As the year 2018 comes to a close you will have followed several tips for a healthy diet for the oncoming year; however, make sure that you include the resolution of eating healthy the next year, in your list. This is because it is your food habits that determine how strong your body is in warding off infections and keeping several health issues at bay. You should have an immune system that will not succumb to diabetes, obesity, heart disease or any form of cancer.
However, the answer to the question of what constitutes a healthy diet does not lie in a constricted answer. It is dependent on several aspects like our age and our energy levels alongside the availability of foods in the localities we live in. Nevertheless, the following are some broad tips for a healthy diet that will help you to decide the composition of your diet to ensure a healthy and longer life.
Related: Tips for Living a Disease free life.
The inclusion of Varied Food Items
Your body is an awesome machine that requires the right type of fuels to keep it going for long. It is impossible to obtain all nutrients from a single food source and therefore, it is essential to incorporate a balanced diet in your daily life for the efficient functioning of your body.
Essential food tips for a healthy diet you can do so if you:
- Ensure that your daily diet is a combination of staples like maize, wheat, rice alongside potatoes, beans, lentils and other pulses, lots of fresh veggies and fruits, animal-sourced products like milk, fish, meat, and eggs.
- Prefer eating more of fiber-enriched whole-grains like unprocessed oats, wheat, maize, millet, and brown rice. They are more nutritious too and keep you satiated for long.
- Avoid processed foods for snacks and instead include unsalted nuts, salads minus the dressings and fresh fruits as your snacking items.
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Beware of Salt: The Silent Killer
As per recommendations from WHO, your daily diet should include not more than 5 grams of salt per day. This equals about one teaspoon, however, most of us cross this limit by huge quantities. Excess salt is harmful to the body as it leads to hypertension which becomes a major factor for increased risk of stroke or heart disease.
A point worth remembering in this context is the high amounts of salt contained in processed foods and beverages which need to be avoided as far as possible.
Follow the below-listed tips to reduce your salt intake:
- Reduce usage of condiments and salty sauces, for example, fish sauce, soy sauce and others in your food preparations. Be frugal in using salt while cooking your food items.
- Eliminate processed foods with high salt content from your snack list and instead substitute it with fresh and nutritious snacks.
- If you need to use dried vegetables or canned food items go for those which do not contain extra sugars and salts.
- Make your table free of pickled or preserved foods and let your taste buds get used to doing without them. They will soon like food which is more flavorsome.
- Ensure that your shopping cart includes food items with lesser sodium content.
Limit Consumption of Hidden Trans-Fats
Your body’s machinery has to be oiled well to ensure its smooth functioning. However, it is very important that you use the right type of oils and in right amounts. Trans-fats that are manufactured industrially causes harm to the body making it more susceptible to strokes, obesity and heart disease.
Tips to ensure the inclusion of good fats in your diet:
- Make greater use of healthy oils like canola, soybean, sunflower, corn, safflower instead of ghee, butter and lard in your food preparations.
- Restrict intakes of processed meats and instead go for lean meats or white meat like fish and poultry which have lower fat content.
- Use boiling or steaming methods of cooking foods wherever possible and reduce fried food intake.
- Eliminate processed foods in all forms and foods containing industrially manufactured trans-fat like fried and fast foods. Trans-fat is present in ghee and margarine and fried, fast, baked foods as well as foods available in pre-packaged form.
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Watch Out for Sugar Traps
Excess sugar in our diet causes dental problems and is also a major risk factor for obesity. This, in turn, can cause severe chronic health issues. Just like in salt, it is essential to remember that processed foods and beverages contain huge amounts of ‘hidden sugars’. For example, you can be ingesting about 10 teaspoons of sugar as you consume a single can of soda.
Tips to restrict your sugar intake:
- Almost all beverages contain sugar doses in high amounts and restricting their consumption will help towards lowering your sugar intake. Drinks in this category include fruit juices, flavored water, sports and energy drinks, coffee, powder and liquid concentrates, flavored milk and so on.
- Nutritious fresh snacks should be preferred over processed foods.
- Kids especially those who are less than two years old should be kept away from foods with high sugar amounts. Same holds good for salt intake in their case.
Keep Alcohol Away from Your Life
In many countries ringing in the New Year is not complete without the consumption of alcohol. And in many cases, individuals go overboard leading to heavy alcohol drinking. As such alcohol consumption in large quantities and way too often can impact your health in the long run by damaging your heart and liver besides causing cancer and psychological illness. Injuries can also occur.
Tips to bear in mind with regard to alcohol:
- Alcohol has to be totally avoided by breastfeeding or pregnant women or while you operate machinery or any other related activity; in case your health issues are aggravated by its consumption; your medicines counteract adversely with alcohol consumption, or you cannot put brakes on your drinking.
- It is not shameful to resort to help from specialist agencies or health workers for any alcohol-related issues. A self-help guide formulated by WHO is also available to people who wish to put an end to their addiction.
- It does not matter if you are a teetotaler as alcohol does not contribute in any way towards the health of your body.
Keep these tips for a healthy diet in mind as you usher in the New Year!