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basic food groups

Food Groups

Are you interested in healthy eating and having a balanced diet? If so, you'll want to learn more about food groups.

You may have grown up with the "Basic 4": dairy group, meat group, grain group, and the fruits and vegetables group. As nutrition science has changed, so have these food groups.

What are the basic food groups?

Foods are grouped together when they share similar nutritional properties. The groups below are based on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. Depending on the plan you choose, you might find the food groups arranged with some slight differences. For example, MyPyramid has a meat and beans group instead of a meat, poultry, and fish group.

Grains - Whole wheat bread and rolls, whole wheat pasta, English muffin, pita bread, bagel, cereals, grits, oatmeal, brown rice, unsalted pretzels and popcorn

Fruits - Apples, apricots, bananas, dates, grapes, oranges, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapples, raisins, strawberries, tangerines, and 100% fruit  juice

Vegetables - Broccoli, carrots, collards, green beans, green peas, kale, lima beans, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes

Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products - Fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk or buttermilk, fat-free, low-fat, or reduced-fat cheese, fat-free or low-fat regular or frozen yogurt

Lean meats, poultry, and fish - Beef, poultry, pork, game meats, fish, shellfish  Select only lean; trim away visible fats; broil, roast, or poach; remove skin from poultry

Nuts, seeds, and legumes - Almonds, hazelnuts, mixed nuts, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, kidney beans, lentils, split peas

Being a healthy eater requires you to become both educated and smart about what healthy eating actually is. Being food smart isn't about learning to calculate grams or fat, or is it about studying labels and counting calories.

Healthy eating is all about balanced and moderate eating, consisting of healthy meals at least three times per day. Healthy eaters eat many different types of foods, not limiting themselves to one specific food type or food group.

Eating healthy requires quite a bit of leeway. You might eat too much or not enough, consume foods that are sometimes more or less nutritious. However, you should always fuel your body and your brain regularly with enough food to keep both your mind and body strong and alert.

A healthy eater is a good problem solver. Healthy eaters have learned to take care of themselves and their eating with sound judgement and making wise decisions. Healthy eaters are always aware of what they eat, and know the effect that it will have on their bodies.

When someone is unable to take control of their eating, they are also likely to get out of control with other aspects of life as well. They could end up spending too much, talking too much, even going to bed later and later.

You should always remember that restricting food in any way is always a bad thing. Healthy eating is a way of life, something that you can do to enhance your body or your lifestyle. If you've thought about making your life better, healthy eating is just the place to start. You'll make life easier for yourself, those around you, and even your family.

The following is a list of the healthiest foods that you can get. This will help you get an idea as to what foods are the best for your body.


Fruits

Apricots contain Beta-carotene which helps to prevent radical damage and also helps to protect the eyes. A single apricot contains 17 calories, 0 fat, and one gram of fiber. You can eat them dried or soft.

Mango - A medium sized mango packs 57 MG of vitamin C, which is nearly your entire daily dose. This antioxidant will help prevent arthritis and also boost your immune system.

Cantaloupes contain 117 GG of vitamin C, which is almost twice the recommended dose. Half a melon contains 853 MG of potassium, which is nearly twice as much as a banana, which helps to lower blood pressure. Half a melon contains 97 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 2 grams of fiber.

A tomato can help cut the risk of bladder, stomach, and colon cancers in half if you eat one daily. A tomato contains 26 calories, 0 fat, and only 1 gram of fiber.

Vegetables

An onion can help to protect against cancer. A cup of onions offers 61 calories, 0 fat, and 3 grams of fiber.

Broccoli can help protect against breast cancer, and it also contains a lot of vitamin C and Beta-carotene. One cup of chopped broccoli contains 25 calories, 0 fat, and 3 grams of fiber.

Spinach contains carotenoids that can help fend off macular degeneration, which is a major cause of blindness in older people. One cup contains 7 calories, 0 fat, and 1 gram of fiber.

Grains, Beans and Buts

Peanuts and other nuts can lower your risk of heart disease by 20 percent. One ounce contains 166 calories, 14 grams of fat, and over 2 grams of fiber.

Pinto beans - A half cut of pinto beans offers more than 25 percent of your daily folate requirement, which protects you against heart disease. Half a cup contains 103 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 6 grams of fiber.

Skim milk offers vitamin B2, which is important for good vision and along with Vitamin A could improve allergies. You also get calcium and vitamin D as well. One cup contains 86 calories, o fat, and 0 fiber.

Seafood

Salmon - All cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which help to reduce the risk of cardiac disease. A 3 ounce portion of salmon contains 127 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 0 fiber.

Crab is a great source of vitamin B12 and immunity boosting zinc. A 3 ounce serving of crab offers 84 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 0 fiber.