Do You Have a Balanced Diet?
How can you tell if you have a balanced diet? Simply stick to the colors of the rainbow is one great option! From greens to oranges to all of the other colors, there’s so many amazing nutrients out there your balanced diet needs! Check it out!
Eating a balanced diet:
Are you one of those people who fall sick frequently? Do you feel tired and run down at work, often for no reason?
Achy joints and muscles? A busy lifestyle and increased work pressure are the perfect recipe for elevated stress levels – and that is the easiest way to weaken your immune system health and damage your health. You feel run down and tired and your weakened system can’t fight off infections, bacteria, viruses and inflammation no longer.
Often, our lifestyle means we don’t get the full profile of vitamins we need to stay healthy, pollution, lack of sleep and eating on the go all help to deprive us of vitamins.
Fruits and vegetables get their bright colors from their vitamin content. In order to have a good, healthy, balanced diet we need to consume a fair amount of vitamins. From A, B complex, C, D, E, K and fish oils there are a fair amount of pills available which will cover the whole range.
However, these are factory synthesized and it’s pretty hard to find one pill for all types of requirements, on the whole it is better to get vitamins from the source. And well, you’re gonna have to eat at some point anyway so you might as well just eat vitamin rich food and save on the pills.
Your Balanced Diet
To enjoy life to the fullest, it is important to keep your well-being in mind – and what better way to do it than to eat right? A healthy diet can help balance it all out. It ensures higher productivity, a more positive outlook, and of course, a stronger immune system.
All you need to do is ensure that your body receives the full range of vitamins and minerals while cutting back on all that junk – and a great way to implement this is by ‘eating the rainbow’!
It’s pretty hard to memorize the requirements you have and match them up with the relative foods. Do you really want to be “that guy”? The one who knows that walnuts have vitamin E and Omega 3? Or that the Iron absorption rate of spinach is higher than that of red meat, and can be enhanced further with Vitamin C?
No, no-one wants to be that guy, trust me, I am that guy and no-one has ever enjoyed hearing these facts regurgitated verbatim in a restaurant.
So, I made this easy to use guide, it explains all of the colors and what vitamins they represent. What do you need to do to follow this guide?
- You must eat 1 whole portion to count it as a color. A serving of mixed peppers doesn’t count as 3 colors, it’s 33% of each. When in doubt, eat more veg!
- Eat 2 different colors with each meal (At least! Aim for 3 or 4 portions of veg)
- Alternate colors at meal times
- Eat at least one different color from each meal to the next (If you had red peppers and spinach at breakfast, have broccoli and yellow peppers at lunch)
- Don’t get stuck in a routine, stay loose and vary your meals
- Eat vegetables and fruit in a 4-1 ratio (Veggies have more nutrients, less sugar, less calories and more fiber than fruit, so don’t overdo it on fruit)
- Vegetables are low, low calorie. Fill up on those if you’re trying to lose weight.
- Try to eat all the colors in 1 day, if that’s not doable then you should get them all in within 2 days’ worth of meals.
- Try 3 or 4 different vegetables for each color – Again variety is key, don’t fall into the habit of only eating red peppers and green spinach – Mix It Up!
- Green is good! If nothing else, then eat something green. (M&M’s don’t count!)
- Sometimes it’s hard to follow these rules, so don’t. Stay flexible. If you can’t get 6 different color veg in 1 day because you’re away from your own kitchen, then don’t worry. Get as many as you can and continue the next day.
- Be creative!
So now we know that if we eat enough colors we will get all of our vitamins in the easiest way. We can now see what each color means. Take a look at this list and learn a little about what each color represents.
These are the guys that help keep our heart healthy and pumping while also strengthening the joint muscles. Moreover, the phytochemicals present in many of them act as a guard against some kinds of cancers, and can help lower cholesterol, making them a great ally have in your daily meals!
Red veg contains Lycopene, antioxidants, Vitamin A and more!
If you didn’t know it already, orange fruits and vegetables (like Oranges) are a great source of Vitamin A. This group also works towards keeping those eyes healthy. So, more carrots, anyone?
