We've heard it before—make sure to eat a balanced diet to stay healthy. Don't overdo it on carbs and fats, and make sure to be eating your fruits and vegetables. There're so many different sources out there that say carbs and fats are bad for you and should be avoided at all costs. But there are actually good carbs and fats that are essential to your health. 

This is the same for every nutrient. You need to have a good combination to ensure your health. If you have too much or too little of anything—healthy foods included—you could be in trouble. But what exactly does each nutrient do for your health and why are they important? Eat Balanced gives reasons for each nutrient's importance. 


corn, wheat bread, crust, flour, cereal, rye, bread, wheat
Hannah Linn

So many people want to have a "no carb diet," but that's actually the opposite of what you should do. Since they are the body's energy source, carbohydrates are essential. In fact, 45-60% of our daily intake should be from carbohydrates. 

Not just any carbs though. It's best to get this amount from complex carbs. Complex carbs take longer to digest and they play a vital role in slow energy release. Good, complex carbs to incorporate in a diet are whole grains. This can be done by switching from refined grain products to the whole grain version. 


pork, turkey breast, barbecue, pepper, chicken breast, meat, chicken
Hayden Carder

Proteins play a part in so many different parts of our body. They're important for our bones, nails and hair, hormones, enzymes and pretty much every other part of our body. Proteins are made up of tiny strands of amino acids that are not easily digested in the body. Some of these amino acids cannot be synthesized in the body, so they must be obtained through our diet. 

There are 9 essential amino acids that can only enter our body through the food we consume - more specifically, protein. Animal products, such as meat, poultry and dairy, are classified as the "highest quality protein", but vegetables, legumes and some cereals also provide a good source of protein. 


hazelnut, meat, cashew, nut
Kirby Barth

People usually only think of fat as a bad thing. Fats are super important to our body's energy storage. Any extra calories that are consumed are stored in fat cells and saved for when energy is need quickly. It's hard to avoid fats all together because most foods contain them in one form or another. 

There are two different types of fat: polyunsaturated fat and trans fat. You want to avoid trans fats whenever you can and pick foods that contain polyunsaturated fats, which are found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. Trans fats are found in cookies and sweet treats, which are the most unhealthy, so do your best to avoid them. 


sweet corn, meat, hazelnut, cereal, pasture, vegetable, corn
Wallis Linker

Dietary fiber is important in the removal of waste and toxins in our body. It actually helps speed up the process. Make sure you're not going too crazy with fiber consumptions because it can actually interfere with the absorption of some vitamins and minerals. So basically, eat enough but don't eat too much. 

There's two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber. Legumes, oats, vegetables, fruits and potatoes are rich in soluble fiber. Corn, whole grains, bran, nuts and seeds are rich sources of insoluble fiber. Basically, no matter what kind of plant-based food you consume, you'll be getting some fiber. 


pasture, mandarin orange, satsuma, tangerine, citrus, juice
Madison Mounty

We need to eat vitamins for pretty much the same reason we need to eat some proteins - our bodies can't produce all the vitamins that it needs to live. So the ones our bodies can't produce itself need to be taken in through our diet. We need these vitamins for our body cells to function properly. There are two main types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. 

Water-soluble vitamins need to be eaten every day because they can't be stored in the body for too long. These vitamins are rich in citrus fruits and vegetables. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body so they don't have to be eaten every day. Green, orange, yellow and red fruits and vegetables are rich in fat-soluble vitamins. 


sweet potato, sweet
Katherine Baker

Minerals are important for the body to function properly. They work to build strong teeth, bones, muscles, skin and even nerve function. Minerals have to be obtained through the diet, but each one is needed in different amounts. 

There's macro-minerals and micro-minerals. Macro-minerals are needed every day in the diet and in bigger amounts. Micro-nutrients, also called trace elements, are needed in smaller amounts and can be found in natural foods

A balanced diet is essential to living a healthy life. Every nutrient plays an important role in the body and lacking in just one nutrient could cause major problems. Make your meals include a mix of each group, so you can benefit from what each nutrient has to offer.