How to maintain a healthy diet & nutrition

 

Good nutrition is key to a healthy life. The best way to get good nutrition is by adopting balanced diet. You should eat enough food that provides your body all the important vitamins and minerals essential to stay healthy and required for proper growth. The best way to get nutrition from food is to include fruits, vegetables,  whole grains and good sources of protein. 

Identifying need for dietary change

Here are some questions to identify your health condition. If the answer to any of the questions below is yes,  you should seek the help of a qualified doctor or a certified medical practitioner. You will also need to reconsider your eating habits and bring changes in your diet for better nutrition. 

  1. Do you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol?

  2. Does diabetes, osteoporosis,  cancer, heart disease run in your family?

  3. Are you overweight or obese?

  4. Do you feel the need  to take vitamin and mineral supplements?

Changing diet and nutrition habits for improved health

Making changes to eating habits can be very difficult. To make a healthy dietary change in order for your body  to get enough nutrition, don’t go for a big change all of a sudden. Instead, start by making a very small change  in your diet and stick to it for a month or more until it becomes part of your habit. Then you can bring in another  change in your diet and follow the process to become accustomed to it. This way over a period of time you will be able to make significant changes in your diet that can help you improve your health in a big way.  Any changes you make to your diet, however small, is helpful to your health. 

Diet suggestion

Here are some suggestions to help you improve your diet. Before  you make any changes to your diet, consult your doctor about the changes. 

  • Prepare a list of all the benefits and downside of your current diet.

  • Is your diet providing you with enough calcium?

  • Do you include 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables in your diet everyday?

  • Are you getting whole grain high fibre foods?

If you are getting all of the above,  you are already having a nutritious diet. If not,  then you should consider changing your diet to include food that provides more nutrition. 

Avoid unhealthy fat

Everyone can benefit from cutting out unhealthy fat  from their diet. If your current diet consists of plenty of fat, you should consider  revising the amount of fat you include in your diet. Here are some ways to reduce unhealthy fat from your diet: 

  • Non vegetarian food  consist of more unhealthy fat then vegetarian food. Instead of frying meat, you can bake, grill, or broil it. 

  • Include  fish at least once a week in your diet.

  • Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet

  • Avoid high fat dairy foods such as  whole milk, butter, and cheese. Instead, use low fat versions of these foods.

  • Carefully read nutrition label on the food before you buy them. It will let you know the amount of sugar and fat content in the food. If you need help to understand the label,  you can take the help of your doctor or dietitian. 

  • If you are eating out at a restaurant,  be mindful about hidden fats. Also be careful about  the portion size you should consume. 

  • You should keep yourself hydrated all the time. It is important for maintaining good health.  water is the best drink to keep yourself hydrated. Fizzy drinks contain unhealthy amounts of sugar that can quickly add excess calories to your diet. 

Understanding the balanced diet

A balanced diet includes five food groups that collectively fulfills all the nutritional needs of a person.  Eating a balanced diet helps you to maintain a good health and cuts down the risk of developing many types of diseases. Balanced diet is referred to as  balanced because it provides the body the right amount of calories and nutrients required to stay healthy. The best way to get a balanced diet is to fill your plate  half with grains and protein and the other half with fruits and vegetables. It should also include low fat dairy product to provide nutrients found in dairy. 

Five food groups in a balanced diet

To have a balanced diet you can  include foods from the five groups:below: 

  • Vegetable

  •  Fruit

  •  Grains

  •  Protein

  •  Dairy products  

 

Vegetables 

 This  group includes five subgroups

  • Green leafy vegetable 

  • Red and orange vegetable 

  • Starchy vegetables

  • Beans and peas

  • Other vegetables such as brinjal,  bottle gourd, okra etc.

To stay healthy  and ensure that your body get every kind of nutrients, you should include a variety of vegetables in your diet according to seasonal availability. Vegetables are versatile in the sense that they can be eaten  raw or cooked. However you have to understand that some vegetables lose their nutritional value when cooked. Likewise there are also vegetables that should be cooked  in order to make their nutrients bioavailable. Avoid deep frying vegetables or adding unhealthy amounts of fats. 

 

Fruits

You should eat plenty of seasonal fruits.  They are nutritional powerhouses. Instead of drinking fruit juice,  you should eat whole fruits. Juice contains less nutrients than fruits. Fruits also supply body dietary fibre which is good for stomach health. 

 

Grains 

There are two subgroups in grains i.e.  whole grains and refined grains. Whole grain include all the three parts of the grain such as bran, germ, and endosperm. As  a result our body takes longer time to breakdown whole grains. Thereby it has less effect on the person’s blood sugar. Moreover whole grain contain more fibre and protein then refined grain which is good for digestive health. 

 

Proteins

Protein is an essential part of a balanced diet. You should include protein in your regular diet. Protein is essential for muscle development, hormones formation and to support other body functions. Good sources of protein includes lean beef, pork, chicken, fish, beans, peas, and legumes.

 

Dairy products

Dairy is an important source of calcium. If you are struggling with overweight, you should prefer low-fat versions of dairy products. Some dairy healthy products  includes ricotta or cottage cheese, low-fat milk and yogurt.

 

Published: 10.29.2019

© 2019. Datelinehealth Africa Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

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