Healthy living

Published Jun 12, 2013 11:42am

It is imperative to consume a balanced diet in order to obtain optimal nutrition and high energy levels, indispensable for living a good life. The optimal nutritional requirement varies for different individuals, depending on their gender, height, weight, age group and level of physical activity.

However, ingesting a diet deficient of the vital nutrients leads to malnutrition and diseases such as ketosis, rickets, scurvy, etc., whereas a diet with inordinate calories and an imbalanced intake of proteins, carbohydrates and fats results in obesity and common medical disorders like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, etc. Therefore, a balanced diet contains the correct proportion of nutrients essential for a healthy life.

Optimal nutrition is attained by introducing appropriate rations of 45 nutrients to the diet which can be largely classified as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. Most of these are present in the diet we intake, nevertheless any gaps in the diet can be filled by the dietary supplements.

To maintain a healthy living, carbohydrates should be taken in sufficient amounts, as they are a major source of energy for the body. To meet the daily requirements, it is recommended that adults should obtain 45pc to 65pc of calories from good carbohydrates found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans. Likewise, a diet rich in proteins provides ample energy to the body, preventing it from exhaustion, and sustaining healthy muscles, skin, nails and hair. Ideally, the daily protein intake for adults ranges between 46g to 50g and can be acquired from foods like fish, meat, poultry, eggs, legumes, milk and nuts.

On the other hand, consuming foods containing saturated fats such as butter, fries, cheese and dairy products are harmful for the heart and contribute immensely to obesity as compared to unsaturated fats, present in high concentrations in olives, peanuts, avocados and canola oil. The sufficient intake of omega-6, a polyunsaturated fat needed for good skin, is 17 grams for men and 12 grams for women. Similarly, 1.6 grams of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, found in membrane lipids, are sufficient for men and 1.1 grams for women.

Many people are unaware that vitamins and minerals are important for physical fitness, e.g. 600µg of Vitamin A, needed for clear vision, is required daily, while an intake of 75mg of Vitamin C is necessary for an active immune system. About 5µg of Vitamin D is important for strong teeth and bones and 10gm of Vitamin K is crucial for blood clotting. Vitamins are found in abundance in leafy vegetables, fruits, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Hence, taking the right amount of nutrients is the key to maximum energy levels and healthy living!


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