Public Health England identifies four main food groups required to maintain a balanced and healthy diet: fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates, protein and dairy.
Fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and also keep our guts healthy with natural fibres.
Carbohydrates split down further into sugar, fibre and starchy foods. The latter is the type that you should consume a lot of - a third of our diet! They take longer to digest than the other food groups, meaning we stay fuller for longer, they supply us with a large variety of required nutrients and they provide us with a good amount of energy.
Proteins are made up of amino acids, some of which our body can produce ourselves and others we cannot; these are essential to such things as regulating the immune system and building muscle.
Dairy products, alongside some leafy vegetables, contain calcium which is important for forming bones and teeth, and also supports cardiovascular health and the nervous system. Dairy products can be substituted in a vegan diet, but it's important to ensure a balanced and varied intake of protein and vitamins.
The negative impact of an unhealthy diet.
2016 figures supplied by WHO estimates that globally 1.9 billion adults were overweight and 650 million were obese, with an approximation that 13% of the entire world population were classed as obese.
But it’s not just the waistline that is suffering due to an unhealthy diet. Recent investigations found that people who consume less than 3 of the 5 a day recommendation had a 24% higher chance of having an anxiety disorder. If the levels of total body fat surpasses 36%, there is also a 70% increase in the likelihood of having anxiety.
If less calories are consumed than required, the cardiovascular system can be affected, with a drop in blood pressure and pulse. Neurologically, starvation and dieting can cause the brain to have insufficient energy to function.
Healthy Eating related AnatomyStuff resources:
Further reading / sources:
Why 5 a day:
Vitamins and minerals:
WHO obesity statistics:
Factors linked with anxiety disorders: