To stay mentally as well as physically happy, we need to eat healthy regularly. Eating a balanced diet sometimes gets tough for us due to a busy lifestyle. Our body needs water, protein, carbs and fats to survive. We need to get these sources primarily from food. A diet which contains food from five groups can fulfill the nutritional requirements of our body. By eating a balanced diet, we can maintain good health and reduce our risk of life-threatening diseases.
What is a healthy diet?
A healthy diet is one that fulfills the nutritional demands of your body and keeps it working healthily. A healthy diet has a limited intake of calories. A person’s diet will be considered healthy only if its one-half consists of fruits and vegetables and the other half is made up of protein and fibre.
One of the best ways to make healthy eating easy is following the food pyramid. With the help of the food pyramid, you can get the correct amount of nutrients like protein, fat, carbs, vitamins and minerals.
What is the food pyramid?
A food pyramid has four shelves. On each of the food, pyramid shelves food comprising the same kind of nutrients is clustered together. You can choose from several foods to make it a healthy diet. Using the food pyramid, you can achieve the right balance of nutritious foods in your calorie range. Studies show that on top of the Food Pyramid table, we eat too many calories from foods and beverages high in fat, sugar and salt, which deliver very little of what the body needs for essential vitamins and minerals. On the second shelve of food pyramid table, it consists of dairy products, poultry products and meat. On the third shelve, the food pyramid table consists of grains, fruits and vegetables. And the last, fourth floor consists only water.
How does food pyramid help us eat better?
- A food pyramid illustrates the nutritional contents, chemicals and additives used in food, so a person can plan a diet based on the nutritional value and natural ingredients.
- It gives you a suggestion on what food groups should be included in your diet, which will help you stay healthy both physically and mentally.
- will recommend the number of servings of each food group, you need in a day. The serving size is different for male and female of different age groups.
- A food pyramid helps people plan for a more healthy food in other ways. Of starters, it suggests “eating at least one green and one orange vegetable per day in the vegetables and fruits category.” This allows you to check nutrition labels regarding nutrient, mineral and calorie recommendations in the foods you eat.
Switch to a healthy diet
Switching to a healthy diet is not easy for individuals who are foodies. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you’ll have to relinquish the food you enjoy. It’s just that you need to follow a healthy diet plan regularly. Keep your goals modest and achieve without feeling deprived. Have a nutrient-rich diet according to the food pyramid and set yourself up for success. Keep things simple, eat healthier and be in motion. Do not forget to keep exercise in the routine. Avoid packaged, oily, sugary and packaged food and choose for fresh and naturally formulated food.
Food Pyramid, the Indian perspective
The ‘Asian Food pyramid’ was originally the best food pyramid that Indians should adopt. It is important to remember that our diet varies considerably from most of the far East, which led to the change of the pyramid. The Asian Food Pyramid has been designed to suit the Indian palette and our peculiar dietary habits and indigenous food have been taken into account. There are nine portions of the Indian edition of Food Pyramid.
Many of the foods known as “superfoods” today such as green tea, seaweed, kimchi and mushroom have their root in the traditional Asian diets. The traditional Asian diet has many different regions in the geographical and culinary sense. Almost every traditionally Asian diet, despite their differences, has a common eating pattern of vegetables, strong spices, rice and noodles, tofu and soy products, and seafood in coastal communities. In several Asian countries, vegetarian traditions are strong with the use of grains like millet and barley, all enlivened by soy sauce, fermented fish sauce and various spicy condiments. If you are an Indian wanting to follow Pyramid Diet, then follow the Asian Diet Pyramid. Here is the list of foods to be added in your diet importantly.
Fruits to be included in your Food Pyramid Diet
Rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fibre, apples help to reduce risks of developing pancreatic cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
- Tropical and exotic
Fruits like Bananas and mangoes are Tropical and Exotic Fruits. They are rich in Vitamin C and have a low GI. Bananas are good for your tummy and mental health.
- Citrus fruits
Oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, and limes are citrus fruits extremely rich in Vitamin C. Citrus fruits protect your body from free radicals that damage the body cells. Fruits rich in Vitamin C also help your body fight cancers.
- Stone fruits
Fruits that are rich in Vitamin C, as well as beta-carotene like Nectarines, apricots, peaches, and plums, are great for your eyesight. They also help you get rid of body inflammation.
Berries are a great source of fibre that is extremely good for your stomach. Berries also contain antioxidants that help in reducing cholesterol and glucose levels. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals that help in weight loss.
Vegetables to be included in your Food Pyramid Diet
- Leafy green veggies
Low in fat and high in dietary fibre green leafy vegetables are helpful in fighting cancer, heart diseases as well as diabetes. They are rich in folic acid,phytochemicals, potassium, vitamin cand magnesium.
- Cucumber and zucchini
To keep your body hydrated and detoxify it, you must ass cucumbers in your diet. They are rich in vitamins and minerals and also help in weight loss. Zucchini is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, folate, copper, vitamin A and phosphorus.
- Cruciferous veggies
Vegetables in Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage and Cauliflower fall under the category of Cruciferous veggies. They are rich sources of vitamins C, E, and K, fibre, folate, minerals, and carotenoids.
- Potato, sweet potato, and yam
Potatoes are rich sources of Vitamin B6, Potassium and magnesium. Sweet potatoes fill your body with thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, and carotenoids. Yams are rich in Vitamin C, fibre, potassium, manganese, and metabolic B vitamins. They help you get a stronger immune system.
You also need to add milk products, fish, eggs, beans, meats, nuts and seeds in your diet. Consume ghee, and coconut oil, fats, and sweets in a low percentage. You should consume fat from natural sources like nuts, fish and vegetable oils. Calories should also be consumed from sources like fruits.