A diet that helps to maintain or improve the overall health of a person is called a healthy diet. A healthy diet contains nutrition such as fluid, macronutrients, micronutrients, and adequate calories which is essential to the human body. A healthy diet can be acquired from a variety of plant-based foods, and animal-based foods, etc. But it is necessary to bear in mind that highly processed foods, and sweetened beverages, etc. are not a healthy diet because these types of food raise the risk of heart diseases, obesity, and several other diseases.
HOW CAN WE MANAGE A HEALTHY DIET?
- Intake of a variety of healthy food – Having a variety of healthy food means eating a wide variety of different foods from the different food groups, which provide essential nutrients to the human body. Healthy foods promote good health and it helps to fight against several chronic diseases. There are five different food groups which help to meet the criteria of a healthy diet:
- Vegetable and legumes – No matter raw or cooked vegetables can be used as snacks or as a part of the meal. You can use vegetable soup during lunch, stir-fries, vegetable patties and vegetable curries during dinner as well as you can use carrot and celery sticks as a snack.
- Fruits – You can use fruits as a snack and can be included in the meals too. Fresh fruits are highly recommended here because fresh fruits contain more fiber than dried fruits.
- Meat/fish/eggs/nut – These foods provide protein. They can be used as snacks and both times meals like lunch and dinner.
- Grain/wholegrain/cereal etc. – Grains of cereal include wheat, oat, rye, barley, corn, millet, triticale, and rice, etc. Wholegrains include wholemeal, or whole grain bread, or crispbreads. These foods provide fiber, minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, protein, plant compounds, carbohydrates. They can be used as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Theses kind of foods can reduce the risk of developing diseases such as coronary heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and diverticular diseases.
- Milk/Yoghurt/cheese etc. – Firstly, it is advised to use reduced fat products. These foods can be used in breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yogurt provides calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin D, minerals, and protein. Milk provides Calcium, protein, iodine, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B2 and vitamin B12. Cheese provide Vitamin A, D and Vitamin B6, calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Cobalamin.
- Focus on high-fiber food – Fiber slows the absorption of carbohydrates, so they have less effect on insulin and blood sugar. Therefore, it is wise to have more fiber than other substances. Fiber can be found in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
- Eat lots of produce (food) – Plan your diet according to consumption of calories. If you consume more calories or if you work hard, eat more produce such as green, yellow, red, orange, blue, and purple vegetables and fruits. If you consume less calories or if you work less, eat less produce.
- Limit sugary foods, beverages and refined grains – A high consumption of added sugar increases inflammation and insulin resistance, it causes risk of diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain. Refined grains have little dietary fiber, and have been removed many nutrients from it, causes same health problem as added sugar. Sugary foods, beverages and refined grains include soda, candy, white bread, pasta, snacks and bakery foods.
- Have wholegrains – At least half your grains should be wholegrains, such as whole wheat, oats, barley, or brown rice. Whole grains are the entire seed of a plant. This seed made up of three edible parts:
- Bran – It is a multilayered outer skin. It contains important antioxidants, vitamins and fiber.
- Endosperm – It is the middle part of the seed. It is the largest portion of the seed. It contains carbohydrates, proteins, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
- Germ – It is the inner part of the seed. It contains vitamins, protein, minerals, and fats.
- Limit highly processed food – The conversion of agricultural products, or raw ingredients into food, or to change from one form of food into other forms, so that they can be eaten by humans and animals is called food processing. Food processing include:
- Primary food processing – It is the transformation of raw ingredients into food. Grinding or milling is an example of primary processing.
- Secondary food processing – It is the transformation of ingredients into edible products. Baking cakes is an example of secondary processing.
- Tertiary food processing – It is the commercially prepared food through processing so that it can be easy to eat. Such kinds of food are typically ready to eat without further preparation. It is easy to carry and ready to eat maybe therefore, it is also called convenience food. Cakes, biscuits, soft drinks, tinned vegetables, etc. are examples of convenience food. These kinds of foods are considered unhealthier. Because salt, sugar, and fat are added to processed foods to make their flavor tastier and to enhance their shelf life. If a person eats such kind of food which has more than the recommended amount of sugar, salt, and fat as they may not be aware of how much has been added to the food he or she is eating. It causes health problems.
- Limit saturated fats – It is an unhealthy fat. Saturated fat is the most often solid state at room temperature. The saturated fats in animal foods generally boost levels of bad cholesterol and have other adverse effects. Butter, palm, coconut oil, cheese, and red meat are the sources of high amounts of saturated fat. To limit your intake of saturated fats, choose lean meat, skinless poultry, low-fat dairy products, etc.
- Emphasize unsaturated fats – It is considered a healthy fat. It helps to reduce the risk of high blood bad cholesterol levels and increase the good cholesterol level, it lowers the risk of vascular disease, heart disease, and stroke. Walnuts, Sunflower, corn, soybean, flax seeds, fish, canola oil are good sources of unsaturated fats.
- Reduce intake of sodium – Intake of excess sodium raises blood pressure in some people and can have other adverse effects. Eat more potassium-rich foods instead of sodium. Because potassium-rich foods help lower blood pressure. These include bananas, some fish, avocados, beans, dairy products, and citrus fruits, etc. Excess sodium found in many processed foods and restaurant meals.
- Get vitamins and minerals from food not supplement pills – Foods provide many nutrients require to be efficiently used in the body. The supplement cannot substitute for a healthy diet.
- Get enough calcium and vitamin D – Calcium and vitamin D are more beneficial for bone health. Therefore, it is mandatory to have calcium and vitamin D rich foods. The best sources of calcium are fortified foods, canned salmon, sardines, dark leafy greens, etc.
Cut down your scale of alcohol – Pregnant women, and those taking medications should not drink alcohol. People with liver disease, high triglycerides (a kind of fat found in blood, if it is high in the blood, causes heart diseases), sleep apnoea (temporary cessation of breathing especially during sleep), and certain other conditions should ask their doctors about the advisability of drinking.