A healthy diet consists of food which is nutritious and contains no fat, sugar, salt, or cholesterol. It is usually high in complex carbohydrates such as breads and cereals, whole grain foods like rice, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, and includes fruits and vegetables in the daily diet. Generally, a healthy diet is an eat-in diet which helps maintain or enhance general health. A healthy diet gives the body necessary nutrients: fiber, minerals, vitamins, and enough food energy. A healthy diet prevents chronic diseases and maintains or improves the health of the organ systems of the body: cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems, immune system, and the skin.
Foods that are recommended for a healthy diet are usually rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and food energy, which are all needed by the body to function well. In addition, foods that are rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, flavonoids, polyphenols, fiber, and other bioactive foods, such as olive oil, are considered important components of a healthy diet. The recommended diet is one with a balance of animal proteins, plant foods, and fruits and vegetables. Vegetables, green leafy vegetables, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), and nonfat dairy products provide a variety of essential nutrients.
An unhealthy and unbalanced diet contributes to the development of many chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. A healthy diet prevents chronic diseases and improves the health of the organ systems of the body, including the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory, nervous system, and the skin. A healthy diet also helps prevent obesity, a condition that is the precursor of many serious diseases.