A Way to Become Healthy

4 Keys to Balanced Nutrition

The fad diet craze has left us wandering through a land of nutritional confusion. While our bodies are armed with sophisticated palates that crave a variety of foods, these diets often restrict our food choices.

But good nutrition need not involve cutting out certain food groups, according to Margaret Bock, Ph.D., R.D., professor of Human Nutrition at New Mexico State University. Bock firmly believes that balanced nutrition begins by choosing foods from all food groups.

Here are 4 keys to balanced nutrition:

1. The macronutrient connection

  • Macronutrients are defined as foods essential in large quantities: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. As a group, they help maintain and regulate normal body functions. The average person should get approximately 50 percent of their total daily calories from carbohydrate sources — with some exceptions, Bock says.
  • "If you are involved in endurance sports (e.g., long-distance biking or marathon running), you should get approximately 60 percent to 70 percent of total daily calories from carbohydrate sources," she says.
  • As for daily intake of protein and fat, Bock suggests that 15 percent to 20 percent come from a protein source and 30 percent come from a fat source.
  • "Emphasize monounsaturated fats – olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil – and keep saturated fats to about 7 percent of your total daily fat intake," she adds.

2. Micronutrients — small but potent

  • Doug White, Ph.D., associate professor and head of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Auburn University, believes that you are more likely to get all the vitamins and minerals you need by eating a variety of foods.
  • "However, in practice, especially with college students, people are not going to eat a varied diet. And it probably wouldn't hurt to take a one-a-day multivitamin with mineral supplement," he says.
  • Joan Salge Blake, M.S., R.D., a nutrition columnist and author of Eat Right the E.A.S.Y. Way, stresses that vitamin supplementation should not exceed more than 100 percent of the recommended daily value.
  • "Even though you can purchase vitamins in a supermarket, they are not necessarily benign. There are upper limits to vitamins and minerals, and more is definitely not always better," she says. For instance, overconsumption of one vitamin has the potential to mask a deficiency of another. "If you take too much of synthetic folic acid, it can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency," she explains.
  • Blake also points out that 10 percent to 30 percent of Americans past the age of 50 have problems absorbing the vitamin B12 found in foods such as meat, milk and eggs. "For this population, synthetic versions found in over-the-counter supplements are better absorbed, but always consult a health professional before starting any supplement regimen," she says.

3. Hydration — a conscious effort

  • Between 60 percent and 75 percent of the body is water.¹ A key component of proper nutrition, water helps the body regulate temperature control, transport and absorb nutrients, and eliminate waste.² According to the Mayo Clinic Web site, we are equipped with internal hydration cues such as excessive thirst, dry mouth, tiredness, headache and dizziness,² that typically signal when we're in need of fluid. But sometimes, those signals are not enough.
  • "We have evidence to tell us that after excessive sweating through extreme heat or sports, our thirst mechanism will actually shut down before we fully rehydrate," Bock says.
  • For older Americans, hydration may come with added worry.
  • "This population may be taking diuretics, which cause fluid loss, or may forgo drinking outside the house in fear of not finding a bathroom," she says.
  • Although slight imbalances may lead to serious problems, mild to moderate dehydration is easily reversible by increasing your daily fluid intake.² Both Bock and Blake agree that drinking six to eight glasses of fluid every day is essential for proper hydration.
  • "All kinds of beverages, fruits and vegetables count," Blake says.
  • Yet still, it's the plain, calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available water that provides the best source.
  • "Concentrate on water because unlike other fluids, it has neither caffeine – which stimulates the urinary process and causes more fluid loss – nor added sugars – which add empty calories to our diets," Bock says.

4. "The plate method": A simple way to ensure balanced nutrition

One model for balancing nutrition uses the "plate method" for portioning out meals. Aim for:
  • 50 percent assorted vegetables
  • 25 percent protein
  • 25 percent whole grain (e.g., brown rice)
  • One fruit
  • Water


Vacurect said...

Thanks for sharing the tips to take balanced diet and maintain the good health . Its very important how you take your meals . its balanced or not .
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