Healthy Eating: A Comprehensive Guide to a Balanced Diet

Eating healthy is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of serious health problems. A balanced diet should emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products. It should also include a variety of protein foods, such as seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, nuts and seeds. The exact composition of a varied, balanced and healthy diet will vary depending on individual characteristics (Age, sex, lifestyle and level of physical activity), cultural context, locally available foods and dietary habits.

However, the basic principles of what constitutes a healthy diet remain the same. In the first 2 years of a child's life, optimal nutrition encourages healthy growth and improves cognitive development. It also reduces the risk of being overweight or obese and of developing noncommunicable diseases later in life. Eating at least 400 g, or five servings, of fruits and vegetables a day reduces the risk of non-communicable diseases (and helps ensure an adequate daily intake of dietary fiber).

Reducing salt intake to the recommended level of less than 5 g per day could prevent 1.7 million deaths each year (1). People are often unaware of how much salt they consume. In many countries, most salt comes from processed foods (p. ex.

Ready meals, processed meats (such as bacon, ham and salami), cheese and savory snacks) or foods that are frequently eaten in large quantities (e.g. Salt is also added to food during cooking (p. broth, cubed broth, soy sauce and fish sauce) or at the point of consumption (p. ex. Some food manufacturers are reformulating recipes to reduce the sodium content of their products, and people should be encouraged to check nutrition labels to see how much sodium a product contains before buying or consuming it.

Potassium may mitigate the negative effects of high sodium intake on blood pressure. Potassium intake can be increased by eating fresh fruits and vegetables. In both adults and children, the intake of free sugars should be reduced to less than 10% of total energy intake (2,. A reduction of total energy intake to less than 5% would provide additional health benefits (.

Consuming free sugars increases the risk of tooth decay (cavities). Excess calories from foods and beverages that are high in free sugars also contribute to unhealthy weight gain, which can lead to overweight and obesity. Recent evidence also shows that free sugars influence blood pressure and serum lipids, and suggests that a reduction in the intake of free sugars reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease (1). The diet evolves over time and is influenced by many social and economic factors that interact in complex ways to shape individual dietary patterns).

These factors include incomes, food prices (which will affect the availability and affordability of healthy foods), individual preferences and beliefs, cultural traditions, and geographical and environmental aspects (including climate change). Therefore, promoting a healthy food environment, including food systems that promote a diversified, balanced and healthy diet, requires the participation of multiple sectors and stakeholders, including government and the public and private sectors. The “WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health” (1) was adopted in 2004 by the Health Assembly. The strategy called on governments, WHO, international partners, the private sector and civil society to take action at the global, regional and local levels to support healthy diets and physical activity.

A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss. A healthy eating plan will also reduce the risk of heart disease and other health conditions. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. In fact, up to 80% of premature heart disease and strokes can be prevented through lifestyle choices and habits such as eating a healthy diet and being physically active.

Starchy carbohydrates should account for just over a third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals. To lose weight most people need to reduce the amount of calories they get from food and drink (energy in) and increase their physical activity (energy out). About three-quarters of the salt you eat is already in food when you buy it such as breakfast cereals soups breads and sauces.

Some people think that starchy foods are fattening but gram for gram the carbohydrates they contain provide less than half the calories of fat. The best way to give your body the balanced nutrition it needs is to eat a variety of nutrient-packed foods every day. A healthy diet will combine all of the nutrients and food groups mentioned above but you also need to balance them. Aim for about half of your food to come from fruits and vegetables about a quarter from protein sources such as lean meats fish eggs beans nuts or tofu  and a quarter from whole grains like brown rice oats quinoa or barley  and starches like potatoes yams or corn.

You should also eat a wide variety of foods to ensure that you get all the nutrients your body needs for optimal health. Governments have a central role in creating a healthy food environment that allows people to adopt and maintain healthy eating practices. These goals include halting the rise of diabetes and obesity and reducing salt intake by 30% in relative terms by 2025. Sugary foods and beverages tend to have a high energy content (measured in kilojoules or calories)  and if consumed too frequently can contribute to weight gain. For a healthier option use a small amount of vegetable or olive oil or use a low-fat spread instead of butter shortening or ghee. Free sugars are any sugar added to foods or beverages or found naturally in honey syrups  and sugar-free fruit juices  and smoothies. In addition to eating healthy regular exercise can help reduce the risk of serious health problems.