Variety is the spice of life
When you supply your body with a variety of foods, you can be assured of a balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and all the essential nutrients’ which include vitamins and minerals. Even if you eat one particular food which contains a host of nutrients, you cannot survive on that alone. For one thing, eating like this will be boring; and that food will not provide everything your body needs.
Quality not quantity
Variety does not mean quantity, however. You should eat moderate amounts of a variety of foods, in order to obtain an ample supply of nutrients and keep calories down at the same time. The USDA Food Pyramid offers a general guide to a healthful daily diet. The recommended serving sizes are reasonably small.
Add Color to Your Food
One smart way to follow these dietary guidelines is to fill your plate with foods of different colors. The food will not only be attractive and appealing, but it will help in providing your body with a variety nutrients. Add dark green leafy vegetables like arugula, broccoli, collard greens or spinach to black beans, split peas, lentils or green peas. Add this in turn to deep, yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots, plantains squash or pumpkins which are particularly rich in vitamin A and other antioxidants.
The green leafy vegetables supply antioxidant vitamins A and C, in addition to B vitamins like folate and riboflavin; as well as various minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium. The black beans and other peas supply a range of nutrients which include magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc; as well as B vitamins like niacin, thiamin and folate.
Some benefits of variety
Here are a few of the benefits obtained from a variety of various nutrients:
Your B vitamins are very important. A good source of B vitamins is leafy green vegetables; an alternative source is whole grains. In addition to vitamin B, whole grains also provide fiber, zinc, iron and calcium. When you add carrots or yellow peppers to your plate in keeping with the serving sizes of the food pyramid you get an adequate supply of beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes will also give you this nutrient, plus vitamin C, vitamin B6 and folate. Vitamin A could be found in liver as well as in skim milk. The skim milk would in turn also provide calcium, protein and vitamin D.
The benefits of fruit
Some more benefits
Apart from the leafy green vegetables and whole grains, you can get a great supply of iron in lean red meats, and spinach. Spinach will also supply vitamin C, folate and potassium .You need some plain yogurt, to get your magnesium, or you can get it from cooked black beans, which would also supply you with fiber, potassium and folate. Bananas will supply you with potassium, which you can also get from a baked potato. The baked potato will in turn supply you with vitamin, vitamin B6 and iron.
A bit of study will help
Take some time to study a vitamin and mineral chart and have fun experimenting with putting various colors and types of foods together; then sit back and enjoy the appealing appearance of your food; while at the same time, providing your body with an assortment of nutrients. Read more about the benefits of nutrients here.