Generally, one's body will only be as healthy as the food which is put into it. A poor diet will lead to health problems whereas a balanced diet full of essential nutrients will result in a strong, disease-free body. The practice of health eating is based on putting certain principles into practice each and every day. Making healthy food choices for each meal will lead to an ideal body weight, lower incidence of illness, and increased energy. |
A balanced diet consists of several key elements which function together to promote keeping the body in a state of health. Choosing the right amount of nutritious foods and learning new ways in which they can be enjoyed is a large part of this. Evaluating which starches and oils one consumes and switching over to healthier ones if needed is sometimes necessary as well.
Water is very important for basically all cellular activity in the body and cleanses impurities away; people should drink as many as 8 glasses per day. Sufficient exercise is important for keeping the lungs, heart, and muscles conditioned and metabolism running well; 15 minutes of constant activity every day is recommended. Limiting the use of salt and sugar in the diet is necessary too, as these can lead to diabetes, obesity, and hypertension when used excessively.
Fruits and vegetables represent an important food group which provides the body with many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it needs. These foods are naturally lower in calories and are an excellent source of dietary fiber. There are many to choose from and they each have different nutritional values so it is a good idea to eat a variety of at least 5 servings per day.
Carbohydrates are needed by the body primarily for energy. These include the whole grain family of foods such as brown rice, cereals and oats, and whole wheat breads. They are a good source of certain antioxidants and vitamins and also are slow to digest, which enables them to regulate blood levels of glucose and insulin and make one feel full longer. A person should have 8 servings of these every day.
Fat is needed to maintain healthy cells, skin, and nails and for the function of the heart and brain. There are good fats, namely the omega-3 EPA and DHA fats, and the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated types which are largely found in fish, and various plants and nuts that are beneficial to health. Trans fats should be limited as these can be harmful.
Protein is the main "building material" of the body and also a good source of energy. Foods rich in protein include meats, fish, eggs, beans, and dairy products. They also contain important vitamins and minerals which are essential to growth and repair of body tissues. A person should consume 2-3 servings per day. Dairy products supply protein and also calcium which helps maintain teeth and bones; 3 servings of dairy daily are recommended.
Choosing nutritious foods in proper quantity from the food groups is a major part of health eating, as is the timing of one's meals. It is better to eat a larger breakfast to fuel the body with energy, and supplement it with smaller meals throughout the day as this optimizes the body's metabolism. Not taking large portions of food is also important in order that the daily caloric intake is not too high. Eliminating altogether or only occasionally consuming foods high in refined starches, sugars, and trans fats is also advisable.
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