Tips For a Healthy Diet

healthy diet

A healthy diet means eating a variety of foods in the right amounts. This helps prevent and treat diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. It also helps keep people feeling healthy and energetic. A healthy diet should include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and lean meats, with moderate amounts of fats from vegetable oils and spreads, fish, nuts and seeds. It should also contain minimal amounts of sugar, salt and saturated and trans-fats.

Vegetables are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially dark green, red and orange vegetables. Some examples are asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, eggplant, leeks, mushrooms, spinach and squash. Fruits are also a good source of vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes, for example, are a good source of potassium and vitamin C.

Try to get three or more servings of both vegetables and fruit per day. If possible, choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables rather than canned. Try to avoid sugary juices and soda, as these are high in calories and added sugar. When cooking, steam or microwave vegetables instead of boiling them. This reduces the amount of oil used, and can help maintain vitamins and nutrients.

Protein foods are important for muscle growth, repair and maintenance. Eat a variety of low-fat proteins, such as beans, eggs, poultry without skin, fish, shellfish and tofu. Avoid processed meats, as they are high in fat and sodium.

Replace some of the meat in your diet with beans or other vegetable sources of protein, such as soya, quinoa, kale and tofu. These can be grilled, stir-fried or made into burgers. Try to have a minimum of two serves of seafood a week. This is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce blood fats (triglycerides).

The recommended intake of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. It is best to achieve this by including a variety of protein sources in your diet, such as legumes (beans, peas and lentils), seeds and nuts, fortified soy beverages, egg whites, poultry, fish, low-fat milk and reduced-fat cheese.

Choose unsaturated fats over saturated and trans-fats. Unsaturated fats are healthier and can help lower cholesterol levels. Include a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced-fat spread instead of butter or margarine, and use olive or canola oils for cooking.

Consume less salt, as it can increase your risk of heart disease and some cancers. Add flavour to food by using herbs and spices, rather than salt, when cooking. When eating out, choose a starter instead of an entree, and split main dishes with friends to limit portion sizes. At home, serve meals on smaller plates or in bowls to trick your brain into feeling fuller.