Regardless of the New Year's resolutions, a healthy and balanced diet will bring many benefits in 2019 and later, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
What we eat and drink can affect our body's ability to fight infections, as well as the probability of health problems in the future, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and various types of cancer.
The exact ingredients of a healthy diet depend on various factors, such as age and activity, and the type of food available in the communities in which we live. But in different cultures there are several typical nutritional tips that help us lead a longer and healthier life.
Eat a variety of food
Our bodies are extremely complex and, with the exception of breast milk for infants, no foods contain all the nutrients we need to function in the best possible way. Therefore, our diet must contain a wide range of fresh and nutritious foods to keep us.
Some tips on how to ensure a balanced diet:
- In your daily diet try to eat a mix of basic products such as wheat, maize, rice and potatoes with legumes, such as lentils and beans, a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and food of animal origin (eg Meat, fish, eggs and milk) .
- Choose all food, such as corn, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice, when you can; They are rich in valuable fibers and can help you feel longer.
- Choose lean meats when possible or cut visible fat.
- Try steam cooking or cooking instead of frying.
- In the case of sandwiches, choose raw vegetables, unsalted nuts and fresh fruits instead of foods rich in sugar, fat or salt.
Reduce the salt
Too much salt can increase blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Most people around the world eat too much salt: on average, we consume twice the 5-gram recommended by WHO (which corresponds to one teaspoon) per day.
Even if we do not add extra salt to our food, we should remember that it is usually placed in processed foods or beverages, and often in large quantities.
Some tips on how to reduce your salt intake:
- When cooking and preparing food, eat salt economically and limit the use of salty sauces and spices (such as soy sauce, broth or fish sauce).
- Avoid sandwiches with high salt content and try to choose fresh, healthy snacks for processed foods.
- If you use vegetables, nuts and fruit in cans or dried, you should choose unsalted varieties and added sugars.
- Remove salt and salty spices from the table and try to avoid adding them from habit; our taste buds can adapt quickly, and when they do, you'll most likely enjoy less-salt food, but with more flavor!
- Check the food labels and look for products with less sodium content.
Reduce the use of certain fats and oils
We all need fat in our diet, but eating too much, especially the wrong types, increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and stroke.
Industrially produced fats are the most dangerous to health. It was found that a diet rich in this type of fat increases the risk of heart disease by almost 30%.
Some tips on how to reduce your fat intake:
- Replace butter, butter and ghee with healthier oils such as soy, rape, maize, safflower and sunflower.
- Choose white meat, such as chicken and fish, which are generally less fat than red meat and reduce the intake of processed meats.
- Check labels and always avoid all processed, fast and fried products that contain trans fats produced industrially. Often occurs in margarine and ghee, as well as in packaged snacks and in fast, baked and fried dishes.
Limit your sugar intake
Too much sugar is not only harmful to our teeth, but increases the risk of unhealthy weight gain and obesity, which can lead to chronic and serious health problems.
As with salt, it is important to pay attention to the amount of "hidden" sugars that can be found in processed foods and beverages. For example, a single can of carbonated drink can contain up to 10 teaspoons of added sugar!
Some tips on how to reduce your sugar intake:
- Limit the consumption of sweets and sugary drinks, such as soft drinks, fruit juices and juices, liquid and powder concentrates, flavored water, energy and sports drinks, tea and coffee in ready-to-eat form, and flavored milk drinks.
- Choose healthy fresh snacks instead of processed foods.
- Avoid giving sweet food to children. Salt and sugars should not be added to supplementary foods that are given to children under the age of 2 years and should be restricted beyond this age.
Avoiding alcohol is dangerous and harmful
Alcohol is not part of a healthy diet, but in many cultures New Year celebrations are associated with excessive alcohol consumption. In general, drinking too much or too often increases the direct risk of injury, and also causes long-lasting effects, such as liver damage, cancer, heart disease and mental illness.
WHO informs that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption; for many people, even low alcohol consumption may be associated with a significant health risk.
Remember that lower alcohol consumption is always better for your health and there is no problem with drinking.
You should not drink alcohol at all if: you are pregnant or breastfeeding; driving a vehicle, operating machinery or undertaking other activities related to similar risks; have health problems that can aggravate alcohol; takes drugs that interact directly with alcohol; or have difficulty controlling the drink.
If you think that someone close to you may have problems with alcohol or other psychoactive substances, do not be afraid to ask for help from a healthcare professional or a specialized provider of drugs and alcohol. The WHO has also developed a self-help guide to provide guidance to those who want to reduce or stop alcohol use.
News Swisslatin / WHO (28/12/2018)