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What makes a balanced diet?

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Introduction

What makes a balanced diet? A balanced diet is a diet that consists of a variety of foods. It should be based on bread, potatoes, cereals and lots of fruit and vegetables. You should also have a moderate amount of milk and dairy products, meat, fish or other alternatives (if vegetarian/vegan). It should contain a limited amount of fat and sugar. Eating a healthy diet can help to prevent obesity, malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies. It can enhance you overall well being and prevent a number of diseases and cancers. It is important that you consume a wide variety of foods to maintain adequate intakes of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, as these are important to your health. Protein is needed for growth and repair of the body and it also gives us energy. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and different foods contain different amounts of these. Different foods vary in the amounts of protein that they provide. The main sources of protein are meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, cereals and cereal products (e.g. bread), nuts and pulses (beans and lentils). A majority of protein can be obtained from animal sources i.e. meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Further protein can be obtained from cereal products, and nuts and pulses. The following chart shows the percentage of protein that is in each food. Protein is broken down by digestion into amino acids, which are then absorbed through the intestine wall and used to make other proteins in the body. Sometimes the amino group of an amino acid is transferred to another molecule by transamination. This is were the human body is able to make some amino acids for itself. These are known as non-essential amino acids. However, not all amino acids can be made in the body. A certain number must be supplied by the diet. These are known as the essential amino acids and for the human adult there are eight: � Leucine � Isoleucine � Valine � Threonine � Methionine � Phenylalanine � Tryptophan � Lysine. ...read more.

Middle

is the amount of a nutrient that is enough for only the small number of people who have low requirements (2.5%). Children have a high-energy requirement for their size, because they regularly go through rapid 'growing spurts' and are very active. To get all this energy they need eat foods that are high in energy (and also rich in nutrients). Younger children need eat them as a part of small and frequent meals, because they do not have large enough stomachs to cope with big meals. A good supply of protein, calcium, iron and vitamins A and D is also necessary during this time. Calcium is needed for healthy tooth development and, together with vitamin D, helps make bones stronger. Childhood is an important time for tooth and bone development. Children need to be encouraged to take responsibility for their dental hygiene and ways of preventing dental cavities. They should be encouraged to eat less foods and drinks containing sugar and, where possible try to have them only at meal times. Iron deficiency anaemia is associated with frequent infections, poor weight gain and delay in development. Iron rich foods, such as liver and red meat, are not always popular with children, so other more appetising ways of providing iron may need to be found, e.g. offering p�t� or minced meat burgers. Children who are vegetarian must have alternative sources of iron, such as dark green leafy vegetables, pulses and nuts. However children are not very fond of leafy vegetables such as spinach. Some bread and fortified breakfast cereals contain iron though. Pregnant women Pregnant women do not need to 'eat for two'. The estimated average requirement for energy (EAR) increases during the last three months of pregnancy by an average of 200 kcal per day. The needs of individual women will vary, depending on how active they are. At this time a woman is less active. ...read more.

Conclusion

* Breast-feeding helps to mobilise fat stores and helps with post-birth weight loss. Breast-feeding burns 500 calories a day. * It is convenient - it needs no preparation and it's free. * Breast milk provides your baby with all the nutrients that they need. Research has found that the average person in the UK eats less than 3 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, instead of the recommended 5. This is even lower amongst young people. The government initiative 5 A DAY programme and website aims to change the way people think, and highlight the healthier benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables. They want to teach people that eating more fruit and vegetables is good for your health. And that eating a good combination of 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day ensures that you get all the nutrients that you need and prevents disease and illness. Children especially need to be encouraged to eat 5 a day as they need a well balanced diet with essential nutrient to help their growing bodies. Here are some benefits of eating '5 a day' from the '5 a day' website (www.5aday.nhs.uk). 'Here are 5 great reasons to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables A DAY * They're packed with vitamins and minerals. * They can help you to maintain a healthy weight. * They're an excellent source of fibre and antioxidants. * They help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. * They taste delicious and there's so much variety to choose from.' The 'Food in Schools' programme is a joint venture set up by the Department of Health and the Department of Edcuation and Skills to help schools implement a whole school approach to food education and healthy eating. A whole range of nutrition-related activities and projects are being developed as part of the programme, to complement and add value to existing healthier food initiatives in schools. (see unit 17) 1. www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturated_fat 2. www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unsaturated_fat 3. www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc#Zinc_deficiency 4. www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietry_fibre 5. www.lbhf.gov.uk/Images/healthy-meal_tcm21-38557.jpg OCR Level Health, Social Care & Early Years Unit 6 Rachael Crossland ...read more.

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