Dietary Guidelines for Better Health
A good diet is necessary to get all the necessary and essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals and amino acids) for good health.
By following a healthy eating plan, you will maintain a healthy weight, will never need to go on a diet to lose weight, will ensure you are healthy and you will greatly reduce your risk of developing degerenative illness such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
A healthy eating plan will incorporate the following:
- Eat 5-7 servings of vegetables every day, with 3-4 of these servings to be leafy green vegetables
You must eat a range of different vegetables every day in order to intake all the vitamins and minerals plus the antioxidants they contain, for good health. Some of the vegetables eaten every day need to be raw. Many studies show that a diet full of vegetables lower risk for a number of degerative illnesses, including heart disease (stroke, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease), diabetes and cancer.
- Eat 3-5 servings of fruit every day
You need to eat a range of fruit every day for the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants they contain.
- Eat a healthy breakfast within one hour of waking
In order to increase blood glucose levels without letting them spike, you must have a healthy breakfast. A healthy breakfast contains the right levels of protein, complex carbohydrates (low GI carbohydrates) and healhy fats.
- Eat three regular meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), plus two to three smaller, healthy snacks
Having about 5-6 meals a day will help to keep blood sugar levels stable by ensuring the body has adequate intake of foods that can be converted into energy.
- Eat some quality, complete protein at every meal and snack
A quality protein contains all the 9 essential amino acids which are necessary in the diet every day because the body cannot produce these amino acids, they must be found in the diet. All lean meat and meat products (dairy, eggs) are quality complete proteins but vegetarians can also get their quality, complete protein from non-genetically modified soy (a complete protein) or by combining nuts/seeds/grains/legumes in a specific ratio.
- Ensure your grains are mainly wholegrain or wholewheat
Wholegrains or wholewheat cereals and grains are much better for the body, as they provide fibre, a multitidue of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and also help the gastrointestinal system function better.
Eat 5-7 servings of vegetables every day, with 3-4 of these servings to be leafy green vegetables
- Eat oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) 3-4 times a week (except if you are pregnant)
Cold water, oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna are an excellent source of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids are needed in the diet because the body cannot produce them. Many studies show that omega-3 fatty acids greatly reduce risk of heart disease (stroke, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol) and should be included as part of a healthy diet. Pregnant women should limit their fish intake to 2-3 times a week, to limit possible mercury intake (which is found in many fish).
- Eat meat at only 3-4 main meals per week
If you are eating breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, that will be 3 main meals per day x 7 days per week, which is a total of 21 main meals a week. Out of the 21 meals per week, only 3-4 should contain meat, unless otherwise advised by your doctor. This rule does not apply to vegetarians/vegans.
- Eat a handful of nuts and seeds every day
All the nuts and seeds contain the “good” unsaturate fats (omega-3 and the healthy omega-6, GLA), which are beneficial for the whole body as they provide anti-inflammatory effects. The nuts and seeds that contain the highest levels are walnuts and pecans. In addition to this, nuts and seeds contain a number of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants which are beneficial for health.
- Eat eggs 5-7 times a week
Recent research shows that eating eggs does not significantly increase blood levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol as was previously thought. Eggs are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals and the yolk is packed with antioxidants. In addition to this, chickens which have been farmed organically (free range) and eat more green vegetables have eggs which are much higher in the anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- Drink 8 glasses of water each day (more if exercising a lot or sweating)
Water is required to hydrate the body and prevent dehydration. As the body is mostly made up of water and a lot of it is lost through sweating and other bodily fluids, it needs to be replaced. Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water every day – people who exercise a lot (athletes and others) and people who sweat a lot need to drink a little more to replace their fluids and rehydrate their body
- Cook with cold pressed olive or sunflower oil
It is much more adviseable to cook with cold pressed, extra virgin oil or cold pressed sunflower oil rather than with butter, lard or other fats. This is because olive oil and sunflower oil are polyunsaturated fats, which have a beneficial effect on the heart and the whole body. Studies show that people who follow a Mediterranean diet, in which olive oil is used regularly, have a lowe incidence of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.