On a daily basis, our eating plan is not governed by products chosen according to a previously established healthy diet, but is exercised through food bought in shopping malls, fast food, “junk” products and that most are cooked fast.
The importance of establishing a healthy diet helps us to preserve our health much longer, providing the necessary nutrients to survive, regulating cholesterol, glucose, triglyceride and lipid levels, not to mention that we will lose weight during the process, so also the risk of cardiovascular disease will be reduced.
What foods to consider for our healthy diet?
To maintain a balanced diet we must look for those foods that provide the necessary nutrients with respect to our weight, eating habits to correct and budget.
Fruits and vegetables
In general, all agricultural products including whole grains, legumes, berries and tubers are approved to form part of a diet. They nourish the consumer with vitamins, proteins and minerals in different amounts, preserving a low caloric level, managing to fully meet food needs.
Whole foods are natural, they contain few calories but a lot of nutrients compared to processed products. The fiber contained in whole wheat bread, oatmeal, rice and barley is completely healthy and slows down digestive traffic helping to reduce food intake .
Lean meats and dairy products
Red meats belonging to the livestock group are recommended as long as they are consumed in moderation. Precisely one of the greatest sources of iron and protein comes from consuming meat , however, it is necessary to differentiate them from sausages (ham, sausage, pepperoni), since these are not totally natural and in excess are more harmful than the meat itself without process.
Dairy products are an acceptable source of vitamins and proteins, as it is a diet it is preferable to consume low-fat and low-sugar dairy products in moderation.
Other sources of protein to consider come from fish, shellfish, eggs, yogurts, and low-fat cheeses, all of which are acceptable for regular consumption .
Drinking water and other beverages
The basis of the correct diet begins with maintaining adequate hydration throughout the day, water is vital to be able to live and it is essential to drink at least 2 liters per day.
On the other hand, sugary drinks (juices, energizers, shakes) and alcoholic beverages should be eliminated as much as possible. In addition to the high content of calories harmful to the body, they are not beneficial to be consumed during the diet.
Processed and ultra-processed foods
Like sugary and alcoholic beverages, they should be avoided in order to improve our health and eating habits .
Processed foods are part of those products to which preservatives and additives are added which almost do not affect their nutritional status, however the natural product is recommended over the processed one.
Ultra-processed foods are partially or totally restricted in diets due to their zero nutritional benefit, lack of vitamins, proteins and fiber, high calorie content and in excess are harmful to health.
What to expect after starting a healthy diet?
Clearly if we start to eat well we will obtain notable physical changes, such as weight loss in cases of obesity or muscle gain in lean patients, coupled with this, physical exercise increases the gains caused by diet, further improving the result.
Healthy diet: the changes associated with the new habit
You may not believe that the changes in your daily routine are due to your diet, but it turns out that they are. Eating properly achieves physiological benefits that are associated with an improvement in your day-to-day life through insignificant but appreciable things.
For example, your appetite will be satisfied earlier, the cravings that you used to have after each meal disappear with the passage of time. Your eating schedule will be established so that you can identify the signals of your body to eat.
At the brain level you will have greater concentration and tranquility, which leads to reasoning and processing information quickly.
In turn, dreams become more restorative and with a greater sense of rest at night, causing greater activity and energy the next day, which is why exercising is of great benefit.
And how not to talk about the physical changes, with the passing of the weeks many garments that used to be tight are now larger, this in any person causes a feeling of happiness and pride.
Healthy diet: preventing non-communicable diseases
When talking about a diet we usually think that they are specifically to regulate overweight, treat cases of obesity and it is not like that, since malnutrition has the same relevance to be treated.
The great need to be able to regulate excess or lack of body weight is accompanied by the prevention of non-communicable diseases, although this is a very broad term, in the field of nutrition and gastroenterology it emphasizes avoiding the appearance of chronic diseases of cardiovascular origin and gastrointestinal tract.
A correct diet prevents the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis and endothelial dysfunction caused by the accumulation of both glucose and cholesterol in the blood vessels.
The possibility of iron deficiency anemia, angina pectoris, cardiac arrest, cerebrovascular disease (CVD) , heart failure or arrhythmias is also reduced . And although it is impressive, certain cancers can be avoided by changing our diet, stomach and colon cancer are the most associated with poor diet.
For pregnant women, eating properly is essential due to the high nutritional requirement of the fetus, likewise, contemplating the best nutrients during pregnancy reduces the presence of neural tube defects , such as spina bifida.
Indications established by the World Health Organization (WHO)
The WHO has established what is recommended in a regular daily diet . Speaking briefly about the correct diet in an adult person, we find:
- Fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes or whole grains in a proportion of 400 g per day.
- Low percentage (less than 10%) of free sugars, such as those found in soft drinks, ultra-processed foods, and in natural sugars such as syrups or fruit juice.
- Less than 5 g of salt per day, this amount accumulates after all meals of a single day, so table salt (iodized salt) should not be taken into account.
- Regulated fat intake (less than 30% per day).
We can divide fats into 3 types :
- Unsaturated fats: considered the healthiest for the cardiovascular benefit offered, we find olive, sunflower, and peanut oils, among others. Also walnuts, almonds and soybeans.
- Saturated fat: specifically this type of excess fat is harmful, but its moderate consumption is useful for a balanced diet. The greatest exponents are processed meats, although products such as butter are also found here.
- Hydrogenated fats: they are the worst and it is recommended not to include them, here are the famous “junk” foods (chips, cookies, sweets and cakes).
If you are a beginner and you have contemplated these guidelines, you will be able to have an idea of what is actually considered healthy for your body, in this way you will be able to reverse bad eating habits and you will improve your health.
It is essential to contact a nutritionist doctor to learn more about personalized diets, since not all people benefit from the same nutrients, opting for different foods and different servings.