Eating a varied diet of healthy foods can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and have the energy you need to live life to the full. Healthy eating can also help with things like your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Developing healthy eating habits isn’t as confusing or as restrictive as many people imagine. The essential steps are to eat mostly foods derived from plants—vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes (beans, peas, lentils)—and limit highly processed foods. Here are our guidelines for building a healthy diet.
Choose a variety of foods
Eating a varied, well-balanced diet means eating a variety of foods from each food groups daily, in the recommended amounts. It is also important to choose a variety of foods from within each food group because different foods provide different types and amounts of key nutrients. Choosing a variety of foods will help to make your meals interesting.
Keep an Eye on Portions
Sure, you can eat all the broccoli and spinach you want, but for higher-calorie foods, portion control is the key. In recent years, serving sizes have ballooned. In restaurants, choose an appetizer instead of an entree or split a dish with a friend. Don’t order anything that’s been “supersized.” When reading food labels, check serving sizes: some relatively small packages claim to contain more than one serving, so you have to double or triple the calories, grams of fat and milligrams of sodium if you’re planning to eat the whole thing.
If you drink, do so in moderation. That means no more than one drink a day for women, two a day for men. Older people should drink even less. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof spirits. While alcohol in moderation has heart benefits, higher intakes can lead to a wide range of health problems. Even moderate drinking impairs your ability to drive and may increase the risk of certain cancers. Some people, including pregnant women and those who have certain medical conditions, should avoid alcohol altogether.
Eat less meat
The mainstays of a healthy diet should be grains, nuts, and seeds, as well as nonstarchy vegetables and fruits, rather than meat. Whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread) provide fiber, which aids the digestive system and makes you feel fuller, and B vitamins, which can boost energy and aid metabolism. Nuts and seeds contain nutrients, such as vitamin E in almonds and sunflower seeds, that are otherwise hard to come by. Legumes―including beans, soybeans, peanuts, and lentils―provide fiber, too, along with protein, iron, folate, and other nutrients. Replacing meat with legumes as a protein source is a good strategy for reducing saturated-fat intake.
It’s easier than you think to work these foods into your day. Open up a can of kidney beans or chickpeas and add them to soup, chili, or pasta. Or try a bowl of fortified breakfast cereal, 1 1/2 ounces of shelled sunflower seeds on a salad, or two ounces of almonds.
Some foods do not fit into the five food groups because they are not necessary for a healthy diet. These foods are called ‘discretionary choices’ and they should only be eaten occasionally. They tend to be too high in either energy (kilojoules), saturated fat, added sugars, added salt or alcohol, and have low levels of important nutrients like fibre.
Examples of ‘discretionary choices’ or occasional foods are:
- sweet biscuits, cakes, desserts and pastries
- processed meats and fattier/salty sausages, savoury pastries and pies, commercial burgers with a high fat and/or salt content
- sweetened condensed milk
- ice cream and other ice confections
- confectionary and chocolate
- commercially fried foods
- potato chips, crisps and other fatty and/or salty snack foods including some savoury biscuits
- cream, butter and spreads which are high in saturated fats
- sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, sports and energy drinks and alcoholic drinks.
Eat Plenty of Produce
Aim for 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit a day, for a 2,000-calorie diet. If you consume more calories, aim for more; if you eat fewer than 2,000 calories, you can eat less. Include green, orange, red, blue/purple and yellow produce. The nutrients, fiber and other compounds in these foods may help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases. Legumes, rich in fiber, count as vegetables, though are moderately high in calories. Choose whole fruits over juice for more fiber. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are good options.
Limit Refined Grains, Added Sugar
The refined carbohydrates in white bread, regular pasta and most snack foods have little or no dietary fiber and have been stripped of many nutrients. On food labels, watch out for “wheat flour” (also called “white,” “refined” or “enriched” flour) on the ingredients list. Also, limit foods with added sugar, such as soda and candy. These are sources of empty calories that contribute to weight gain. Many sugary foods are also high in fat, so they’re even more calorie-dense.
Get More Whole Grains
At least half your grains should be whole grains, such as whole wheat, barley and oats. Whole grains retain the bran and germ and thus all (or nearly all) of the nutrients and fiber of the grain. Look for a product labeled “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain.” If it doesn’t say that, look for a whole grain listed as the first ingredient, though there still may be lots of refined wheat (also called “white” or “enriched” flour) and/or sugar. Another option is to look for the voluntary “Whole Grain Stamp” from the Whole Grains Council.
Enjoy More Fish and Nuts
Nuts, fatty fish, avocados and vegetable oils supply healthy unsaturated fats. Recent research suggests these foods, though high in calories, tend not to promote weight gain because they are satisfying. Still, it’s best to eat them in place of other high-calorie foods. For instance, substitute olive or canola oil for butter. Fatty fish helps reduce heart disease risks and has other benefits, largely because of its omega-3 polyunsaturated fats.
Cut Down on Animal Fat
Saturated fats, especially from red meat and processed meat, boost LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. To limit your intake, choose lean meats, skinless poultry and nonfat or low-fat dairy products. It’s also a good idea to replace saturated fats with “good” fats, found in nuts, fish and vegetable oils, not with refined carbohydrates such as white bread and snack foods.
Shun Trans Fats
Trans fats are supplied by partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used in many processed foods (such as commercial baked goods, snack foods and stick margarines) and fast foods (such as French fries). Trans fats raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and also reduce HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease. Since 2006, when a trans fat labeling law went into effect, many food makers have eliminated or greatly reduced these fats in their products.
Don’t Worry About Cholesterol
Though a 300-milligram daily cap on cholesterol intake has long been advised, there’s abundant evidence that cholesterol in food has little, if any, effect on blood cholesterol in most people. Thus, many experts no longer recommend limiting dietary cholesterol (found only in animal foods, notably eggs and shrimp). The best way for most people to lower their blood cholesterol is to reduce saturated fats (as in meats) and trans fats (from partially hydrogenated oils in processed foods). A possible exception is people with diabetes, who should talk to their doctor about their overall diet.
Keep Sodium Down, Potassium Up
Excess sodium raises blood pressure in many people and has other harmful effects. People over 50, black people, and those with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease—that’s most adults—should limit sodium to 1,500 milligrams a day (about two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt). Everyone else should aim for less than 2,300 milligrams a day. At the same time, consume more potassium, which lowers blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods include citrus fruits, bananas, potatoes, beans and yogurt.
Choose Food Over Supplements
Supplements cannot substitute for a healthy diet, which supplies countless other potentially beneficial compounds besides vitamins and minerals. Foods also provide the “synergy” that many nutrients require to be efficiently used in the body. Still, for many people a basic multivitamin/mineral pill can provide some of the nutrients they may fall short on. In addition, many people need calcium as well as vitamin D supplements to meet recommended intakes.
Watch Your Calcium and Vitamin D
These nutrients are vital for bone health. Get calcium from low-fat or nonfat dairy products and fortified foods such as some orange juices and soy drinks. If you can’t get 1,000 to 1,200 mg a day from foods, take a calcium supplement. It’s hard to consume enough vitamin D from foods, and getting it from sunlight is risky. Many people—especially those who are over 60, live at northern latitudes or have darker skin—may need a D supplement (800 to 1,000 IU a day).
Be Aware of Liquid Calories
Beverages supply more than 20 percent of the calories in the average American’s diet. Some liquid calories come from healthy beverages, such as milk and 100 percent fruit juice. But most come from soda and other sweetened beverages and alcoholic drinks, which have lots of calories yet few, if any, nutrients. Soft drinks are a major source of sugar and calories for many Americans, especially children. Though juice is more nutritious than soft drinks, it’s also high in calories, so most people should drink no more than one cup a day.
According to a recent study on health age, less than 1% of the US population gets its necessary nutrients from diet alone.
THE FACTS :
A U.S. Senate Document states: “The alarming fact is that … no-one today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the minerals he requires for perfect health … our foods vary enormously in value, and some of them aren’t worth eating as food.” (U.S. Senate Document No. 264.)
Science tells us that eating fruits and vegetables dramatically lowers the risk of degenerative disease, improves all bodily functions, fights off environmental toxins and damage, and helps us stay young and healthy.
The sad truth is that in today’s world, it’s just not easy to get all these nutrients into our daily diet.
However GREEN 33 ‘super’ foods supplement is the answer!
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It is a potent formulation of 33 organic extracts from green vegetables, fruits, sprouted cereal grains, grasses, offering the nutritional equivalent of 2 and a half pounds of nutrient-dense food in each dose.
Think of it as nature’s ideal multivitamin. Ingredients in GREEN 33 help to:
- Support cell health and function, oxygenate the cells.
- Provide fiber and a full range of balanced nutrients.
- Detoxify the body.
- Neutralize acidity in the body (acidosis) and balance the body’s pH levels.
- Strengthen immune function.
- May lower bad cholesterol.
- Help balance metabolism and lower blood sugar levels.
- Assist with hunger control and promotes weight loss.
- A single serving has the nutritional value of 2.5 pounds of vegetables and vital nutrients.
- Excellent supplement to offset the typically deficient western diet.
Get your full range of green foods, vegetables, fruits, grasses, and grains, and get your system functioning optimally with GREEN 33 superfoods vegetable supplement.