Eating a variety of foods can help you get all the nutrients you need. Your body needs protein, carbohydrate, and fats for energy. They keep your heart beating, your brain active, and your muscles working.
Along with giving you nutrients, healthy foods also can give you pleasure. They can taste great and be good for you at the same time.
Good sources of nutrients are:
- Unsaturated fats like olive and canola oil, nuts, and fish.
- Carbohydrate from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes (peas, beans, and lentils), and low-fat milk products.
- Lean protein such as all types of fish, poultry without skin, low-fat milk products, and legumes.
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In addition to nutrients, foods also contain other things that are important for good health. These include:
- Fiber, which comes from plant foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Fiber may help control blood sugar and cholesterol. It keeps your intestines healthy and prevents constipation.
- Phytochemicals, which also come from plants and may protect against cancer.
- Antioxidants, which also are in fruits and vegetables. They protect your body from damage caused by free radicals.
Moderation is your key to healthy, balanced eating. If your favorite foods are high in fat, salt, sugar, or calories, limit how often you eat them. Eat smaller servings, or look for healthy substitutes.
And yes, you can have desserts and treats now and then. All foods, if eaten in moderation, can be a part of healthy eating.
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