What is Healthy Eating?
Healthy eating is a term that is often mixed with medical terminology and thrown about like it was the elixir of good health. In reality, healthy eating simply means eating the right quantities of foods from various food sources each of which is divided into groups called “food groups”. These food groups are Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Milk and Meats. Each of these groups in turn, contains a list of food items that are deemed healthy and good for you.
The terms “healthy eating” and “diet” are inter-linked. Diet simply means the food we consume in the course of a day and does not refer to some stringent exotic food plan. Therefore, the terms “healthy eating” and “good healthy diet” essentially mean the same thing i.e. they promote good health.
A good healthy diet must include certain quantities of food from all the five food groups and for this reason it is known as the “balanced diet”. Nutrition experts have worked out the balanced diet by taking into consideration all the requirements of your body including hair, skin, tissues and internal organs.
Let us examine each of these food groups that form part of your healthy eating diet:
Grains: A healthy active adult should ideally consume no less than 3 ounces of whole grains per day. Unlike polished grains (e.g. white rice), whole grains are rich in minerals, vitamins and fiber.
Tip: When buying whole grain you need to be careful because it is usually not possible to visually identify whole grain. You need to look at the product label.
Food items made from whole grain includes cereals, breads and pastas. Again, please read the labels to ensure these are made from 100% whole grain. Some whole grain foods and flours are corn, brown rice, wild rice, bulger, wheat, buckwheat, oatmeal (oats), spelt.
Vegetables and Fruits: Fruits must be consumed fresh either whole or in the form of bite sized chunks. Fruits contain oxidants and so must be consumed immediately after cutting because the oxidants in the fruit begin to deteriorate the moment it comes in contact with air. For this reason, fruits must never be consumed in the form of juices because the moment the fruit is turned into pulp, the oxidation that occurs reduces the nutritional value of the fruit rendering it near useless.
Vegetables too must be consumed fresh. The more dense the color of the vegetable the better it is. Thus fresh, dark green or purple or yellow is better than pale colors. Leafy vegetables must form part of your diet.
Meats: Your body needs protein for tissue repair. Foods rich in protein also usually contain essential minerals, such as zinc, iron, magnesium, and also B vitamins. If your source of proteins is meats then care should be taken to trim away any visible skin and fat before cooking. Fish too is an excellent source of protein as well as omega oils. Ideally, you should grill or roast your meats and fish. Never fry.
Milk: Milk and milk products are a good source of calcium which is required for your bones and teeth. As far as possible avoid full cream milk. Low fat or skimmed milk is ideal. People who cannot consume milk and milk products, should include broccoli, cabbage and Soya milk in their diet.