November 25, 2013

What is a balanced diet? Seems to be the question on everyone's lips; probably because it's not a question that can be answered in a single sentence. Maintaining a balanced diet can be tricky; there are lots of components to take into account when planning your diet, such as your wider lifestyle. Are you getting enough exercise? How old are you? Do you have any long-term illnesses?

In this post we look a few things that can be done quickly to change your diet, and that make a diet balanced and healthy. As it were, we will attack the 'low hanging fruit', outline a few steps which anyone can take without a lot of effort, and ultimately make sure you know; What a balanced diet is!?

Tho it must be said that there isn't one single balanced diet that will work for everyone. Thankfully we are all individuals, and we have our requirements from a diet and daily nutritional intake. There are two main factors that affect the nutrition we need to receive. Our personal physical demands as dictated by our metabolism rate, and external factors such as how much energy we need to sustain our lifestyle.

There are many other elements that affect our diet and nutritional requirements, is your work physical? If you live in a hot climate or not? And virtually any other part of our lives. So don't take to heart what people tell you, we are all different! You must try different things until you feel balance and fulfil in your life. Food should be a source of pleasure and enjoyment, eating is one of the few things that remains a constant (3 times a day hopefully) throughout our lives, make it a friend and love it.

So, What Is A Balanced Diet?

A balanced diet is one that allows the body to improve its general health over a period of time. That provides the correct amounts of the nutrients and food groups our bodies require to function; this will vary from person to person. On the whole, the average body consumes roughly the same amount of nutrition; these can be adjusted for individual needs.

balanced diet should supply the body not only with enough energy to complete the physical tasks required, but also enough fluid to remain hydrated, enough essential amino acids (from protein) and essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that the body needs.

Why maintain a healthy balanced diet?

Maintaining a healthy balanced diet can be immediately credited with lowering common health issues such as type II diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, obesity and hypertension. Nutrition guides were first published by the Ancient Greeks, they were the first known to document the direct relationship between health & diet.

In even more recent times it feels like everyone wants to throw their hat in the ring and has a go at telling us what we should eat, and how sometimes.

Presently, the consensus is that a healthy balanced diet should consist mainly of unprocessed plant foods, with a strong biased towards whole grains along with non starchy fruits and vegetables. To include a wide range of fruit and vegetables that have strong vibrant colours. Along with this today it is commonly acknowledged that avoiding 'fast-foods', red meat and processed meats will improve health and life expectancy.

So, pretty much what we already know and what has been said for the past 15 years.

Steps To Maintaining a Balanced Diet.

Eat regularly

The first step to maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is not even about the food you eat, it's to eat regularly. If you're just beginning your journey into a healthy balanced diet, then start at the start; eat 3 times a day, every day, come rain or shine!

Even if you have been called out the office to an urgent meeting and you've been separated from your lunch. Eat a healthy snack.

Breakfast is the most commonly skipped meal, stop, prepare, buy some whole grain bars that you can grab on your way out and eat while your on the way to work. We all wake up late from time to time, prepare for it, especially if you are a regular offender... Your body needs nutrition to kick start it's systems. Also, drink a glass of water in the morning, this gets your metabolism started and hydrates.

Drink Water As Part of Your Healthy Diet

Next, drink plenty of water, this can be more difficult in colder climate countries like Britain and Northern Europe. When we are born our bodies are 75% water, by adulthood, this has dropped to about 60%, the morbidly obese can be as little as 45% body water. Our body needs water to digest food and stay in peak condition adequately.

Pilots are warned that just a 2% drop in hydration can mean a 20% drop in performance, such as cognitive functions and reaction times. For us mere mortals it can mean mood swings and become lethargic. Either way stay hydrated. There isn't a set a formula for how much we should drink, as it varies so much from person to person and their lifestyle. The basic rule of thumb is drink when you are thirsty & try to keep your pee straw coloured, if it darker than this then drink up!!! No, beer and fizzy drinks don't count, nor does coffee. Drink water, after all, your drinking, to help your body, not give it more to do!!!

Avoid Fad Diets

A balanced diet is one that is not only good for you, but you can stick too. As we all know, but hope isn't “There are no shortcuts.” A healthy balanced diet is one that you can enjoy, maintain and explore for the rest of your life.

Logic tells us that only eating meat isn't going to be the long-term solution to anything. This articles not for getting bogged down in an argument with all the 'specialists' that say its ok. If your looking for a magic pill, then you can stop reading now, this is about maintaining healthy habits and ensuring your long-term health.

A balanced, healthy diet is not about getting thin in record time; it's about developing and maintaining good eating and dietary habits. It's about providing your body with the right amounts of nutrition and vital elements so it can function fully and without limitation.

Tune In To You

The last point we are going to cover in this part of 'What Is A Balanced Diet?' is you. Tune into yourself and try to implement self-control. Starvation is not a balanced diet, but neither is gluttony, if you have to stop and think if something is not okay for you, it probably isn't.

You know yourself better than anyone, if you feel overweight and cumbersome on your feet, then odds are you are.

Tuning into our bodies is not an easy thing to do, it takes time, but it is the only way to be free. Knowledge is power, and understanding what we are communicating to ourselves is fastest and easiest way to a healthy balanced diet.

To Be Continued...

Next week there will be more practical and positive steps you can take to improve your diet, whether you are currently overweight and searching for an answer or you already maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle and you're looking for inspiration, check back in next week.

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