In physics, 1 calorie is defined as “the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water by 1 degree Celsius”; however, in nutritional studies, a calorie is the standard unit used to measure the amount of energy contained in a food item. Humans need a balanced supply of food – both solid and liquid – for their survival. Maintaining a healthy daily diet means consuming the right amount of calories from basic nutrient groups – Proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fats.
The recommended level of daily calorie intake depends largely on a person’s daily routine. For example athletes and other people who are involved in physically intensive jobs naturally need more calories than those who spend a major part of their day sitting on a chair in front of a computer. Gender also plays a key role in determining the level of daily caloric intake; men require more calories per day as compared to women. For example, an adult male with an average build and moderate physical activity should consume around 2,500 to 2,800 calories per day, whereas an adult female with the same kind of physical activity should have an intake of 2,000 calories daily.
Carbohydrates are essentially the main source of fuel for your body, concluded a scientific study. So the biggest proportion of your daily diet should be based on carbohydrates. In other words, 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates. Starchy foods such as potatoes, vegetables, grains, fruits and milk are all rich in carbohydrates.
Dietry fiber is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants. Prevention and cure of constipation, coronary diseases, diabetes and haemorrhoids are the proven benefits of fiber intake. Men should consume 30 to 38 grams of fiber every day, while women should consume 21 to 25 grams of dietary fiber. Foods rich in dietary fiber include, whole grains, nuts, vegetables and seeds.
It is a common perception that fat is not good for your health, which is true to some extent, but not all fats are unhealthy, only saturated and trans fats increase your cholesterol level. However, there are certain forms of fat that are required to help protect your organs, produce important hormones and absorb essential vitamins including Vitamin, A, E, D and K. Generally, fat consumption should not exceed 20 to 35 percent of your daily calorie consumption. Some common sources of healthy fat include olives, canola and nuts.
Proteins supply essential amino acids to your body, which play a key role in the formation and repair of muscles. 10 to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake should be based on protein. Lean meat, nuts, beans and dairy products are rich sources of protein.