A healthy diet which involves a variety of different food groups is an important way of staying healthy. It can help you to feel and perform your best.
For people who have food intolerances, there are often alternative foods which would give you similar nutrients. For example, lactose intolerants could get their calcium from oranges and broccoli rather than dairy.
What is a healthy diet?
According to multiple nutritionists, this is how to follow a healthy diet:
- Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- Base your meals on foods high in fibre, such as whole-wheat carbohydrates
- Eat lots of protein, such as beans and lean meats
- Drink as much water as you can
The benefits of each food group:
It has been scientifically proven that people who eat lots of fruit and vegetables are less likely to develop heart disease and certain cancers. They are also less at risk of strokes. One portion of fruit or vegetable is generally 80 grams, which is around one medium-sized piece of fruit.
Starchy foods should make up one third of your diet. They provide you with energy for long periods of time, and also contain fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins. Fibre helps to maintain healthy digestion and makes you feel fuller after a meal.
Dairy is a good source of protein. Dairy products, such as cheese and milk, contain calcium, which strengthens your bones and teeth. Dairy alternatives, such as soya, are included in this food group.
Other sources of protein, such as lean meats, beans and nuts, are essential for your body to grow and repair. They are also a source of vitamins and minerals, which strengthen your immune system.
How you can eat a more balanced diet:
Adding either dried or fresh fruit to your breakfast is an easy way of getting one of your five a day.
Potatoes with their skins still on are an excellent source of fibre. Nuts are also very high in fibre, and can be a healthy snack between meals.
Increase your intake of dairy by drinking more milk or eating yoghurt. You could have cereal with milk for breakfast as an easy source of calcium.
Try to eat less processed meat, such as bacon and ham. Lean meats, such as fish and poultry, contain less fat and more protein. Remember to cook meat thoroughly.
This advice will help you to maintain a healthy physical and mental lifestyle.