Constituents of a healthy diet

By Medical Expert Team

Dec 21 , 2022 | 3 min read

You must have heard of this term called a healthy diet, but do you know exactly what it means? A healthy diet includes a mixture of nutrients that helps in the functioning of the body and prevents non-communicable diseases. The exact diet chart depends on the individuals’ age, gender and cultural eating habits. However, the basic elements of a healthy diet are uniform for all.

Let’s look at the constituents of a healthy diet

  • Carbohydrates- Lately, a low-carb diet has been proposed to have a healthy diet, creating a misconception that carbs are bad. Carbohydrates are fuel for your body. They are not bad for health when consumed in moderation. Moreover, Some are healthier than others. Keep reading to find out what you should opt for.
Carbohydrates can be classified into three categories-
  • Sugar- It is the simplest form of carbohydrates and can be consumed in natural forms such as those present in fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products. There are food items to which sugar is added, such as biscuits, cakes, desserts and sugary drinks. Sugar itself is not harmful. However, natural sources of sugar are healthier than added sugar. It is the intake of excess sugar that increases body weight and cause heart disease, diabetes etc.
  • Starch- It is a source of energy, containing fibre, iron, calcium, vitamin B and iron. People think starch makes them bulky, but the fact is starch has fewer calories than fats. The extra fat/oil you use to cook these starchy food makes them unhealthy.
  • Fibre- It is a type of carbohydrate that your body can’t digest, but it is essential as it has multiple benefits. It slows down the sugar absorption rate, helps in the passage of stool by making it bulky and decreases cholesterol levels.
  • Protein- Protein is known to be the building block of your body. Therefore consumption of protein is essential for all and not just fitness freaks. Sources of protein are eggs, meat, and fish. Animal sources of protein have a complete set of essential amino acids. However, plant-based proteins such as grains, nuts, beans, and soy are good protein sources.
  • Fats- Yet another misconception is that fats are bad. Not all fats are bad. Some healthy fats also decrease the risk of heart disease, control blood sugar, and reduce inflammation in the body. Sources of good fats are olive, sunflower, soy, corn, seeds, nuts and fish like salmon and tuna.
  • Vitamins and Minerals- These are essential nutrients that must be included in your diet. Vitamins and minerals are two different nutrients. Vitamins are organic, whereas minerals are inorganic, which means that vitamins can be destroyed with heat, air or acid. That is why you must have heard of not overcooking vegetables, as they lose the vitamin content on prolonged heating/cooking.
Sources of vitamins are animal fats, dairy foods, liver, vegetable oils, oily fish, fruits and vegetables, milk, milk products and grains.
  • Water- Approximately 60% of your body weight is water; hence you can understand the importance of water intake. The amount of water that you should take depends on your body weight. Divide the body weight by 30 to find the approximate amount of water you should take. You can increase your water intake by carrying a water bottle all the time and refilling it. There is a myth that intake of water during or after taking meals decreases the strength of gastric juices and hence affects digestion. But the fact is water helps in the process of digestion of food.
Now let’s talk about a healthy plate. Your plate should contain the above-mentioned nutrients in the following proportion-
  1. Vegetables and fruits- ½ plate
  2. Whole grains- ¼ plate
  3. Protein- ¼ plate
  4. Healthy oils- in moderate quantity
If you want a customised diet chart, consult our dieticians now. Image by nensuria on Freepik

Written and Verified by:

Medical Expert Team

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