A Healthy Diet Promotes Good Health

A healthy diet is one that includes a variety of foods and drinks to provide the energy you need to get through your day. It also contains a range of nutrients that help protect you against disease and promotes good health.A diet low in added sugars, salt and saturated fat, and rich in fibre is ideal for your health. The best way to achieve a balanced diet is to cook from scratch and limit eating out or taking takeaway meals. Restaurant and takeaway foods are often high in saturated fat, added salt and sugars as well as kilojoules. If you do eat them, limit the portions, choose salads and limit high-fat sauces and toppings.Ideally, you should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. These can be in the form of fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced. Eating fruit and vegetables helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.The food groups in a healthy diet include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and protein foods (from lean meats or fish, nuts and legumes). You can find an eating plan that suits you by using the My Plate tool at www.gov.uk/government/publications/myplate-planning-for-us.Aim to eat a wide range of foods from each group, as this is important for getting the different nutrients your body needs. Aim for foods that are a good source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium, as these can help prevent osteoporosis.Try to avoid processed meats, which may increase your risk of cancer or other diseases. Choose unprocessed meats, poultry or fish. If you need to eat processed meats, opt for ones that are lower in fat and have less added salt.Opt for unsaturated vegetable oils, rather than animal fats, when cooking. These can help to protect against heart disease, and are healthier than the saturated fats found in butter, ghee or lard.Eating too much sugar, either from foods or beverages, can lead to obesity and tooth decay. Try to reduce your intake of sugar and make sure that no more than 10% of your total energy is from sugars.The main causes of ill-health in the UK are obesity, alcohol and lack of physical activity. The good news is that a healthy diet can help you tackle all of these problems.Try to make half your plate vegetables and add at least one serving of fruit at each mealtime. Cook your meals at home as this can be easier on the budget and allows you to control what is in your food. Cooking large servings so that you have leftovers for the next day can also be a helpful strategy. Adding herbs and spices to dishes can give them extra flavour and make you feel satisfied with smaller portions. Also, try to remove salt and salty condiments from your table; our taste buds can adapt over time to enjoy the food without the added salt.