Components of Balanced Diet | 5 Must Have Components

Components of Balanced Diet | 5 Must Have Components

A balanced diet is good for your physical and mental well-being. In addition, it has potential benefits to reduce the risk and severity of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, depression and cancer.

So basically, a balanced diet is a diet which comprises essential nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water in appropriate quantities.

Essential nutrients for a healthy balanced diet consists mainly of 4 food groups that is 70% of carbohydrates, 10% of calories should be from the other foods and 20% from the protein and fat.

So let us learn more about balanced diet and the components of balanced diet.

Concept of Balanced Diet

  • It is trying to balance the amount of foods or different types of foods eaten every day so that it becomes nutritionally adequate diet.
  • So a balanced diet is one which includes foods from all the food groups during the day. The quantities and proportions of these foods needs to be such that they fulfill our daily requirements of all nutrients
  • In addition to the nutrients it should be in such amounts that a little bit of the nutrients can be stored in the body to take care of days when food intake is insufficient.
  • Balanced diet usually provides 50 to 60 calories of energy from carbohydrates, 10 to 15 from proteins and 20 to 30 from fats.
  • In addition the diet should provide macronutrients and other protective substances like phytochemicals in sufficient quantities needed for maintain optimum health.

Basic Food Groups

Food can be grouped into categories based on the types of nutrients that they supply. So depending upon the type of nutrients they supply they are divided into three groups and this classification is based on the physiological role that is played by the each group of the food in our body.

So therefore according to their physiological role and the functions they play in the body the foods are divided into

  • Energy giving foods which include various foods like cereal grains, fats & oils, sugar and the products made from these foods
  • Body building foods which include pulses, nuts, oilseeds, milk and milk products, meat, fish, poultry and the products made from these. Bodybuilding food is required for the growth of an individual or for the repair of tissues or for wound healing and maintenance of tissues.
  • Protective foods which include our fruits and vegetables which mainly supply the vitamins and minerals. These are not rich in carbohydrates, proteins or fat but they are together rich in vitamins and minerals so they have a protective action against illness.

ICMR Classifies Foods into Five Groups

 Food Group Main Nutrient Supplied Other Nutrients Present
Cereal grains & products Energy, protein Invisible fat, vit.B, iron, calcium, fibre
Pulses and legumes Protein, energy Invisible fat, vit.B, iron, calcium, fibre
Milk & meat products Protein Fat, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin B12, fat soluble vitamins
Fruits & vegetables Vitamins, minerals & fibres Invisible fat, trace minerals and vitamins
Fats & sugars Energy

How the Balanced Diet Helps Us

  • As a tool for nutritional assessment
  • As a tool for nutrition education
  • Planning diets for normal healthy people
  • In providing variety of diet
  • Planning therapeutic diets
  • In formulation of nutrition labels

Components of Balanced Diet and its Functions

1. Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates, which is a vital source of energy, comprises around 50-60% of an individual’s diet. Therefore, we have to include about 6 to 11 servings in each diet. Here each serving is about 30 grams. Some important sources of carbohydrates are bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group.

2. Vitamins and Minerals:

Micronutrients- vitamins and minerals are responsible for metabolism, bone maintenance and cell production, nerve and muscle function. Vegetables and fruits are the major sources of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, potassium, folate, sodium, iodine, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin D.

Vegetables and fruits should be taken moderately around 2 to 4 servings each day. Serving is hundreds grams so this is for the entire day, not for an individual meal. So in the whole day we can have up to 200 to 400 grams of fruits and vegetables.

3. Protein:

Proteins are necessary for maintenance and development of muscles, skin and hair. There are 22 types of protein, out of which our body can develop 14. Therefore, other 8 should be supplied externally. A balanced diet should consist of all these proteins. Some protein rich foods are meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, legumes, nuts, eggs, milk and milk products. In an adult, daily requirement of protein is 2-3 servings where each serving is again 30 grams and maximum can be hundred grams.

Around 200 to 300 ml of milk, meat, fish, and poultry products should be consumed.

4. Fats and Oils:

Fats and oils are the concentrated sources of energy and you cannot use any amount because it will only store as adipose tissue in the body. So use sparingly very less amount. Maximum you can use up to 20 grams per day.

5. Water:

Life without water is impossible, it keeps our body hydrated, helps in regulating body temperature and allows the movement of all the components from one cell to another within the body. It is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.

In conclusion, the balance diet and food groups help us to plan a balanced diet and implement it. Though there are many numbers of members in the family we can still plan a very good diet to keep the family healthy. Similarly, even in institutions and hospitals we can follow this. Wherever the planning of diet is necessary you have an idea of what are the components of balanced diet and it is very easy to plan a balanced diet.

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