What does a nutritional diet consist of?

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Answered by: Erin, An Expert in the Nutrition - General Category
Keeping yourself strong and healthy can begin simply enough, by what your diet consists of. The saying, “you are what you eat” really is true, as making smart choices about your diet can help you to feel better, stay fit, and keep you healthy. But what exactly does a nutritional diet consist of?

Two of the most significant food groups that play roles in a nutritional diet are fruits and vegetables. There are many advantages of incorporating fruits and vegetables into your daily routine, including that most are high in fiber, yet low in fat and calories. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis are less likely to suffer from health problems such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

Vegetables and fruits are also naturally rich in antioxidants that help to keep protect your body against free radicals, or components that can lead to health issues including cancer. Though a body's needs vary from person to person, the CDC advises that moderately active women (those who exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day) consume at least 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables daily, from the ages of 19 to 50; moderately active men in the same age range should eat 2 cups of fruit and 3.5 cups of vegetables daily.

Along with fruits and vegetables, grains, protein and dairy are also important for a nutritional diet, explains the United States Department of Agriculture website, choosemyplate.gov. Protein, for example, plays a vital role in health and survival, in that it provides amino acids for our bodies. The human body – its cells, organs and tissues – are made up of proteins, therefore your body depends on these amino acids to help build and replace said proteins. To ensure that you're getting enough protein daily, include seafood, poultry and other meats into your diet. Legumes, nuts and eggs are also rich in protein.

Whole grains are yet another part of a nutritional diet. This is because whole grains such as breads, pastas, oatmeal and rice are full of fiber, and provide a rich variety of vitamins and minerals. Grains also offer generous amounts of carbohydrates, which the human body needs in order to produce and use energy. The Harvard School of Health's website reported an experiment by the Iowa Women's Health Study, which shows a relationship between women who ate at least two servings or more daily, of whole grains were 30 percent less likely to die from an inflammation-based health condition.

The Harvard School of Health's website also explains that daily consumption of whole grains can offer an array of advantages, including a healthy digestive tract and a reduced chance of suffering from colorectal cancer. Your best bet is to stick with whole grains like brown rice; be sure to avoid refined grains such as white bread, white flour and white rice, as these foods have had much of their natural nutrients stripped away from them including the bran and germ, which no long makes them whole grains.

Dairy is also required for a nutritional diet. Milk, cheese and yogurt are all examples of dairy foods. To keep yourself healthy, keep to low-fat or fat free dairy products. The Positive Health website explains that milk is “the single most complete food known to exist naturally.” Dairy offers many precious nutrients, particularly calcium, which is essential for strong teeth and bones. Milk and other dairy foods are especially important for children and young people when their bones are still growing.

A nutritional diet consists of a variety of foods. From protein to veggies, every food group is as significant as the next, it's just a matter of including enough of them all into your daily routine. A healthy diet may help you to have a longer, happier life.






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