The food you eat provides your body with the essential nutrients for growth, development and energy. While consuming more food than required for prolonged periods of time can increase your risk for obesity and chronic diseases, poor diet may cause malnutrition.
Considerations before Going on a Diet
If you are looking to lose weight, you have to remember that weight loss is not always equivalent to health. Certain new diets that claim to knock of inches from your waistline could actually harm you as they may not provide the sufficient amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals required for your body. The consequent nutritional deficiencies may have long-term health complications. However, most people desperate to lose weight are unaware of these consequences.
You should, therefore check the nutritional completeness and safety of the diet plan before starting it. Seek professional help from a doctor or a nutritionist if you are not sure about the quality of the diet. Many research studies and surveys in recent times have given very high marks to the DASH, TLC, Mediterranean, Mayo Clinic, and Volumetrics diets. On the other hand, the Paleo, Raw Food,Macrobiotic, Dukan, and Atkins diets may lead to nutritional deficiencies as they are very restrictive. Fatigue, insomnia, dizziness and body pains are indicative of poor nutritional quality of the diet.
Characteristics of a Healthy Diet
The important components of a healthy diet include:
- Foods such as whole grains, legumes, beans, fruits and vegetables contain healthy carbohydrates that provide energy for the proper functioning of the body. You should get 40 to 60 percent of your calories from these nutrients.
- Proteins are an important part of every healthy diet. You should get 10 to 35 percent of your calories from them. They are responsible for growth, development, immune function and muscle mass maintenance.
- Your body requires small amounts of fats for the absorption of vitamins and other nutrients. Try to get them from healthy foods such as olive oil and canola oil instead of cheese and butter.
- Healthy diet should also include foods that are low in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans-fats as they may increase your risk for cardiovascular diseases.
- Dietary fibers are found in plant-based foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans. They help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and should be an important part of every healthy diet plan.
- You should also limit the amount of sugar and salt you consume to reduce your weight and lower your risk of chronic diseases.
- Every healthy diet should also include the required amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables. These foods detoxify the body and boost your metabolism.