What do humans need to stay healthy?

What we eat and how we live can improve how we feel and stop us getting sick

What do humans need to stay healthyBeing healthy helps you feel good and means you’re less likely to get sick. It can also help you not get sick when you’re older.

Guess what? If you make sure you exercise, eat well, and wear sunscreen and a hat in the sun, you can also help make sure you are a healthier adult when you grow up. That includes protecting you against cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

To stay healthy it's important that you eat a balanced diet, which means eating food from different food groups in the right amounts.

Balanced diet

All the food we eat can be divided into five groups.

A balanced diet includes all the food groups. Different foods give your body different nutrients, which are things your body needs to function.

It’s important to eat lots of different fruit and vegetables. Different coloured fruit and vegetables also have different vitamins and minerals. 

Foods high in fat, salt and sugar (like chocolate, sweets and cakes) don’t give us many nutrients so it’s best not to eat these too often.

Let’s take a look at some of the nutrients we need.

Vitamins

We need different vitamins to keep healthy. Vitamin C is good for our skin and vitamin A is good for our eyesight.

You find vitamins in fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy food and wholegrains.

Minerals

We also need different minerals. Calcium helps to keep our bones strong and iron keeps our blood healthy.

You find minerals in meat, milk, green vegetables and fish.

Carbohydrates

Starchy foods are foods such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, cassava or yams. These all contain carbohydrates and fibre. Carbohydrates give us energy.

Protein

Protein is needed to grow and repair. You find protein in meat, fish, eggs, nuts and pulses (such as beans and lentils).

Water

Did you know that over three-quarters of your body is water? Your body uses water all the time: when you sweat, go to the toilet and even when you breathe. That’s why it’s important to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. This is especially important before, during and after you exercise. The healthiest drink you can have is water. Sports drinks and fizzy drinks contain a lot of sugar so you should try to avoid them.

Exercise

We need to do lots of exercise to help keep our bodies strong and fit.

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