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How to Choose and Prepare Foods That Have Nutritional Value
A balanced diet is one that helps to keep or improve general health. A balanced diet supplies the human body with necessary nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and adequate dietary calories. Health problems are usually caused by nutritional deficiencies. A balanced diet should therefore be the first step towards achieving optimum health.
In accordance with both the British Journal of Nutrition and the Institute of Medicine, balanced diets provide the best protection against chronic and trace element deficiencies. These include deficiencies of iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and E, selenium, phosphorus and zinc. The British Journal of Nutrition reports that a recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A is 4000 International units/day, and the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is 5500 International units/day. Similarly, the IOM report states that a recommended allowance for vitamin D is 3000 International units/day.
There are several reasons for including a balanced diet in an individual’s health plan. Firstly, healthy diets provide the body with the required amount of certain essential nutrients, especially as we get older. Vitamins A, E, and C are important for healthy skin, nerves, muscles, bones, and ligaments; while minerals zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, boron, manganese, and phosphorus are important for healthy brain and nerve function. Besides these, certain foods, such as fatty fish, red meat, poultry products, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains contain various nutrients that contribute to good health, as do herbal remedies, tea, coffee, wine, and other beverages.
A balanced diet should be chosen according to personal needs. People in all ages should choose at least five groups of foods from the four main food groups, as specified in the Nutrient Profile of Foods, adopted by the National Heart, Blood, and Blood Cancer Society. In choosing your own balanced diet, you should keep in mind your sex, age, height, weight, and activity level. Foods to include are poultry products, egg yolks, fish, lentils, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. To choose from a variety of these foods is enjoyable because they come in such a wide variety and taste great, but they also require some planning to make sure they are included in your dietary pattern.
You should follow a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbohydrates and which reduces the intake of saturated fats. The recommended proportions of these nutrients in a balanced diet are: Vitamin A, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, and potassium. A proper diet should consist of a combination of these nutrients that is suitable for you. If you are over forty years of age, or if you have had a pre-existing disease, it is best to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet. Your doctor can recommend a diet that is both nutritious and low in saturated fats.
There are many reasons that a balanced diet may not be high in calories, but it does not mean that you should totally give up food that has nutritional value. Most packaged and processed foods contain high levels of calories, especially sugar and salt. Even though they are technically categorized as junk food, many of them still have some nutritional value. These nutrients that are included in high calorie foods can help to boost your energy and to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. This is why many people chose to use the low or no calorie versions of the product to lose weight.
The problem comes when you substitute one nutrient for another. For example, while a balanced diet may be a good idea for weight loss purposes, you should still pay attention to the fat content of the food items you select. High calorie foods may actually contribute to vitamin deficiency diseases. The fat content is usually listed on the packaging, but you should also look for the leaner cuts of meat. Even lean cuts of meat, such as round steak or fillet mignon, contain high amounts of calories.
If you choose to cook your own meals, you can choose lean cuts of meat that have a smaller amount of fat. You can also include low-calorie dairy products and eggs in order to lower the amount of saturated and trans fats included in your diet. In general, the more nutritious foods you choose to prepare, the lower the calories that you will consume. You should also try to substitute those fatty foods with healthier choices like nuts, seeds and low-fat meats.