Rather than frying meat, bake, grill, or broil it. Take off the skin before cooking chicken or turkey. Try eating fish at least once a week.
Reduce any extra fat. This includes butter on bread, sour cream on baked potatoes, and salad dressings. Use low-fat or nonfat versions of these foods.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables with your meals and as snacks.
Read the nutrition labels on foods before you buy them. If you need help with the labels, ask your doctor or dietitian.
When you eat out, be aware of hidden fats and larger portion sizes.
Staying hydrated is important for good health. Drink zero- or low-calorie beverages, such as water or tea. Sweetened drinks add lots of sugar and calories to your diet. This includes fruit juice, soda, sports and energy drinks, sweetened or flavored milk, and sweetened iced tea.
Things to consider
Balanced nutrition and regular exercise are good for your health. These habits can help you lose or maintain weight. Try to set realistic goals. They could be making some of the small diet changes listed above or walking daily.
Doctors and dietitians suggest making healthy eating habits a part of daily life rather than following fad diets. Nutrition tips and diets from different sources can be misleading. Keep in mind the advice below, and always check with your doctor first.
Secret diets aren’t the answer. Fad or short-term diets may promise to help you lose weight fast. However, they are hard to keep up with and could be unhealthy. Good nutrition doesn’t come in a pill. Try eating a variety of foods instead. Your body benefits most from healthy whole foods. Only take vitamins that your doctor prescribes.. Diet programs or products can confuse you with their claims. Most people in these ads get paid for their endorsements. They don’t talk about side effects, problems, or regained weight.
Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to any of them, talk to your doctor about your health. You may need to improve your eating habits for better nutrition.
Do you have a health problem or risk factor, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol?
Did your doctor tell you that you can improve your condition with better nutrition?
Do diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or osteoporosis run in your family?
Are you overweight?
Do you have questions about what foods you should eat or whether you should take vitamins?
Do you think that you would benefit from seeing a registered dietitian or someone who specializes in nutrition counseling?
Path to improved health
It can be hard to change your eating habits. It helps if you focus on small changes. Making changes to your diet may also be beneficial if you have diseases that can be made worse by things you are eating or drinking. Symptoms from conditions such as kidney disease, lactose intolerance, and celiac disease can all benefit from changes in diet. Below are suggestions to improve your health. Be sure to stay in touch with your doctor so they know how you are doing.
Find the strong and weak points in your current diet. Do you eat 4-5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day? Do you get enough calcium? Do you eat whole grain, high-fiber foods? If so, you’re on the right track! Keep it up. If not, add more of these foods to your daily diet.
Keep track of your food intake by writing down what you eat and drink every day. This record will help you assess your diet. You’ll see if you need to eat more or less from certain food groups.
Think about asking for help from a dietitian. They can help you follow a special diet, especially if you have a health issue.
Almost everyone can benefit from cutting back on unhealthy fat. If you currently eat a lot of fat, commit to cutting back and changing your habits. Unhealthy fats include things such as: dark chicken meat; poultry skin; fatty cuts of pork, beef, and lamb; and high-fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheeses) There is considerable truth in the adage 'You are what you eat'. The state of your body and how well it works depends to a large extent on how appropriately it is nourished. Malnutrition can be found in contemporary Western society and is not peculiar to developing countries.
Malnutrition occurs when a person's body is not adequately serviced by its food intake. Each individual's needs change under different circumstances. Moreover, the foods needed by an athlete, a grandmother, a growing boy, an office worker or a pregnant woman are not the same. Nutritional needs vary even from one office-worker to another, according to genetic make-up, level of activity, general state of health and environment.
Some groups of people who are at risk from nutrient deficiencies can be generally identified. These include those who are socio-economically disadvantaged; women during the reproductive years because of the added nutritional demands of menstruation and of pregnancy; the elderly; those who have a particular health problem, such as diabetes, faulty absorption of food or who are on certain medications; those with lifestyle problems such as cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse.
1. Good Nutrition Improves Well-Being
Eating a poor diet reduces physical and mental health because eating healthy allows people to be more active. Two-thirds of people who eat fresh fruit and vegetables daily report no mental health issues, as reported by the Mental Health Foundation. Compare this to those who do have some level of mental health problems and have generally reported eating less healthy foods and more unhealthy foods. Feelings of well-being can be protected by ensuring that our diet is full of essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
2. It’s Expensive To Be Unhealthy
Nearly two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a healthier diet could prevent at least $71 billion per year in medical costs and lost lives. That number may be underestimated because it only accounts for diet-related coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. It does not include other diet-related illnesses. Seventy-five percent of health care dollars are spent on treating preventable diseases.
3. Helps You Manage A Healthy Weight
Eating a nutritious diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and protein will help maintain a healthy body weight. Janelle Hodovic, a Registered Dietitian with a Clinic - Weight Loss, says this about nutrition: “There is no one diet, no diet pill and no surgery that lets people eat whatever they want and still expect weight loss and improved health. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program will be what is needed to achieve those goals. Use food for its purpose: Nourishment.” Healthy Eating Plate discusses how to make the best eating choices. If eating healthy makes you think about the food you can’t have, refocus your thoughts on the foods you can have. Put a new spin on an old recipe to make it a little healthier. You don’t have to give up your favourite comfort foods; it’s all about balance. Adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to meals can help you control your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.
