Why Do You Need a Healthy, Balanced Diet?

by Janet Renee, MS, RD

A balanced diet provides nutrients essential to health.

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You've likely been told by a health professional to eat a balanced diet. Despite how common this recommendation is, you may wonder what constitutes a balanced diet and how healthy food choices benefit you. A balanced diet means eating a wide range of nutrient-dense foods in the right amounts, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and small amounts of essential fat. Eating a healthy, balanced diet plays a crucial role in maintaining radiant health.

Benefits of Balance

Your body needs a wide range of nutrients in the right amounts to grow, develop and maintain itself. Too much, or not enough, of any nutrient can lead to problems. A balanced diet lowers your risk of developing a range of chronic diseases and keeps your body functioning optimally. Increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption promotes healthy blood pressure and may lower your risk for certain types of cancer. Lowering your saturated fat intake may help protect your heart. Eating enough fiber-rich foods helps lower cholesterol. Controlling your sugar intake reduces your risk of type-2 diabetes, and eating the right number of calories keeps your weight under control.

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About the Author

Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.