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Eat smart >> Balanced Diet >> Growing Kids >> Beyond a balanced diet

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Beyond a balanced diet

A diet comprising of diverse and healthy foods is key to promoting good health. Good health is not mere absence of illness but life full of energy. A nutritious diet while ensuring overall well being, helps to maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), and reduces the risk of several debilitating diseases like card iovascular ailments, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.

However, for a woman, good nutrition means a little more than just a balanced diet. We address some of the key issues that are important for a woman’s health. Adopt these strategies and gain control over key areas of health.

Care for your bones: Including high calcium foods for providing benefits to bones is only one part of the equation. The other important aspect of bone health is to avoid foods that can be detrimental to bone health.

Such foods include

  • Caffeine containing foods like coffee, tea, colas
  • High sodium containing foods
  • Very high protein diets

Foods that are bone-friendly include milk and dairy products like curd, paneer, etc.; soy products like tofu, soymilk; cereals like ragi (nachni or finger millet); and dark green vegetables like amaranth (chauli).

Stave off anemia: Inadequate iron in your diet will leave you tired and fatigued. It might increas the risk of iron deficiency anemia. Not providing your body with enough iron does mean depriving your cells of adequate oxygen supply. Apart from headaches, difficulty in concentrating it will leave you with a paler looking complexion too.

Fill up your plate daily with iron rich foods such as green leafy vegetables. Make sure you add some source of vitamin C to your diet to aid uptake of iron. Tomatoes, peppers, lemon and fruits like guava, amla, and oranges are good sources of iron. Iron from animal sources is preferred by the body as it can be easily absorbed e.g. red meat, chicken, poultry, clams, fish, etc.

Lose weight in a healthy manner: Being overweight puts you at an elevated risk of many weight-related diseases. So losing weight is a wise thing to do to keep illness at bay. But it is also important for you to lose weight in a safe and healthy manner. Do not fall prey to fad diets. They seldom give long-term benefits. Set realistic goals. Focus on healthy eating plans rather than being obsessed with calorie counting.

Nourish your body with all the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Eating a variety of healthy foods from each food group (Fruits, Vegetables, Cereals and Pulses, Dairy, Poultry, Fish and Meat products) will ensure intakes of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Also watch out for correct portion sizes which will vary with factors like age, activity level and body size.