A Healthy Diet Can Help to Prevent and Treat Noncommunicable Diseases

A healthy diet can help to prevent and treat many chronic noncommunicable diseases (diseases caused by poor lifestyle choices). It is a balanced diet that includes foods from all the main food groups: a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, starchy vegetables (such as potato, taro and cassava) and beans; lean proteins (from meat, fish or eggs); whole grains; and unsaturated fats. A healthy diet should be low in salt, sugars and saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats.A diet that is rich in fruit and veg is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, hypertension, certain cancers and diabetes. It is also high in fibre which helps to manage your weight. Fruit and veg are relatively low in kilojoules and are very filling.Including more fruits and vegetables in your diet is easy, they are available fresh, frozen or canned and can be added to most meals. When choosing canned and frozen options look for those that have no added salt or sugars.Try to eat at least 5 servings of fruit and veg a day. Choose a mix of dark green, orange and red vegetables; and all other non-starchy vegetables.Add more legumes and nuts to your meals. They are a good source of protein, iron and zinc. Nuts are also high in fibre.Swap fatty processed meats for lean cuts of beef, turkey and chicken. Try adding vegetables to meals, such as a handful of spinach added to a stir fry or a handful of frozen peas added to a casserole. Use sauces and dressings that are low in fat, such as tomato paste or salsa and add herbs to dishes to give them flavour.When it comes to fats, use unsaturated fats, such as those from olive, soy or sunflower oil, in place of animal fats (butter, ghee, lard and coconut) when cooking. Choose milk that is low in fat or skimmed.Limit sugary drinks, such as fruit juice and squash, to mealtimes and choose water and milk between meals. Limit salt intake to less than 6g a day.A good night’s sleep is vital for health. It gives your body a chance to repair and regenerate. Avoid caffeine and nicotine which act as stimulants and can lead to disturbed sleep.Include a range of healthy snacks between meals to help maintain your energy and balance your diet. Examples of smart snacks are a banana with peanut butter, cheese and crackers or yogurt with berries. Avoid sugary treats like cakes and biscuits.