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What Are the Benefits of a Balanced Diet?

by
author image Melinda L. Secor
Melinda L. Secor left a 20-year career in health care and developmental disabilities to become a full-time freelance writer. In addition to blogging regularly, she writes for numerous websites on a wide range of topics that include politics, finance, homeschooling, parenting, sustainable living/self sufficiency, health, developmental disabilities, gardening and many others.
What Are the Benefits of a Balanced Diet?
A balanced diet includes plenty of wholesome, natural foods. Photo Credit mathieu boivin/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

A well-balanced diet provides the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep the body and mind strong and healthy. Eating well can also aid in the prevention of a variety of diseases and health problems, as well as helping to maintain a healthy body weight, providing energy and promoting a general feeling of well-being.

Weight Control

Since a balanced diet requires eating a wide variety of wholesome foods, such a diet often makes maintaining a healthy body weight a bit easier. To meet the body's nutritional needs, it is necessary to include a good supply of whole grains, vegetables and fruits in the diet, along with a smaller portions of dairy and meat products. Eating a healthy variety of these nutrient-dense foods every day leaves less room for those calorie-dense foods that tend to expand the waistline, such as processed foods and fatty or sugary snacks.

Immune System Health

A balanced diet is very important to the immune system, helping to ensure that the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary to its efficient function are available. Even minimal deficiencies in certain nutrients can impair immune system function, such as vitamin A, B-vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, Zinc, iron and selenium. According to director of Yale Prevention Research Center, David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., essential nutrients are critical for the production and maintenance of key germ fighting cells in the immune system, and a balanced diet also has a strong effect on vascular function, since the immune system is dependent on blood flow.

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Heart Health

According to the American Heart Association, a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons against cardiovascular disease.Unrefined whole grains, fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber and are also low in calories. Including plenty of these in the diet can help control both weight and blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. Adding fish to your diet at least twice weekly is recommended by the American Heart Association as well. Oily fish, such as salmon and trout, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower the risk of developing coronary artery disease.

Energy

One of the most noticeable benefits of a balanced diet is energy. Keeping your body fueled with the right proportions of vitamins, minerals and nutrients can give you the energy you need to to make the most of your day. Healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetable and legumes are slow to digest, keeping blood sugar and insulin levels on an even keel for a steady supply of energy throughout the day. Healthy proteins are also vital for energy levels, and can be added to the diet by eating lean meats, poultry and fish, as well as whole grains, tofu, beans and nuts.

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References

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