Most yellow veggies are an awesome way of getting some Vitamin C into your system. These will help boost your immunity as well as the body’s healing process. The yellows can also work wonders for the digestive system and give your skin that beautiful glow! Yellow peppers contain a huge amount of Vit. C
Parents always stress on the importance of eating your greens, and for good reason. These will strengthen the body from its very core, helping the tissues, blood, and cells do their job properly. But that’s not all, they also help fortify the immune system against viral infections and more – a troublesome hurdle for the kids who just want to go out and play!
Cruciferous veg (Spinach, cabbage, Broccoli etc) all contain a large amount of vitamin K and Folic acid and Iron. Also high in protein, Vit B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, and E as well as minerals like Magnesium, Potassium and Zinc you can see why going green is a good choice.
Purples or Blues
This is probably the least eaten vegetable color but this delicious batch of foods empowers the brain, thereby improving memory so start eating them now and you won’t soon forget. If you want to ace that test of yours or just succeed in life, this is something you’re definitely going to need. Moreover, these are also known to decrease the likelihood of cancer, giving you a longer, happier life in the bargain!
Red cabbage, Blueberries, Plums etc. all help with that brain boost most of us need.
The proverbial white knight of the vegetable world. These veggies help protect us from bacteria, help with blood pressure and boost the immune system. Fights off flu, and kill microbes inside and outside the body.
Ginger, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes are cheap and widely available.
6 different colors and how they can help you out. However, this is not to say that orange veggies don’t contain vitamin C or that those red ones don’t have vitamin A in them. Every food has multiple benefits, but this will just give you a general idea of what each one can do.
Top Colors to Pick Out
The ‘rainbow’ ensures a holistic, balanced diet plan, but sometimes this becomes difficult to attain. Each of the colors comes with its unique and vital set of benefits. But of this, how much is absolutely essential for you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
By mixing up the color selection you take the “thinking” out of the equation. By simply eating a variety of veggies you are likely to get all of your vitamin requirements, by not neglecting any particular color and not favoring any color should not develop deficiencies in any one area.
In a healthy individual this will help sustain a balanced diet.
In some cases, often those with medical requirements, this will only be a step in the right direction. Consulting a Doctor for diet advice should be the first step. Some cases, for example these with iodine deficiency, eating too much of one type of vegetable can be detrimental to their health.
However, the vast majority of the population doesn’t eat enough fruit and veg, so moving towards this plan will have hundreds of health benefits.
Can Vegetables Give You All the Necessary Vitamins?
While vegetables are essential to a healthy lifestyle, they won’t give you all that you need to maintain a holistic, balanced diet. Instead, you may need to indulge in some dairy or even meats from time to time to keep yourself going.
For example, vitamin B12 is found only in animal products. So while vegetarians can always turn to milk and dairy, vegans need to get a hold of some supplements.
On the other hand, Vitamin D is produced by the body itself when exposed to sunlight (sans sunscreen, of course). Here, you just need to go out during the bright day 2-3 times a week for 10-15 minutes. However, if you just don’t leave your home or perhaps live near the poles, two cups of fortified milk or some of that salmon/tuna would do just as well.
Since a lot of these vitamins are fat soluble (ADE and K) preparing the vegetable is easy, simply steam or roast and serve with an oil dressing or a little butter, grass-fed butter ideally (I am Irish, all of our butter is grass-fed) or fry lightly in olive oil
While a balanced diet can’t consist of vegetables alone, these make up a large and important aspect of a healthy lifestyle.
Each of the foods has a unique superpower as is indicated by its varying shading – and it’s up to you to make the most of it. By picking out the rainbow to fulfill many of your essential requirements, you can ensure that your meals are both healthfully and artistically satisfying.
So unleash your inner creativity – combine and create a masterpiece with every meal you take. Not only is this a great way to indulge health, but it will also aid you in cutting back on all those unhealthy dishes!
Northern Irish-born Claire Jackson blogs on all aspects of health and lifestyle. She works as an advisor for Motivation.ie where she uses her expertise and experience with weight loss to help clients who want to embrace their new shape and size with the correct clothing. Her published articles focus on the formation of various habits, behaviors and the role of the self-image in how we conduct our lives. Claire has featured on local television and radio discussing various elements of the unique Motivation Weight Management program and how it works.
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