A balanced diet provides your body with the vital nutrients it needs to build and maintain healthy cells, tissues and organs, which are crucial for proper growth and development. It includes a variety of foods, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, lean meats, fish, unsaturated oils and low-fat dairy foods. It doesn’t include processed and refined foods that can undermine health.
Eating a balanced diet can help protect you from certain diseases. It can help regulate your blood cholesterol levels, for example, and provide antioxidants, which help protect your cells from damage by unstable molecules known as free radicals. An article published in “Nursing Times” in January 2005 noted that combining a healthy diet with an active lifestyle has huge health benefits and helps reduce the risk of health conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
Processed and refined foods are typically loaded with saturated fats, sugar and calories, which can undermine weight control. When you consume more calories than your body can use for energy, it stores the surplus in fat cells. A Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion article published in April 2012 noted that strong and consistent evidence indicates adults and children who eat fast food are at increased risk for weight gain, especially if fast food is eaten more than once a week.