What a balanced diet should contain

It is no news that the quality and quantity of food one consumes plays a major role in determining the quality of their health. Because of the importance of food in determining optimal health, the term “balanced diet” was developed to provide a concrete basis on how healthy a meal should be and not be. A balanced diet is one that contains an appropriate amount of nutrients the body needs for proper growth, development and maintenance of already developed organs, tissues and systems.

Basically, there are six classes of nutrients which the body needs for proper growth and development. A balanced diet contains adequate proportions of these six essential nutrients which are carbohydrate, protein, water, vitamins, fat and minerals. Some of these nutrients such as vitamins and minerals are required in minute quantities, while others such as carbohydrates are needed in large and significant quantities. A balanced diet is one that contains essential nutrients the body needs without excessive harmful substances, and the constituents of a balanced diet are highlighted below.


Carbohydrate is a major nutrient that the body needs for all of its energy-expending processes. Thus, it is a major component of every balanced diet. Carbohydrates are not overly emphasized as part of balanced diets because most foods contain them in proportions that are more than required. However, carbohydrate is an essential nutrient and should make up a quarter of one’s meal. Excess carbohydrate in one’s diet, which is more readily achieved than a deficiency of carbohydrates, has several health consequences


Proteins are another essential nutrient for proper body functioning. Proteins which are made up of amino acids are essential for the buildup of and proper functioning of body tissues. Proteins are also essential for the repair of tissues. Amino acids are of two types, essential and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those which the body cannot synthesize on its own, while non-essential amino acids are those which the body can synthesize. While ensuring that proteins make up about a quarter of one’s diet, it is also important to ensure that the proteins are those that are nutritionally essential, that is, those containing essential amino acids.

Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits are essential components of balanced diets for several reasons. These foods are sources of vitamins and minerals which the body needs to function properly in minute quantities. Vitamins and minerals have several nutritional importance which includes their antioxidant properties that keep the body in top condition healthwise. Fruits also provide a healthy form of sugar which can substitute other forms of sugar. Minerals such as calcium and iron, amongst others, should also be properly incorporated into diets for the nutritional benefits these nutrients come with.


It is important to consider water as part of a healthy diet and not just what one takes to quench their thirst when available. The health benefits of water are numerous making it the most available and nutritionally benefitting beverages there is.

A balanced diet is one of the major keys to attaining optimal health. It is thus important to deliberate plan healthy and balanced meals. It is also important to note that nutritional requirements change during specific periods such as pregnancy.


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