities is called a ‘balanced diet‘. Usually, the deficiency of quantity of food is considered an unbalanced diet, but that is incorrect. A diet is also unbalanced if it lacks nutritional requirements even if it fulfills quantity needs. The deficiency or excess of any dietary component affects the nutritional quality of food, and eventually leads to various types of maladies.
The consistent excess of an ingredient or element of nutrition is as bad as consistent deficiency, and it will also constitute an unbalanced diet. This could not only be a cause of ailments, but it makes a body prone to disease by weakening its natural immunity.

According to World Health Organization, where 1.6 billion people are obese due to non-balanced diet, 462 million people are underweight due to nutrition deficiency. According to UNICEF, the health of approximately 45 percent of children in Pakistan is seriously affected by nutrition deficiency. According to the International Ford Research Institute, 20 percent of Pakistan’s population is a victim of nutrition deficiency.

Whereas the main reason for nutrition deficiency is lack of food due to poverty, an important point to be noted is that despite the availability of food, unbalanced diet has equally intense repercussions for health.

For example, every child is born with nature’s gift in the form of mother’s milk that guarantees a highly balanced and best possible diet, but unfortunately many mothers in Pakistan do not breastfeed their baby for any good, or discontinue breastfeeding too soon. As a result children suffer from poor health because of lack of nutrition that comes from unbalanced diet or substandard food

70% of the population of Pakistan lives in rural areas where milk, eggs, fruits, grains and vegetables are available cheap, but ignorant parents lead children to unbalanced diets. Children fall into bad dietary habits, such as over consumption of biscuits and processed drinks that are uneconomical and extremely unbalanced in terms of nutritional value.  Clearly, in addition to food shortage, an unbalanced diet creates an environment of poor health in people.

A balanced diet is essential and responsible for the development, repair and supply of energy for the body. A balanced diet incurs physical and mental well being, which is called ‘good health’. Nutrition has a deep impact on human growth, and the importance of balanced diet is magnified during childhood when physical and mental development are at the peak.

Meats (proteins), vegetables (carbohydrates), oils (fats), vitamins, salts (minerals) and water are the primary ingredients of diet. The appropriate amount of these ingredients constitutes a balanced diet. Proteins are a building block of the body. There are two types of proteins – primary proteins are derived from animals, such as meat and eggs, and secondary proteins come from plants, such as pulses and legumes.

Carbohydrates provide quick energy required for our daily activities. If carbohydrates are consumed in excess of the body’s needs, the body coverts it into fat and collects it. This increases body weight.  Excessive consumption of carbohydrates increases blood sugar level, blood pressure and the possibility of heart disease. People whose work is geared towards physical inactivity must take care to avoid excessive consumption of carbohydrates. Cereals, rice, wheat, corn, sweets etc. are rich in carbohydrates, as are vegetables such as potatoes, peas and root beets.

Oils or fats are another basic ingredient of nutrition. Oils from all sources, butter, cream etc. are all fats. They provide the body with warmth and energy. An excess of fats increases the risk of obesity and cholesterol, which can cause of heart disease.

Vitamins and minerals are also important ingredients of a nutritious diet. Vitamins perform very important functions in the body and are present in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Water makes up 60% to 70% of the human body. Water deficiency in the body inhibits many chemical processes in the body that are essential for health. Water is also necessary to excrete toxins from the body.

The foundation for good health should be laid early in life. Children should ideally be breastfed for two years. After 6 months age mother’s milk does not meet the complete nutritional needs of the infant, so semi-solid, soft foods should be added to the diet at this stage.

Fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, pulses, grains, and dairy products should be made a part of a balanced diet. People with heart, liver and kidney diseases, should pay attention to both medical treatment and diet.

A balanced diet is the basis of a healthy life. A healthy body houses a healthy mind.  Build your health by focusing on a balanced diet, and begin the journey of an extraordinary life.

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