Food is the fuel and energy to keep the body alive and going. The art of eating right is important for your long-term health and fitness. Healthy eating should be a way of life with each and every family member and also the kids who should be properly educated regarding the food and its various components and nutrients.
To stay healthy you need to derive more than 40 nutrients from food that your body cannot produce on its own. These essential nutrients consist of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and others. The foods we eat for nutrition can be easily divided into various groups depending on the type and amount of nutrients and vitamins they provide.
A healthy and balanced diet is all about carefully choosing nutrients from each group for consumption. Here is a proper listing of the food groups and their benefits to our body:
Breads, Cereals and Grains: The most important food group that is commonly known as energy powerhouse. All the food items in this group are good source of carbohydrates, B vitamins and iron. The whole grains provided by this group also add fiber, magnesium, zinc and folic acid. You need to be extra careful not to consume the high-sugar foods from this group.
Vegetables: These can be broadly divided into three major groups. The colored ones or dark green, yellow and red vegetables. The starchy ones, grow under the ground and, the green leafy vegetables. Each of the vegetable group is important as it supplies different types of nutrition to the body.
The green, red and yellow ones are rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, folic acid and zinc. Leafy green are richest source of minerals like calcium and iron. Some of them have the ability to prevent cancer too. Starchy vegetables are good source of carbohydrates.
Fruits: All the fruits present in the fruits group are good sources of vitamins, potassium, zinc and folic acid. Citrus fruits are especially good source of Vitamin C. Fruits when eaten with skin provide lots of dietary fiber.
Meat, Fish, Poultry and Eggs: This group is an excellent source of protein, the building material of our body. They also contribute in providing iron, zinc, vitamins A, B6, B12 and phosphorus to the body. However, care should be taken while selecting the meat portions, as it is fairly high in calories and fat.
Dairy Products: The dairy products are an important part of our diet as they’re the richest source of calcium that helps the formation of bones in the body. Milk and milk based products like cheese, curd, butter and cream provide ample sources of calcium, proteins and several vitamins. However, their full-fat versions may contain a higher amount of fat, so it’s better to switch to the skimmed or low fat dairy products.
Fats, Sweets and Alcohol: These foods are eaten for fun but they supply nothing more than extra calories and fat to the body. Hence the amount consumed in this food group should be highly regulated and moderated. It should be balanced depending on your calorie needs.