According to one recent report, around 80% of Americans don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. In today’s fast-paced society, it’s easy to get off track. After all, there are entire industries built around pre-packed, convenience foods and you can grab meals prepared in seconds at the local drive-through.
With so many quick choices at your fingertips, why should you take the time to establish a well-balanced diet? Today, we’re diving into many ways it can benefit your body, transforming and nourishing it from the inside out.
What Is a Balanced Diet?
Before we dive into why it’s so important, let’s discuss what a balanced diet includes. In short, this is a diet that provides your body with the nutrients it needs to function the right way.
While everyone has different nutritional requirements, the daily calories you consume should come from the following sources:
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- Whole grains
- Healthy proteins (lean meat, eggs, fish)
- Nuts and legumes
Not everyone will consume foods from all six of these groups. For example, vegans will not eat any type of animal product, such as meat, fish, or dairy. Instead, they will consume only plant-based foods. Similarly, there are some people who are intolerant of dairy and will need to seek alternatives to milk, cheese, and other products.
These substitutions are fine as long as they still provide you with the adequate nutrients your body needs. For example, vegans might not get their protein from meat, but they can consume tofu and beans instead. Likewise, lactose-intolerant individuals can find protein-rich equivalents, such as almond milk.
Regardless of any personal variations you need to make, you should be able to derive the full range of essential nutrients from your diet, including:
- Vitamins and minerals
- Healthy fats
In other words, your diet should feature items found around the perimeter of your grocery store, including the fresh produce and meat sections. Those inner aisles are typically reserved for more processed goods, from chips and crackers to cereals and canned items.
While everyone needs the nutrients above, we won’t all need them in the same quantities. To understand how much of each nutrient you should consume daily, you can reference the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Foods to Limit in a Balanced Diet
Now that you know what your diet should consist of, let’s review what you should minimize. If possible, limit your intake of the following:
- Highly processed foods
- Added sugar
- Added salt
- Trans fats (artificial fats)
- Refined grains
While these items are fine in moderation, consuming too much of them can damage your health. Rather than helping you reach your health and fitness goals, they can sidetrack your progress. They contain very few essential nutrients, if any at all, and are mostly there to fill you up temporarily. As such, it’s easy to overindulge in them to satiate that hunger that will inevitably return.
The Importance of Calories
A balanced diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to operate on an optimal level. This energy comes in the form of calories. The number of calories a food contains refers to the amount of energy stored within it.
We use energy from calories to perform all of our daily tasks, from working and thinking to walking and breathing. If you don’t eat enough nutritious foods throughout the day, you might notice that your energy levels will begin to dip and fatigue will set in.
While processed foods might give you a quick jolt of stamina, that short-lived spike will soon turn into a dip, and you’ll find yourself feeling even more tired than before. That’s because those are empty calories, meaning they provide calories but very little nutrition.
While the average person needs around 2,000 calories each day, this isn’t the same for everyone. Your ideal number of calories will depend on a range of factors, including:
- Your age
- Your gender
- Your physical activity level
It’s always best to get the majority of your calories from whole foods. This way, you’re not only getting the energy you need, but you’re also fueling your body with the full array of nutrients it needs to feel great.
Why Is a Balanced Diet Important?
A well-balanced diet gives your body an appropriate amount of nutrient-rich calories, powering it to perform at peak capacity throughout the day. If most of your meals contain empty calories, these habits can negatively affect your long-term health.
While snacks and treats are fine in moderation, using them to supplement your diet could leave your immune system weak and compromised, making you more prone to disease and infection.
You’re also at a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. This is a group of five conditions that occur together, including:
- High blood sugar (glucose)
- High blood pressure
- Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood
- High levels of triglycerides in your blood
- A large waist circumference
All of these are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. However, when a person has three or more of the conditions, they are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome and their risk of developing a serious cardiovascular condition increases. These conditions include:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
Factors that increase your likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome include obesity, physical inactivity, insulin resistance, genetic factors, and increasing age. By eating a balanced diet and sticking to a regular fitness routine, you can lower your risk and improve your overall health. Not only will you find that you have more energy and focus throughout the day, but you’ll also be doing wonders for your lifelong wellness.
How Balanced Is Your Diet?
Most of us strive to eat healthily. We fill our bellies with colorful fruits and vegetables and try to incorporate as many lean proteins and healthy carbs as we can. However, it can be impossible to maintain a perfect plate all of the time.
We get it, and that’s why we created Nature’s Sustenance. Our nutrient-rich supplement is here to help you on the days you’re eating your best and the ones you aren’t.
With just one serving, you can fill your body with more than 20 fruits, veggies, and greens, giving it a super-boost of the nutrients it needs. Our supplements are 100% plant-based, 100% natural, and vegan-friendly. They’re also sustainably made and formulated right here in the U.S.
Try them for yourself today and feel free to contact our team if you have any questions. Your journey to a well-balanced diet starts today!