The exact composition of a healthy diet depends on different factors, such as our age and level of physical activity, and the type of food served by the communities in which we live. But even in different cultures, some common dietary tips can help us live healthier and longer lives.
- Eat different food
- Reduce salt
- Reduce the use of certain fats and oils
- Limiting sugar intake
- Avoid the harmful use of alcohol
Eat different food
Our bodies are extremely complex, and (except for breast milk required by babies) no single food contains all the nutrients we need to keep our body in optimal condition. Therefore, our diet should include a variety of nutritious fresh foods to maintain good health.
Tips for ensuring a balanced diet:
- The daily diet should include as many staple foods as wheat, corn, rice, and potatoes, plus legumes such as lentils and pods, a large number of fresh fruits and vegetables, and foods of animal origin (such as meat, fish, eggs, and milk).
- Whenever possible, choose unprocessed whole-grain foods, such as corn, millet, oats, wheat, and brown rice; these foods are rich in valuable fiber to increase satiety.
- Choose lean as much as possible, or remove fat.
- Try to steam or cook instead of frying food when cooking.
- Choose snacks that are raw vegetables, unsalted nuts, and fresh fruits, rather than high-sugar, high-fat, high-salt foods.
Eating too much salt can increase blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Most people in the world eat too much salt: on average, our daily salt intake is twice the WHO recommended limit (5 grams, equivalent to a teaspoon).
We should understand that even if we do not add salt to food, processed foods and beverages often contain a lot of salt.
Tips for reducing salt intake:
- Use less salt when cooking and processing foods and less salty sauces and condiments (such as soy sauce, broth or fish sauce).
- Avoid high-salt snacks and try to choose fresh, healthy snacks instead of processed foods.
- When using canned or dried vegetables, nuts, and fruits, choose varieties that do not contain salt and sugar.
- Do not place salt shakers and salty condiments on the table, try to avoid the habit of adding such condiments; human taste buds can be adjusted quickly, and once adjusted, you can enjoy low-salt but better flavors food!
- Look at food labels and choose low sodium products.
Reduce the use of certain fats and oils
We all need a certain amount of fat in our diet, but taking too much, especially bad fat, increases the risk of obesity, heart disease, and stroke.
Industrially produced trans fats pose the greatest health risks. A diet that is high in trans fats can increase the risk of heart disease by nearly 30%.
Tips for reducing fat consumption:
- Replace butter, lard, and ghee with healthier oils such as soybean oil, rapeseed oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil.
- Choose white meat such as poultry and fish, which usually has lower fat content than red meat; and limit processed meat products.
- Look at food labels and be sure to avoid a variety of processed foods, fast foods, and fried foods that contain industrially-produced trans fats. Trans fats are often found in margarine and ghee, prepackaged snacks, fast foods, baked goods, and fried foods.
Limiting sugar intake
Eating too much sugar is not only harmful to your teeth but also increases your risk of being overweight and obese, which can lead to serious chronic health problems.
As with salt, be sure to pay attention to the sugars “hidden” in processed foods and beverages. For example, a can of soda can contain up to 10 teaspoons of added sugar!
Tips for reducing sugar intake:
- Limit intake of sweets and sugary beverages, such as carbonated beverages, fruit juices and fruit drinks, fruit juice concentrates or powders, flavored water, energy and sports drinks, ready-to-drink tea and coffee, and flavored milk beverages.
- Choose healthy, fresh snacks, and abandon processed foods.
- Avoid giving children sugary foods. Salt and sugar should not be added to foods for children under 2 years of age, and the amount of sugar and salt should be limited to food for children over 2 years of age.
Avoid the harmful use of alcohol
Alcohol is not a healthy diet, but in many cultures, celebrating the New Year is associated with heavy drinking. Overall, drinking too much or too much alcohol increases the immediate risk of injury and also has long-term effects such as liver damage, cancer, heart disease, and mental illness.
WHO advice: There is no safe threshold for alcohol consumption; for many people, even small amounts of alcohol can pose serious health risks.
- Remember: Reducing alcohol is good for your health, and it does n’t matter if you do n’t touch it.
- You should not drink alcohol at all if you are: pregnant or breastfeeding; driving, operating machinery, or engaging in other activities at risk; having alcohol that can aggravate your illness; taking drugs that have a direct effect on alcohol, or Drinking lacks self-control.
- If you or someone you love may have a problem with alcohol or other psychoactive substances, don’t be afraid to ask a health worker or drug and alcohol professional services for help. WHO has also produced a Self-Help Guide to provide guidance to those who wish to reduce or discontinue use.