Healthy eating habits

 
 
 

We must eat different foods in order to obtain the calories and nutrients we need. But how to choose the right foods to have a healthy diet? Here are some guidelines:

  • Eat mainly vegetables, legumes and fruit. A diet rich in vegetables (potatoes don’t count) and fruits can decrease the probability of having a cardiovascular disease, cataract and macular degeneration, and possibly protects against some types of cancers.
  • Eat whole grains instead of refined grains. Refined grains (like white bread and rice) act like sugar, so, eating too much of them can make it harder to control weight, and can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Whole grain products (such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice) have more fiber and help us feel full; besides, the body can’t digest them quickly and this keeps blood sugar and insulin levels from rising (then falling) too quickly.
  • Mix up the sources of proteins. It is recommended to replace red and processed meats (beef, pork, lamb, and bacon, hot dogs, etc.), poultry, and eggs with fish, nuts, black beans, lentils, and tofu.
  • Limit the intake of dairy products and choose low-fat or non-fat dairy.
  • Include “good” fat in the diet (to support heart health and brain function) and limit the amount of saturated “bad” fat. Healthy fats are in olive and rapeseed oils, avocados, nuts, seeds and fatty fish. Replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats decreases the risk of coronary heart disease; the healthy fats improve cholesterol levels and those from fish can also protect the heart from diseases. Depending international organizations (FAO), it is good to obtain between 6 and 11% of the total energy from polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 + omega-6); and total omega-3 fatty acids (EPA + DHA) intake should constitute, at least, the 2% of the energy. This can be translated into 2 g/day, being considered a safe amount 3 g/day by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

And, besides:

  • Control portion sizes.
  • Limit sweets and salt.
  • Drink water.
  • And maintain moderate physical activity.

To have healthy eating habits is not so difficult. Being creatives, we can make our meals appetizing and healthy.

 

Bibliography:

  1. ABC Health & Wellbeing. New food pyramid: what to eat ‘at a glance’.
  2. Harvard T.H.CHAN. Food Pyramids and Plates: What Should You Really Eat?
  3. Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Nutrition and healthy eating
  4. FAO. Fats and Fatty acids in Human Nutrition. Report of an expert consultation. 2010
 
 

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