Dr Saleha Mohsin is a Kuwait-based homeopathic doctor and consultant dietician.
Depending on individual characteristics (such as age, gender, lifestyle, and level of
physical activity), cultural context, regionally accessible foods, and dietary habits, a
diversified, balanced, and healthy diet will take on different compositions. But the
fundamental ideas of what makes up a healthy diet stay the same.
Doctor, why do I have deficiencies when I am eating well and on schedule? Patients frequently ask this question following the results of blood tests. Healthy food is frequently misinterpreted with calories. Even though a person may be consuming adequate calories, the nutrient content of the food might be poor (empty calories). The body is more vulnerable to illness, infection, weariness, and poor performance when a balanced diet is not consumed.
A balanced diet is a diet that contains different kinds of foods in certain quantities and proportions so that the requirement for calories, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and alternative nutrients is adequate and a small provision is reserved for additional nutrients to endure the short length of leanness. A balanced diet includes different food groups in appropriate proportions, i.e.
pulses and legumes
milk and milk products
meat and meat products
fruits and vegetables
nuts and oil seed
fats and oils
Depending on individual characteristics (such as age, gender, lifestyle, and level of physical activity), cultural context, regionally accessible foods, and dietary habits, a diversified, balanced, and healthy diet will take on different compositions. But the fundamental ideas of what makes up a healthy diet stay the same.
Importance of a balanced diet:
To supply the body with all the nutrients required for proper body function, growth, and development.
To improve body immunity and boost performance.
To attain ideal body weight and prevent the risk of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
In children, a balanced healthy diet is very important for their physical, mental, and emotional growth. Deficiency of essential nutrients at an early age may result in retardation of growth and development.
A balanced healthy diet in pregnancy and lactation ensures the well-being of mother and child.
What to eat:
Whole grains like wheat, unprocessed maize, rice, oats, millets, ragi, barley.
Sprouted pulses, lentils, beans.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, green leafy vegetables as salad, soups, stews, purees, juices, and smoothies.
Lean meats- chicken, and fish must be preferred over red meat.
Eggs are the source of complete protein and must be included in the diet.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and peanuts are good sources of plant-based protein.
Oil seeds like sunflower seeds and flax seeds are good sources of essential nutrients.
Milk and milk products like cottage cheese, yoghurt.
What to avoid:
Refined cereals such as white bread, processed pasta, noodles, and semolina. They have poor nutrient quality.
Processed meat- bacon, salami, meat sauces, ham, hot dog. Processed meat is high in nitrates which is a risk factor for high blood pressure and heart disease.
Packed snacks- biscuits, chips, fries, ice cream. Packed snacks are high in salt, sugar and trans-fats.
Bakery items like doughnuts, cakes, cookies, and pizza as they are empty calories.
Energy-dense beverages – soda, and fruit juices as they are loaded with sugar.
Trans fat-deep fried snacks, fries, frozen foods, spreads. Trans-fat is a proven cause of atherosclerosis.
Water is the most essential nutrient so hydrate yourself well.
Eat less than 5g of salt per day to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Limit free sugar intake to not more than 4 tbsp a day.
Replace fried energy-dense snacks with raw fruits and vegetables as snacks.
One hour per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, particularly aerobics, is desirable.
A person’s general health and wellness depend on having a nutritious diet, engaging in regular exercise, and maintaining healthy body weight.