The Benefits of a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is key to energy, strength and health.
i Hemera Technologies/ Images

A balanced diet provides all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that your body needs to function properly. This way of eating not only supports your overall health, but helps you look and feel your best. According to New York University's Langone Medical Center, when combined with regular physical activity, a balanced diet can help prevent serious health problems. By filling your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods, you can help ensure that you reap the benefits of a balanced diet.

Weight Management

Keeping your weight under control is a major balanced-diet benefit. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, obesity is an American epidemic with 60 percent of American adults classified as overweight and 35 percent considered obese -- and these numbers are rising. Obesity puts you at risk for conditions that include high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, depression and cancer. University of Maryland Medical Center warns that eating a diet high in fat and calories causes weight gain. Consuming a balanced diet rich in low-calorie, low-fat natural foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains helps manage weight.

Boost Energy

Boost your energy level by eating a balanced diet. According to Harvard Medical School, a balanced diet of unrefined carbohydrates, proteins and fats, with an emphasis on vegetables, whole grains and unsaturated fats, helps to ensure a high energy level and prevent fatigue. Refined foods and simple sugars, such as candy and cookies, may provide quick energy but cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate excessively, leaving you feeling tired and craving more sweets. Whole grains and unsaturated fats like olive oil and avocados, however, digest more slowly, providing energy throughout the day.

Heart Health

Eating a balanced diet is a major step toward maintaining a healthy heart and its benefits. By eating a variety of foods that provide sufficient essential nutrients and avoiding foods, such as saturated fats, that block arteries and increase LDL, the bad cholesterol, you may reap the benefit of avoiding high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and other conditions related to heart disease. Make long-term changes in eating habits to reduce the risk of heart problems.

Strengthen Immune System

A healthy immune system protects your body from infectious microorganisms, such as certain bacteria, viruses and fungi. Maintaining a strong immune system helps ensure that your blood vessels, bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen and thymus all function properly. According to Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, your immune system is influenced by your overall health -- and a balanced diet is key. Eating a diet rich in nutrients is an excellent way to build a strong immune system.

Reduce Cancer Risk

A healthful diet, along with weight management and physical activity, is a powerful tool in helping to prevent cancer, according to Stanford Prevention Research Center. For cancer survivors, the benefits of eating a balanced diet are especially important because survivors' risk for developing new cancers or other illnesses is increased. Eat a balanced diet that includes foods like berries, which contain cancer-fighting antioxidants; beans, which contain phytochemicals that slow genetic damage to your cells; cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, which contain cancer-slowing compounds; and leafy green vegetables, which are rich in folate, a vitamin that can reduce the risk of breast and lung cancer.

the nest