A healthy, nourished population depends on strong research and education programs in human nutrition. NIFA partners with the Cooperative Extension System to deliver community-based nutrition education programs that help individuals, families, and communities make informed choices about food and lifestyles that support their physiological health, economic, and social well-being.
A balanced diet comprising of diverse and healthy foods is key to promoting good health. After all, we are what we eat - Research continues to prove that eating healthy food promotes good health and unhealthy food habits lead to a diseased body. Foods contain vital nutrients that aid our body’s metabolic function. However, a lack of consumption of these nutrients or feeding upon the wrong kinds of food leads to an accumulation of toxins within the body, resulting in chronic diseases in the long run.
A nutritious diet while ensuring overall well being, helps to maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), reduces the risk of several debilitating diseases like cancer, cardiovascular ailments, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke. Thus a nutritious & healthy diet is important in the prevention and cure of various diseases.

Healthy Food Groups
Since no single food group can nourish the body with all the vital ingredients it requires, it is important that we consume a variety of healthy foods to derive the nutrition our body needs. There are five main food groups, they are:

• Fruits
• Vegetables
• Cereals and Pulses
• Dairy
• Poultry, Fish and Meat products

A healthy balanced diet of these five food groups ensures essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. The food group serving size will depend upon various factors like age, activity level, body size and gender. It is also important that one eat a variety of healthy foods from within and across the food groups. As some foods from within a food group provide more nutrients than others. This will ensure that one gets the maximum recommended nutrition from the food group; besides the food variety will make for an interesting meal.

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