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What is a Healthy Balanced Diet?

A healthy balanced diet is one that promotes the maintenance or improvement of an individual's health. People choose to maintain healthy diets for many different reasons, ranging from weight loss to coping with a medical condition that requires a specific diet. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet involves not only consuming healthy and nutritious foods, but also avoiding unhealthy foods such as many forms of fast food. Vitamins, minerals, oils, proper amounts of calories, and adequate amounts of water are a few of the many concerns that need to be considered in the planning of a healthy balanced diet.

The idea of what a true healthy balanced diet is varies by person; a proper diet may vary from person to person based on gender, age, weight, general level of activity, and several other factors. Most diets will, however, have at least a few common factors. A large part of one's diet, for example, should normally be composed of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes, and pasta, as these contain complex carbohydrates that provide a good amount of energy over time. Fruits and vegetables are also very important parts of a healthy balanced diet, as they contain many vitamins and minerals that are essential to health.

It is also very important to get enough protein in one's diet, as dietary protein is broken down into amino acids which are essential for biosynthesis, or for making new proteins that are important for development and growth. One can get protein by eating such foods as meat, eggs, beans, and fish. Dairy products, or products made from milk, should also make up an important part of one's diet, as they contain dietary protein, vitamins, and minerals while providing a healthy amount of energy. One should typically have more starches, fruits, and vegetables than dairy and meat products in a healthy balanced diet.

In addition to eating nutritious foods, it is also important to avoid excess unhealthy foods if one wishes to build and maintain a healthy balanced diet. Sweets and sugary drinks, for example, generally should not be eaten in large amounts. They contain large quantities of simple carbohydrates, such as sugars, that have little health value and which can cause an accumulation of fats. Many kinds of fast food should also be avoided, as they tend to involve unhealthy fats and oils that increase levels of unhealthy cholesterol, which can also lead to an unhealthy accumulation of fats in one's body.

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