A healthy diet can be described as eating balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, milk free from fat, sea food, high fiber starchy carbohydrate, drinking water, low salt or sugar consumption, unsaturated fats and so on.
Important Facts On Healthy Diets
- Eating a healthy diet steady helps the body to fight infectious disease, it helps to protect against malnutrition of all forms and also non communicable diseases like cancer, stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
- Eating low quality diet and lack of daily exercise are leading global risks to health.
- Some healthy dietary practices like breast feeding starts early in life, this helps with a child’s healthy growth and improves the brain development, and have long term health benefits such as decreasing the chances of being overweight or obese later in life.
- Consumed calories (energy) need to be matched with calories expenditure. To avoid increase in weight, fat should be 30% or less in our diet, saturated fat should be less than 10%, trans-fat need to be avoided. Saturated fat, and trans-fat consumption are replaced with unsaturated fat.
- Sugar consumption should be less than 10% of the total calorie consumption for a healthy diet and a mere reduction of this to 5% is great for more health advantage.
- Salt consumption need to be less than 5g or less daily (≤2g sodium daily) will help in decreasing chances of stroke, heart problems and hypertension in adults.
Taking A General Review
Steadily eating of healthy diet helps to stop problems of malnutrition in all dimension and also some non communicable disease and some other problems. But, this days, urbanization, changes in lifestyle and raise in the production of processed foods had led to changes in dietary patterns. Lots of individuals now eat food with increased energy, fats, free sugars, salt and most people now do not eat enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains as dietary fibers, forms of healthy and balanced diet variety will differ from one person to another depending on personal behavior (gender, age, lifestyle and also kind of work or exercise), cultural background, locally available food and dietary customs. But, the main rule of what make a healthy diet is the same.
Healthy Diet For Adults
Adults should consume the following dietary sustenance:
- Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grain (unprocessed)
- Minimum of 480g of fruits and vegetables daily.
- Sugar consumption s of less than 10%, that is 50g of sugar consumption from drinks and sustenance’s, this is free sugars in canned goods or sustenance’s.
- Iodized salt consumption of not up to 5g (one teaspoon) daily.
- Energy consumption from fat should be less than 30% from unsaturated fat from fish, avocado, nuts, in sun flower, soy bean, canola and olive oils, saturated and trans-fat should be avoided or reduced to ≤1% respectively.
Healthy Diets For Children And Infants
Within the first two years of a child development, maximum nutrition helps in healthy growth and improves cognitive development. It also helps the child to decrease the chances of being overweight or obese and developing non communicable disease later in life.
Healthy diet advice is for infants and children are the same to that of adults, but the following elements are also important.
- Exclusive breast feeding is essential for infants for the first 6 months.
- Breast feeding for infants should continue until the age of 2 years and above.
- Breast feeding should be complemented with variety of adequate, safe and nutrient dense foods. Salt and sugar need to be avoided.
Advises On Maintaining A Healthy Diets
- Fruits and vegetables should be consumed to at least 400g, or five portions daily, this declares the chances of non communicable diseases and helps to ensure an adequate consumption of dietary fiber.
- Adding vegetables in our meals.
- Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables as snack.
- Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables.
- Eating fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season.
- Fat consumption should be reduced to less than 30%, this reduction helps to prevent unhealthy weight gain in the populace.
Also, the risk of some disease is covered by the following:
- Decreased consumption of saturated fat to less 10%.
- Decreasing the consumption of trans-fat to less than 1%.
- Changing the consumption of both saturated and trans-fat with unsaturated fat (polyunsaturated fat).
Fat consumption s like factory processed trans-fat and saturated fat can be decreased by:
- Replacing frying with steaming or boiling.
- Using oil rich in polyunsaturated fats like sun flower and safflower oils, corn, canola, soy beans oils and avoiding butter, ghee or lard.
- Consuming dairy products free from fat.
- Decreasing the rate of consumption of baked and fried foods and prepackaged snacks and food (e.g. cakes, cookies, doughnuts, pies, biscuits and waters) that contain factory processed trans-fat in it.
- Consumption of salt (sodium & potassium) should be decreased to less than 5g per day, this helps in the prevention of more than a million death yearly. Too much consumption of salt (about 9-12g) and not enough potassium. Excess consumption of sodium without balancing it with enough potassium leads to increased high blood pressure which also might lead to heart disease or stroke.
Sources of these salt may include industrially packaged foods (e.g. processed meats and bacon, ready meals, cheese and salty snacks, hams and salami) or from foods frequently consumed like breed. Salt added directly during cooking (e.g. fish and soy sauce, stock cubes, bouillon) or direct consumption (table salt).
Excess salt consumption can be reduced by:
- Going for packages will reduce sodium content.
- Decreasing your daily salty snack consumption.
- Avoiding sauces made up of salt or increased sodium when eating.
- Decreasing the amount of salt and sodium condiments (sauces & bouillon) when cooking.
You need to check some manufacturers who are busy reformulating their products to reduce sodium contents and go for such products, you are encouraged to check nutritional labels to see the sodium percentage before buying or using it.
Potassium can likewise reduce or balance the negative effect of high amount of sodium in the body, this causes high blood pressure. Potassium can be induced into the body by fresh fruits and vegetables consumption.
- Consumption of sugars
Generally, the consumption of sugar in both adult and children should be reduced to <10% of the total calories consumption. And a further reduction problems associated with free sugar consumption s are;
- Tooth Decay,
- Overweight and Obesity,
- Recent studies shows that excess free sugar consumption leads to increased blood pressure and increased serum lipids,
- Reduced free sugar consumption can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Consumption of Sugars can be decreased by the following:
- Decreasing the rate of food and drinks contents with excess amount of sugars, like candies, sugary snacks and sugar sweetened beverages (carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, fruit and vegetable juices and drinks, liquid and powdered concentrates, flavored water, energy and sports drinks, ready to drink teas, coffees and so on).
- Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables raw.