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Eating balanced is something we all aim for, but what does it mean? Our bodies require carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We need to take responsibility for feeding our body properly to get a balance of macronutrients, which will support our energy levels and health.

Eating balanced does not mean that you must include all 3 macronutrients in absolutely every meal. It would be very hard to achieve the exact RDI- Recommended Daily Intake (NHS) every day and in every meal. The best approach is to ensure that you are eating a variety of foods and sufficient quantities of all macronutrients the week.

In reality, we are all unique and have our own individual needs for different nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Our bodies are smart and can make some of the essential nutrients, but not all of them. In addition, we still require the components to synthesise those nutrients.

The reasons to include the 4 macronutrients and vitamins and minerals are described below:

  • Carbohydrates: The easiest source of energy for our body. Allows better brain function, physical fitness and improves mood. Carbohydrate foods most often include fibre, which nourishes the microbiome in our gut, leading to improved digestion and reduced stress levels.  
  • Proteins: The building blocks of our body, their main function is growth and repair, but they can also provide energy by turning into glucose. They are essential to allow greater speed of recovery for muscle after fitness, to strengthen the immune system and slow down aging.  
  • Fat: The nutrient that maintains the cell membranes and fluids in our body. It is essential in most processes in the body. It is functions include, but not limited to the support of hormonal health, being a source of vitamins and acting as a transporter.  
  • Vitamins and Minerals: The function of each mineral and vitamin is unique particularly to it. The body can use each one is a number of ways. Their overall role is to support the body’s processes, all systems i.e. cardiovascular, immune and skeletal. Examples of vitamins are A, C, E, K and folate; examples of minerals are calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper and sodium.

Ensuring that all nutrients are received in sufficient quantities can seem challenging. However, as long as the diet is diverse in types of food, has a variety of colours and includes a lot of fruit and vegetables, you are most likely to meet the requirements of your body. In certain cases, the help of a qualified dietician or nutritionist may be required to create a balanced diet suitable for the individual.

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