Poor nutrition can lead to many health hazards. Both obesity and malnutrition are two different ends of the spectrum of poor nutrition. According to a World Health Organization article dated April 2020, approximately 1.9 billion adults worldwide are overweight, with 462 million overweight. Experts even point out that poor nutrition is now a bigger health risk than smoking. The United Nations has designated 2016-25 as the “Decade of Action on Nutrition”.
How to Balance Your Diet
“A balanced diet can be defined as ‘a diet that contains sufficient nutrients necessary for the body to grow, stay healthy, and remain disease-free. In addition, a healthy, balanced diet provides the necessary energy needs, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrient deficiencies, and Builds immunity,” says Dr Meghna Pasi, Nutrition Consultant, Mythali Programme, Aarogya World. She shares a few ways that can help you keep your diet balanced and nutritious.
1. Include all food groups in your diet: A balanced diet includes foods from all food groups in sufficient amounts and proportions. Dr. Meghna Pasi said, this type of food provides our body with all the necessary nutrients in sufficient quantity. “Cereals and grains are rich in carbohydrates, which give us instant energy; pulses are rich in protein; vegetables and fruits are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals; milk and milk products are rich in good quality protein, calcium, vitamin A. and vitamin D; and vegetable oils are healthy fats. are rich and they help absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K,” shares Dr. Passi.
2. Limit intake of processed foods and sugar: Sugar and processed foods are high in calories and lack essential nutrients. “Less than 5% of total calorie intake should be accounted for by sugar for significant health benefits. Be aware of food labels to identify hidden sugars and choose natural sweeteners such as honey, dates, cardamom, molasses and fruit pulp. Also, choose whole , unprocessed foods whenever possible,” says Dr. Passi.
3. Control your portions: Pay attention to portion sizes and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues to prevent overeating. Balancing your portions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats can help control calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight, Dr. Passi says.
4. Plan your meals: Create a weekly meal plan that covers a variety of food groups and then create a shopping list based on your plan. This allows you to cut out less nutritious options and make healthier choices.
5. Healthy Food: Grab a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit if you’re hungry mid-morning or snack time. “Almonds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, flavonoids, antioxidants, and minerals while fruits are a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, beta carotene, and antioxidants,” says Dr. Passi.
6. Stay hydrated: Hydrate your body by drinking water, lemon water, coconut water, buttermilk or green tea instead of tea, coffee or aerated drinks. Water supports digestion, and absorption of nutrients and helps regulate body temperature. Instead of sugary drinks, choose water as your primary hydration choice, Dr. Passi advises.
As Nutrition Consultants points out, it’s important to remember that small, sustainable changes can lead to long-term positive results for our health.