Eating too much fat and not enoughfiber increases the risk of developing the cancer or heart diseases, but a healthybalanced diet can help maintain optimum condition of the body and preventillness. Healthy diet implies eating proper amounts of a variety of foodsfound in 5 basic food groups.The first group consists ofstarch-based foods like bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles and potatoes,which is intended as the main segment of every meal, providing the body withfiber and B-complex vitamins.Then comes the low-fat food groupthat supplies the body with fiber, essential minerals and vitamins – fruit andvegetables. The recommendation is to eat minimum 5 daily portions of fruit andvegetables. This may not be such a difficult task, considering that a wholefruit, like banana or apple, or one glass of fruit juice counts as one portion. Milk and dairy products areanother large food group that provides the body with protein, vitamins andminerals, calcium in particular. These foods should be taken in moderation, dueto the high percentage of saturated fats, so 2-3 servings a day are enough tomeet the nutritional requirements of the body.Meat, poultry, fish, and pulsesare the next group on the list. Two servings of these foods are recommendedeach day to provide the body with the necessary amount of iron and vitaminsfound therein. Oily types of fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel should betaken 1-2 times a week. Meat, on the other hand should be as lean as possible.The fifth food group refers tofoods containing sugars and fats like chocolates, sweets, pastry, saladdressing, mayonnaise, ice cream, butter, cream, margarine and chips. Theyshould be avoided as much as possible.
A balanced diet will include allthe nutrients necessary for different body functions. One big group ofnutrients includes starch, which provides plentiful energy, and sugar,containing mostly calories and no other nutrients. For these reasons, thelatter can be eliminated from the diet, without any harmful effects. Fatsare another group of nutrients that is essential in the diet, but in smallamounts. Unsaturated fats found in soy, oily fish, sunflower and avocado pearsare favored over saturated fats from milk, meat, butter, cheese and sweets. Theformer promote heart health, while the latter cause the cholesterol levels torise, which can lead to heart disease. Another way to cut down on the intake ofsaturated fats is to bake, grill or poach the food instead of frying it.
Fiber is a source of othernutrients and maintains good bowel health. Protein from meat, fish, eggs,lentils, nuts and beans is necessary for the growth and development of thebody. Although saltadds flavor to the food and some nutritional value, taking too much of it cancause health problems, such as elevated blood pressure, kidney failure, stomach cancer. Finally, there are vitamins andminerals that are absolutely essential for good health, as they regulatenumerous body functions.