4. Maintains Your Immune System
Our immune system is our defence against disease, but poor nutrition is the most common cause of immunodeficiency worldwide. Maintaining your immune system requires an intake of proper vitamins and minerals. Eating a well-balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables and food low in fats, will help support a healthy immune system.
5. Delays the Effects Of Ageing
Foods like tomatoes, berries, avocados, nuts and fish all contain certain vitamins and minerals that are good for the skin. For example, tomatoes contain vitamin C, which helps build collagen, in turn making your skin look firmer and slow premature aging. Berries are full of antioxidants and vitamins and eating them promotes cell regeneration for new skin.
6. Gives You Energy
Our bodies derive energy from the foods and liquids we consume. The main nutrients our body uses for energy are carbohydrates, fats and protein. Carbohydrates such as whole-grain breads and starchy vegetables are the best for prolonged energy since they are digested at a slower rate. Water is necessary for transport of nutrients, and dehydration can cause a lack of energy. A deficiency in iron may cause fatigue, irritability and low energy. Food rich in iron includes seafood, poultry, peas and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach. To better absorb iron from these foods, it is best to consume vitamin C at the same time. Think of including vitamin C rich foods like broccoli, kiwi, peppers, leafy greens and tomatoes in meals full of iron.
7. Reduces The Risk of Chronic Disease
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, risk factors for chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes, have been increasingly seen at younger ages as a result of unhealthy eating and weight gain. Among adults ages 20 to 74, diabetes remains the leading cause of kidney failure, blindness and non-traumatic lower-extremity amputation. Dietary habits are typically established in childhood and carry on into adulthood, making it crucial to teach children the importance of eating a healthy diet early on.
8. Healthy Eating Positively Affects Your Mood
Diets low in carbohydrates increase feelings of tension whereas diets high in carbohydrates have a more uplifting effect on mood. A diet rich in protein, moderate in carbohydrates and low in fat will have a positive effect on mood because it leaves an adequate supply of iron, omega-3 fatty acids and iron. As much as food affects our mood, mood affects our food choices. When we experience feelings of sadness, we are more likely to choose unhealthy foods. People feeling happier feelings are more likely to choose healthier foods.
9. Increases Focus
Food has an impact on the way we think. When the body is low on glucose, the brain is not receiving the energy it needs to remain focused. Diets high in fat and cholesterol can seriously damage the brain by building up plaque in brain vessels, damaging brain tissue and causing strokes. Eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day helps keep the mind healthy and engaged.
10. Healthy Diets May Lengthen Your Life
Your body needs food in order to survive, but the process of breaking down food nutrients, or metabolising, causes stress on the body. Overeating creates more stress on the body and could lead to a shorter lifespan. According to research done by Columbia University, 18 percent of deaths among white and black Americans can be attributed to obesity. Obesity could potentially lead to a decline in life expectancy in the United States. Diets that are rich in nutrients and do not contain processed foods have been found to have a positive effect on life expectancy.
The role of nutrition in a person’s development is of utmost importance to their lifelong health and wellbeing. Undernutrition may occur when certain important nutrients are not consumed in the correct quantities or are not absorbed properly to the needs of the body.
Focus Ireland recently released a report which highlighted the implications of homelessness on the diet and health of families living in emergency accommodation in Ireland. Many of these families had no access to kitchen facilities and therefore relied on takeaway meals, crisps, chocolate and soft drinks every day. The report highlighted the fact that families generally had a good knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating but lacked the support in emergency accommodation to maintain a healthy diet.
Food like this is low in fibre and essential nutrients but is high in salt, sugar and fat. Eating these foods on a regular basis may lead to nutritional deficiencies, reduced immunity and delayed growth and development in children.
Reduced intake of vitamins A, C, E and minerals such as zinc and selenium can reduce immunity and lead to increased risk of infection and disease. Furthermore, increased illness can cause further emotional and economic strain on families.
Reduced intake of protein, calcium and vitamin D can impair dental and bone development and lead to long term health issues. Highly processed foods and takeaways can be lacking in these essential nutrients which puts families at risk.
Lack of fibre can cause poor digestive health. Digestive issues can cause implications for overall health and so should be monitored carefully, particularly in children.
Iron deficiency occurs regularly, particularly in those who do not consume enough iron-rich foods like red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, cereals fortified with iron and dried fruit. A diet which lacks Vitamin C can also cause low iron stores as vitamin C aids the absorption of iron in the body. Low iron stores and anaemia can impact on growth and development.
Poor nutrition can lead to problems in optimum brain development. This can have implications for memory, learning, social skills, language skills and IQ scores.
Due to the lack of facilities for food preparation, storage and cooking it is extremely difficult for these families to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. This report has laid out guidelines for the development of such facilities.
Here are some nutritious foods which are portable and require little or no preparation:
Fruit like apples, oranges, bananas.. pick your favourite!
Unsalted nuts and seeds
Lightly salted popcorn
Small cartons of milk
Individual portions of cheese
Small pots of reduced fat custard or rice pudding
Low sugar cereal bars