Healthy Eating is essential for good health and nutrition – it protects you against many chronic non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
A healthy diet includes a variety of foods, which are high in nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. It also limits salt, sugars and saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are low-calorie and high-nutrient foods that can provide a wide range of health benefits. Eating them regularly can help lower your risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
A variety of fruits and vegetables is recommended by many countries for a healthy diet. They contain vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (plant chemicals), as well as dietary fiber.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer and hypertension. Research shows that a diet that includes at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day is associated with a reduced risk of these diseases.
Meat and Poultry
Healthy eating is all about choosing foods that provide you with the nutrients your body needs. This means eating a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
It also means avoiding processed or junk foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar. Meat and poultry are an important part of a healthy diet, but you should limit how much red meat you eat and swap to lean meat options like beef that is at least 90% lean or skinless chicken.
Poultry is a rich source of protein and contains essential vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, selenium, niacin, and phosphorus. It is low in cholesterol and high in choline, an essential nutrient that can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Meat and poultry production uses a lot of energy, water and chemicals (especially compared with fruit, vegetables and grains) so it is important to shop for sustainable, ethically produced meat and poultry. Buying organic meat and poultry can help to reduce the amount of environmental damage done by synthetic chemicals (like petro-chemical based fertilisers and pesticides).
Dairy products contain nutrients your body needs, including protein, calcium and vitamin D. They can help you gain and maintain bone strength, reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and improve your body composition.
The nutrient content of dairy depends on the type of milk, its origin and how it’s processed, as well as what additives are added. Some dairy products can be high in salt (more than 1.5g salt per 100g of milk) or saturated fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease.
If you’re lactose intolerant, choose dairy products that don’t contain milk sugar, such as a2 Milk and Fairlife or Green Valley Creamery products. These products contain the digestive enzyme lactase to break down lactose for you.
A healthy eating plan is not only about eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains but also including a variety of foods that are rich in nutrients, fibre and other micronutrients.
Eating well also means paying attention to your beverage choices. Drinking more water is always a good idea as it can help you feel fuller for longer and improve your health by boosting your immune system and reducing your risk of disease.
For the most part, it’s all about choosing the right foods at the right time to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risks of heart disease and cancer. Fortunately, most of us are blessed with an abundance of nutritious food options to choose from. With a little planning and some creative thinking, you can eat your way to improved health and a better looking you! You can even have fun doing it – there are plenty of apps and websites to help you out.