What Are the Seven Components of a Healthy Diet?

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There are seven components to a healthy diet which need to be balanced according to your weight, level and type of physical activity. The seven components of a healthy diet include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber and water.

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Carbohydrates are converted into blood sugar in your body to provide energy for your cells, organs and tissues. Carbohydrates can be simple or complex. MedlinePlus says, "You get simple carbohydrates from fruits, milk products and table sugar. Complex carbohydrates include whole grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables and legumes."

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Fat is an important source of energy. Fat gives food flavor and helps you feel full. You can get fat from oils, dairy products, fish and nuts. MedlinePlus recommends corn, canola, olive, safflower, soybean and sunflower oil as healthy sources of fat.

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Protein exists in every living cell of your body. Protein found in food builds and repairs skin, muscles and bones. You can get protein from nuts, dairy, meat and some beans and grains. MedlinePlus explains that there are complete and incomplete proteins. "Proteins from meat and other animal products are complete proteins. This means they supply all of the amino acids the body can't make on its own. Plant proteins are incomplete. You must combine them to get all of the amino acids your body needs."

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Your body needs 13 different vitamins to grow and develop properly. You can get vitamins from eating fresh fruits and vegetables or from vitamin supplement pills. Each vitamin helps with certain functions. For example, vitamin A improves vision, vitamin C maintains healthy skin and vitamin D keeps the bones and teeth strong.

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Your body needs minerals to build strong bones, create hormones and regulate your heartbeat. Minerals help release the energy from food and improve brain functioning, which can help you think more clearly and make wiser decisions. They can be found in fruit, vegetables and fish. Examples of minerals are calcium, iron and iodine.

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Fiber is found in plants. Dietary fiber is the part of a plant your body can't digest. Soluble fiber is able to dissolve in water; insoluble fiber cannot. Fiber helps prevent constipation and improves the rate at which your body eliminates food, since it cannot stay in the body as digested food material. Fiber also helps control your weight by making you feel full faster. You can get fiber from fresh fruit, whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

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Clean and safe drinking water is an essential component of a healthy diet. According to MedlinePlus, how much water you need depends on "your size, activity level and the weather." It is important to find out if your local water is safe enough to drink from the tap. If not, filtered or bottled water are your best drinking water sources.

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