For a diet to be balanced and healthy, it must meet a series of essential characteristics that may vary depending on the person, their age, or lifestyle, among other factors.
It is considered that a diet is healthy when the foods that are consumed together with other factors such as lifestyle (passive, active), age, and physiological situation (pregnancy, lactation, childhood, adolescence, old age) provide the necessary nutrients to maintain the health of the organism, at present and also in the future.
Characteristics for a healthy diet
There are several characteristics that correspond to a correct diet, such as:
- Be varied. It must be made up of different types of food since no food provides all the nutrients.
- Sufficient energy and nutrients to maintain vital functions and daily activities, both physical and intellectual.
- Adapted to physiological needs (pregnancy, lactation, adolescence …), geographic region, religion, and culture.
- Balanced, respecting the recommended percentages of the different nutrients, being: carbohydrates or sugars 50-60%, fats 30-35%, and proteins 10-15%
To adapt these nutritional requirements to the population, dietary guidelines emerge. These guides are educational tools with practical and straightforward messages to make it easier for people to choose and eat healthy foods.
Currently, the instrument most used by the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition is the healthy eating pyramid, which separates foods according to if their daily and occasional consumption is recommended.
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