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So,what is a balanced diet?

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 03 Mar 2011

Ancient Indians believed in the phrase “you are what you eat”. Today, health experts strongly emphasize on a “balanced diet” for a healthy body.

So,what is a balanced diet? It is food which has the right quantity of all nutrients. In this post learn what nutrients your body needs and in what quantity.

Your diet should include :

 

Carbohydrates (carbs) – Body derives energy from carbohydrates. For all your activities – walking, sitting, working, your body needs it. 60% of your daily caloric requirement should come from carbs, though it varies with your gender, BMI, age and activity level.

Sources – wheat, rice, oats, beans, barley, bran, ragi, sago, potato, etc.

Approximate requirement in a day :

Average adult male – 400 gm (for sedentary work)

Average adult female – 350 gm (for sedentary work)

Children – 250 – 350 gm (depending on age and gender)

Teenagers – 500 – 650 gm (depending on age and gender)

Proteins – Good hair, good skin doesn’t require conditioners…but a healthy dose of proteins. It is the building block of your body and all organs need it – including heart! Scientists believe that you should eat atleast of 0.8 g /kg of your weight. If you weigh 50 kg, you should eat 40 g protein.

Sources – meat, fish, eggs, milk, lentils, beans, soy, etc.

Approximate requirement in a day :

Average adult male – 56 gm

Average adult female – 40 gm

Children – 25 gm (depending on age and gender)

Teenagers – 45 gm (depending on age and gender)

Fats – Does your body need fat? Yes it does! Vitamins A, D, E, K require fat for absorption. It’s necessary for healthy skin, hair, heart, and much more. No more that 30% of your caloric intake should come from fat, provided you get it from a good source and exercise.

Sources – fish, walnut, olive oil, canola oil, almond, cashewnut

Approximate requirement in a day :

Average adult male – 70 gm

Average adult female – 63 gm

Children – 40 – 80 gm (depending on age and gender)

Teenagers – 75 – 120 gm (depending on age and gender)

May we add that it’s no excuse to gorge on fried foods. What we eat everyday plus a little of the ‘good sources’ of fat is more than enough to provide the recommended quantity!

Vitamins :

Vitamin A – It is necessary for a healthy vision, bones, skin and proper growth.

Sources – carrot, tomato, apricot, sweet potato, egg yolk, spinach.

Approximate requirement in a day :

Average adult male – 900 mcg (microgram)

Average adult female – 700 mcg (upto 770 mcg during pregnancy)

Children – 300 – 400 mcg (depending on age and gender)

Teenagers – 700 – 900 mcg (depending on age and gender)

Vitamin B complex – It helps in proper functioning of the body. Vitamin B6 is important for brain. Folic acid and Vitamin B12 are required for blood.

Sources – green leafy vegetables, yeast, milk, egg, unpolished rice, nuts, whole grains.

Approximate requirement in a day :

Average adult (male and female), teenagers – 34.5 mg

Children – 37 mg

Vitamin B complex is a group of 11 different chemicals and requirement of each varies.

Vitamin C – It boosts the body’s resistance against infections and helps in absorption of iron.

Sources – citrus fruits, sprouts, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage.

Approximate requirement in a day :

Average adult male – 90 mg

Average adult female – 75 mg

Children – 30 – 35 mg (depending on age and gender)

Teenagers – 70 – 90 mg (depending on age and gender)

Vitamin D – It is necessary for healthy bones and teeth, as it helps in absorption of Calcium and Phosphorus.

Sources – It is produced inside our body on exposure to sunlight. Other sources include – egg yolk, cod liver oil.

Approximate requirement in a day :

Vitamin D is produced by the body in sunlight. A person who receives no exposure, requirement for children, teenagers and adults is 15 mcg.

Vitamin E – It is helpful in removing harmful free radicals from the body. It’s essential for maintaining healthy reproductive organs, especially in women.

Sources – green leafy vegetables, milk, egg, wheat germ oil.

Approximate requirement in a day :

Average adult (male and female) – 15 mg

Children – 6 mg

Teenagers – 10 mg

Vitamin K – Vitamin K helps in faster clotting of blood and for bones and tissue in the body.

Sources – green leafy vegetables, cabbage, tomato, avocado, kiwifruit.

Approximate requirement in a day :

Average adult male – 120 mcg (micrograms)

Average adult female – 90 mcg

Children and Teenagers – 15 – 100 mcg (depending on age and gender)

Minerals :

Iron – It is an important part of haemoglobin which transports oxygen to all parts of body.

Sources – fish, egg yolk, red meat, green leafy vegetables, oat meal, guava.

Approximate requirement in a day :

Average adult male – 8 mg

Average adult female – 15 – 20 mg

Children – 10 mg

Teenagers – 10 -15 mg (depending on gender)

Calcium – Calcium is required for strong bones and teeth. It’s also pivotal for many other functions, such as nerves and heart.

Sources – milk, milk products, tomato, beans, leafy vegetables, tofu.

Approximate requirement in a day :

Average adult male – 800 mg

Average adult female – 1000 mg

Children – 500 – 1000 mg

Teenagers – 1000 – 1300 mg

Iodine – Iodine is important for thyroid gland, which controls many chemical reactions in your body.

Sources – seafood, iodised salt, coastal vegetables and fruits.

Approximate requirement in a day :

Average adult male – 150 mcg (microgram)

Average adult female – 150 mcg (220 mcg – 290 mcg for pregnant and lactating women)

Children – 130 mcg

Teenagers – 150 mcg

Body also requires minerals such as – magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, zinc, etc. Just eat a healthy dose of vegetables and you would have packed in all you require!

Next time you cook/eat, pay attention to it and make it into a healthy diet. It’s the best way to keep many diseases away than to treat them.

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