People generally ask what is a healthy diet? What are some of the healthy eating habits?
A healthy diet is one that helps to maintain or improve the overall health of an individual. Developing a healthy diet isn’t that difficult as many people imagine. The most essential and basic step is to consume more foods derived from plants (vegetables, fruits and whole grains) rather than highly processed food.
Some Guidelines for Building a Healthy Diet:
1. Consume a Variety of Foods
A particular food item doesn’t contain all the nutrients and vitamins needed for a healthy diet. Hence, consuming a variety of foods helps us to gain a variety of nutrients and with the addition to it limits our exposure to any toxic substance or pesticide present in a particular food item.
2. Keep a lookout on the portion size
Portion control is the key to a healthy Diet. In recent times, serving sizes have grown a lot. In restaurants, try choosing an appetiser instead of an entree or split a dish with a friend. Whenever you go for eating something try to know how many calories you are taking in and how much you should eat.
3. Eat plenty of produce
The nutrients, fibre and other compounds in different produce may help protect your body against certain types of cancer and other diseases. Legumes (beans, peas, lentils) are rich in fibre and count as vegetables but are moderately high in calories. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are a good option for fibre.
4. Keep a tab on refined Grains and added sugar
The refined carbohydrates in white bread, pasta or any other snack are stripped of many nutrients. Limit foods with added sugar, such as soda and candy and cold drinks. These are sources of empty calories that contribute to weight gain.
5. Reduce the consumption of animal fat
Saturated fats, especially in red meat and processed meat, boosts bad cholesterol. To limit the intake, choose lean meats, skinless poultry and low-fat dairy products. Replace saturated fats with fats found in nuts, fish and vegetable oils, not with refined carbohydrates such as white bread.
6. Eat more fish and nuts
Nuts, fatty fish, avocados and vegetable oils supply healthy unsaturated fats. It’s best to eat them in place of other high-calorie foods, i.e., substituting olive or canola oil for butter. Fatty fish helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and has other benefits.
7. Consume less sodium and more potassium
Excess of sodium may lead to blood pressure in many people and also has other harmful effects. At the same time, consuming more potassium lowers blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods include citrus fruits, bananas, potatoes, beans and yoghurt. Salt has a lot of sodium, hence we should limit consumption of salt.
8. Look into your consumption of calcium and vitamin D
These nutrients are vital for your bones. You can easily get calcium from low-fat dairy products and foods such as some orange juices and soy drinks. It’s hard to consume enough vitamin D from foods, hence the best way of getting it is to go out in the sun, when before 9 am and after 5 pm when the sun rays are safest.
9. Stay away from liquid calories
Cold beverages supply more than 20 percent of the calories in the average American’s diet. Most of the liquid calories come from soda and other sweetened beverages and alcoholic drinks, which have lots of calories. Soft drinks are a major source of sugar and calories for children. We should try and consume more of whole foods than liquids, and especially stay away from carbonated drinks.
10. Limit consumption of alcohol
Alcohol in moderation has heart benefits, however, higher intakes can lead to a wide range of health problems. Even moderate drinking impairs your ability to drive and may increase the risk of certain cancers. Some people, including pregnant women and those who have certain medical conditions, should avoid alcohol.
Now that you are armed with so much information on what a healthy diet is, go on, and start eating healthy!
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