A balanced diet is the key to maintaining optimal health, for this the regulated consumption of the different food groups is necessary since these provide unique benefits to the body , in addition to providing well-being on an emotional level. 

For these reasons, in the following article we review the 7 main food groups , their functions, importance within the diet and the recommended portions of their consumption to have a balanced diet.

What are the food groups?

The food groups are the classification that is given to each type of food according to its nutritional value , composition and the benefits that it may have for the health of the human being thanks to it. 

It is important to bear in mind that these food groups are in turn divided by the function they play when consumed regularly, that is, they can be building, training, energy, protective and regulatory foods. 

Note: The food groups can also be ordered by the nutrients that stand out within their composition , such as: carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, proteins, fatty acids, energy, fats, among other compounds.

What are the main food groups?

Below we will present each food group, according to the information reviewed in the food wheel of the Spanish Society of Dietetics and Food Sciences (1) , where we will highlight the function of each group and its nutrients:

1. Milk and derived products

This group is made up of regulatory foods , trainers and builders. The main function in the body is to provide proteins, healthy fats, minerals such as calcium and potassium , which directly favors the bone system , especially in children during the growth period. Among the dairy group are: 

  • yogurt .
  • Butter.
  • Mozzarella cheese

You should know: The recommended daily amount of dairy consumption is 2 to 3 servings , taking into account that these can be divided into the different foods that make up this group.

2. Eggs, meat and fish

Meat, fish and eggs are part of the forming foods due to their large amounts of protein and omega 3, in addition to the high content of group B vitamins that favor the formation of new cells and tissues , added to the increase and strengthening of the mass. muscular. This food group is made up of: 

  • Beef.
  • Pork Meat.
  • Chicken.
  • Blue fish: salmon , tuna and sardines.

To highlight: The daily intake of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of weight in adults is recommended, to supply the body’s nutritional needs.

3. Vegetables

Vegetables are considered protective foods due to their high content of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, where group B vitamins, vitamin C, E, iron , folic acid , potassium, fiber stand out, among other compounds that favor the immune system . in addition to keeping the different systems that make up the body healthy. The most nutritious vegetables and vegetables are:  

  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • broccoli . 

Note: The recommended amount of consumption of vegetables is 400 g per day as a minimum amount , since vegetables are an important source of compounds that promote nutrition at different stages of life.

4. Fruits

The high contents of vitamins, minerals, soluble fiber and water make fruits considered regulatory foods, this is because their main function is to favor the metabolization of other foods and provide the body with the essential nutrients for its proper functioning ( 2) . The healthiest and most nutritious fruits are: 

You should know: The recommended minimum amount of fruit consumption in adults is 400 g per day , which can be distributed in 80 g portions in the different meals that are eaten during the day.

5. Legumes, tubers and nuts

Tubers, legumes and nuts are building , regulating and energetic foods . This group of foods provide proteins of plant origin, carbohydrates and few calories, thus providing a satiating effect that favors weight loss and helps control certain heart diseases . Among this group of foods are: 

To highlight: It is recommended the intake of between 3 to 4 servings of legumes per week, 6 to 8 servings of tubers daily and 20 to 30 grams of nuts during the day. 

6. Cereals and sugars

Cereals and sugars are essentially energy foods , this is because they are made up mainly of carbohydrates, which provide energy to the body for a long time . 

Likewise, the large amount of fiber present in cereals favors the gastrointestinal system . Some of these foods are:  

You should know: The recommended consumption of sugars is 25 grams per day , while that of cereals varies between 7 to 12 daily servings.

7. Oils and fats

This group is made up of energy foods. Fats and oils have the function of helping the body with the absorption of liposoluble vitamins , in addition to providing the necessary energy to carry out the different metabolic processes that each system fulfills (3) . Among the healthiest oils to consume are: 

  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Avocado oil . 
  • Sunflower seed oil. 

Note: The recommended daily intake of oils and fats is between 44 and 76 grams per day .

Key Findings

  • Food groups are classified according to the nutritional value they provide to the human body. 
  • Each group is made up of: dairy products, proteins, vegetables, fruits , legumes, nuts, cereals, sugars, oils and fats. 
  • The healthiest foods according to the food wheel or pyramid are highlighted . 
  • Water intake along with a balanced diet is essential for the proper functioning of the body .

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