There are numerous benefits to having a balanced diet. Your body is healthier and your life expectancy increases. Your body on average requires more than 40 nutrients for energy, growth, and tissue maintenance. Water is important for your body to survive as it transports the nutrients into cells and carries waste products and toxins out.
Carbohydrates are made by plants and stored in their leaves, stems, roots, and fruits in the process of photosynthesis. The foods that we consume contain the following basic nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water. The main energy source, carbohydrates are divided into two types – simple (compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) and complex carbohydrates (starches that are found in bread and potatoes).
Tissue growth and repair relies heavily on proteins, which help to produce antibodies, hormones, and enzymes. Meat, fish, dairy products, poultry, dried beans, nuts, and eggs are known as dietary protein that aides in the chemical reactions in the body.
The three types of fats consist of:
- Saturated (meat, dairy food, and coconut oil)
- Monounsaturated (olive, peanut, and canola oil)
- polyunsaturated (corn, cottonseed, safflower, soy, and sunflower oils)
The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have established basic guidelines and recommendations for maintaining a healthy diet. These recommendations include:
- eating a variety of foods
- controlling your weight
- eating a low-fat and low cholesterol diet
- eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and grains
- eat sugar in moderation
- use salt in moderation
- if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation