Eating a variety of foods from the six major food groups provides a range of different nutrients to the body, promotes good health and can help reduce the risk of disease – as well as keeping your meals interesting with different flavors and textures!
6 Major Food Groups
- Fruits and fruit juices
- Vegetables, including red, green, orange and yellow veggies, as well as beans, legumes and starchy vegetables like potatoes
- Dairy products, like milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Protein foods including animal proteins like chicken, beef and fish AND vegetable proteins like tofu, nuts and seeds.
- Starches including bread, pasta, grains
- Fats, including oil and butter
Build Your Gut Microbiome
Another reason for food group variety…Did you know that when you eat foods from different food groups, you’re more likely to develop greater diversity of healthy bacteria in your gut?
Healthy bacteria in your gut provide all sorts of benefits including, improved digestion and regularity, reduced allergies and enhanced immunity. In fact, some anthropologists believe that our ancestors ate a much greater diversity of foods available in their environments throughout the year than we do today and that they benefited as a result.
All Fats Are Not Equal
Eating a variety of healthy fats and proteins is also important for functions like cholesterol balance, cognitive health, mood stabilization, and connective tissue healing. For example, if you regularly eat healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, avocado, fatty fish (like salmon) and full-fat yogurt, you’re getting a mix of omega-3s fats, saturated fat and monounsaturated fat, all of which have unique roles in our overall health. Better yet, if you’re trying to gain weight, these healthy fats provide the calories you need while supporting your heart and digestive health.