On a daily basis, our eating plan is not governed by products chosen according to a previously established healthy diet, but is exercised by means of food purchased in shopping malls, fast food, “junk” products and most of them are cooked quickly.
The importance of establishing a healthy diet helps us to preserve our health much longer.
Providing the necessary nutrients to subsist, regulating the levels of cholesterol, glucose, triglycerides and lipids, 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 be part of a diet.
They nourish the consumer with vitamins, proteins and minerals in different quantities, keeping a low caloric level and fulfilling the total dietary needs.
Whole grain foods are natural, containing few calories, but many nutrients compared to processed products.
The fiber contained in whole grain bread, oats, rice and barley is completely healthy and slows down the digestive traffic helping to reduce food intake.
Lean meats and milk products
Red meats belonging to the livestock group are recommended as long as they are consumed in moderation.
Precisely one of the major 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 unprocessed meat itself.
Dairy products are an acceptable source of vitamins and proteins, but in the case of a diet it is preferable to consume low-fat dairy products and sugar in moderation.
Other sources of protein to consider come from fish, seafood, eggs, yogurts and low-fat cheeses, all of which are acceptable for regular consumption.
Drinking water and other beverages
The basis of proper nutrition begins with maintaining adequate hydration throughout the day.
Water is vital for life and it is essential to drink at least 2 liters per day.
On the other hand, sugary drinks (juices, energy drinks, milkshakes) and alcoholic beverages should be avoided as much as possible.
In addition to the high content of harmful calories for the organism, 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.
They hardly affect their nutritional status, however natural products are recommended over processed ones.
Ultra-processed foods are partially or totally restricted in diets because of their null nutritional benefit.
They lack vitamins, protein and fiber, and retain a high calorie content and in excess are detrimental to health.
What to expect after starting a healthy diet?
Clearly if we start eating well we will obtain noticeable physical changes
Weight loss in cases of obesity or muscle gain in thin patients, together with physical exercise, increases the gains caused by the diet, improving the result even more.
Healthy diet: the changes associated with the new habit
You may not think that the changes in your daily routine are due to your diet, but it turns out they are.
Eating properly achieves physiological benefits that are associated with an improvement in your day-to-day life through insignificant but noticeable things.
For example, your appetite will be satiated earlier, the cravings you used to have after every meal will disappear over time.
Your eating schedule will be established so you will be able to identify your body’s signals to feed you.
On a cerebral level, you will have greater concentration and tranquility, which leads to reasoning and processing information quickly.
At the same time, dreams become more restful and with a greater sense of rest during the night, resulting in greater activity and energy the next day.
And how not to talk about the physical changes, with the passage of weeks many clothes that used to be tight are now larger, this in any person causes a feeling of happiness and pride.
Healthy diet: prevention of non-communicable diseases.
When we talk about a diet we usually think that it is specifically to regulate overweight, to treat cases of obesity, and it is not so, since malnutrition has the same relevance to be treated.
The great need to be able to regulate the excess or lack of body weight is accompanied by the prevention of non-communicable diseases.
In the field of nutrition and gastroenterology, the emphasis is on preventing the onset of chronic diseases of cardiovascular origin and of the gastrointestinal tract.
Proper nutrition prevents the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis and endothelial dysfunction caused by the accumulation of glucose and cholesterol in the blood vessels.
It also reduces the possibility of suffering iron deficiency anemia, angina pectoris, cardiac arrest, cerebral vascular disease (CVD), heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias.
Although it is impressive, certain cancers can be prevented 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 requirements of the fetus.
Likewise, contemplating the best nutrients during pregnancy decreases 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 proportion of 400 g per day.
Low percentage (less than 10%) of free sugars, such as soft drinks, ultra-processed foods, and natural sugars such as syrups or fruit juice.
Less than 5 g of salt per day, this amount is accumulated after all meals in a single day, so table salt (iodized salt) should not be taken into account.
Regulated fat intake (less than 30% per day).
Fats can be divided into 3 types:
- Unsaturated fats: considered the healthiest for the cardiovascular benefit offered, we find olive oils, sunflower, peanuts, among others.
- Saturated fats: in excess they are harmful, but their moderate consumption is useful for a balanced diet. The greatest exponents are processed meats.
- Hydrogenated fats: they are the worst and it is recommended not to include them, here are the famous “junk” foods (chips, cookies, candies and cakes).
If you are a beginner and have these guidelines in mind, you will be able to have an idea of what is actually considered healthy for your body.
This way you will be able to reverse bad eating habits and improve your health.
It is essential to talk to a medical nutritionist to learn more about personalized diets, since not all people benefit from the same nutrients, opting for different foods and different portions.