Food is an essential part of our diet that we cannot take for granted. Eating well-balanced diet is a vital way to stay healthy and fit. If you eat less, chances are that you will be undernourished; and if you eat too much, you will be inviting obesity to take away the good part of your life. So, how exactly does one eat good, well-balanced balanced food to stay healthy?
Age is an important factor that determines the type of food your body needs at a particular time in life. Research has shown that actively growing children need more food than adolescents. Adolescents on the other hand too need more than adults, while the elderly need to have moderate diet to maintain the body’s physiological demands in old age.
Consequently, a young child needs high protein-containing diet such as egg, fish etc to supply the amino acids needed to produce new cells for growth; little fat to help provide energy and higher carbohydrate. The elderly also needs moderate protein to help them repair damaged tissues which are being replaced in old age; high carbohydrate for energy and little or no fat.
It is a common knowledge from extensive research that a man needs more calories than a woman. The reason for this is not far-fetched. Men have a bigger physique, with greater muscle mass than women. As a result, men have to provide more energy in their diet to fuel the growth and survival of muscle fibers and tissues.
On the other hand, a woman’s body contains more of fat, which can usually be oxidized in certain health conditions such as anorexia, where there is reduced intake of food. However, it is essential that an adult, irrespective of sex, eats a balanced diet containing carbohydrate, protein, fats, fruits and vegetables in moderate amounts. Additionally, it is healthier to eat little portions of food when hungry and exercise more.
The best portion of food you eat will depend on the type of work you do or the level of activity you get involved in on daily basis. As we partake in daily activities, our body goes through the physiologically-induced stress. The body tends to burn the energy we store in form of fat beneath the skin and in organs, and the glycogen (form of carbohydrate store in the human liver). The human cells and tissues also age and are susceptible to wear and tear. The more strenuous your job, the higher the tendency to go through the physiologically-induced stress mentioned above.
So, a civil engineer or manual labor may require more energy-rich food than a tailor. While a busy executive, who is always on the go, will also need more calories than a babysitter, or an average person who practices sedentary lifestyle.
In summary, you must know your body’s energy requirement well enough. It is not enough to just crave for your favorite food. No, you must know what amount of energy your body needs to perform optimally and stay healthy for the rest of the day. According to nutritionists, your body’s energy requirement is a factor of your age, sex, your occupation and your basic metabolism rate. In simple terms, how much food you need exactly will depend on these criteria.