What is healthy eating?
A healthy diet needs to include a range of different foods and should consist of:
- Fruit and vegetables
- High-fibre foods like potatoes, rice, pasta or whole grain bread
- Dairy or dairy alternatives
- Protein such as beans, eggs, meat and fish
- Healthy fats like olive oil and ghee
- Plenty of water
- Avoid over eating
A good variety of these foods every day will help you to get a wide range of nutrients from your diet.
The benefits of eating a healthy diet are numerous:
- Lower your risk of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers
- Support immune function
- Help your digestive system function
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Keep your bones and teeth strong
- Repair and strengthen muscles
- Improved energy
- Support brain function and brain health
- Boost your mood
- Help with sleeping patterns
- Support healthy growth and development in children
- Supports healthy pregnancies
Some of the effects of poor nutrition include:
- Obesity – a poor nutritional diet full of fat and sugar can cause obesity.
- High cholesterol levels can cause clogged blood vessels and lead to serious health problems
- High blood pressure – can be caused by poor diet and can lead to strokes, heart failure and kidney disease.
- Diabetes – being overweight and inactive, plus a diet high in fat, carbohydrates, sugar and cholesterol, are all type 2 diabetes risk factor
- Cancer – a poor nutritional diet may be linked to an increased risk of developing certain cancers- such as bowel cancer
- Osteoporosis – a diet without enough vitamin D and calcium may increase your risk of osteoporosis
- Heart disease and stroke – other health conditions caused by poor diet, can increase your risk of stroke and heart disease
Healthy eating tips
If you want to start eating more healthily!
Here are some healthy eating tips:
Eat: fruit and vegetables- 5 a day
Base meals around high-fibre foods: whole grain pasta, rice and bread, which contain more fibre, vitamins and minerals than the white versions.
Eat a portion of oily fish a week: oily fish such as salmon and sardines are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for heart health
Include dairy or dairy alternatives in your diet: dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are rich in calcium, which helps keep your bones and teeth strong.
Eat plenty of legumes: beans, lentils and peas are all high in protein and fibre
Eat less red meat: while red meat is a good source of protein, too much red meat in your diet can increase your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.
Limit sugary foods and drinks: these can increase obesity and cause tooth decay. Avoid sugary snacks such as cakes and candy and opt for fruit instead