Correct and proper eating can add more years to your life. Eating foods with the right nutritional values will keep you more physically fit and healthy. Learning the habit and practice of eating nutritionally will help you a lot in maintaining your appropriate body weight.
You should know that there are six food groups that you should take into consideration in planning out a healthy diet. These food groups are shaped into a pyramid for easier understanding and comprehension.
The base or the foundation of the pyramid, which you should have more of, are the Bread, Grain, Cereal, and Pasta food group. They are huge reservoirs of complex carbohydrates needed for increased energy. It is highly recommended to have 6 to 11 servings of this food group everyday. One serving is similar to 1 slice of bread, ½ cup of rice or pasta, and 1 flat tortilla.
The next level as we go up the pyramid are the Fruits and Vegetables group. These groups are the main sources of vital nutrients and vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and potassium. You can have as much as 3 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday because they are low in fat and sodium and high in fiber. One serving of fruit is the same as one medium sized apple, orange or banana, ½ cup of canned fruit, and ¾ cup or 4 ounces of real fresh fruit juice. One serving of vegetables is equivalent to 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables, ½ cup of other vegetables either cooked or raw and 4 ounces of fresh vegetable juice.
The third level of the food pyramid is the Dairy product and Protein-rich Items. Dairy products are good sources of protein, vitamins, minerals and especially calcium. Having 2 to 3 servings of dairy products every day in your diet would be very beneficial to your health. One serving of dairy item is equivalent to 1 cup of cottage cheese or ½ cup of whole milk. Protein rich products likewise supply your body with important protein, iron and zinc. To attain favorable results, 2 to 3 servings of protein should be included in your daily diet. One serving should be 2 to 3 ounces. One serving of protein is equal to 2 to 3 ounces of any type of meat, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, ½ cup cooked dry beans, and 1/3 cup nuts.
The apex of the food pyramid holds the Fats and Sweets. It is advised that you should not take these foods as a major portion of your diet because they do not contain important nutritional value. They may provide calories, which are, however, the main causes of obesity and uncontrolled body weight gain. The sweet and tempting samples of this food group are salad dressings, oils, cream, butter, margarine, sugars, soft drinks, candies, and very sweet desserts.