Healthy eating is incredibly important, and it means you are following a balanced diet. As well as eating safe, beneficial food, you should limit your consumption of alcohol and avoid drugs. You need to find the right balance for you individually, because everyone is different.
There are a number of different food groups, such as:
Carbohydrates, Fruit and Veg, Dairy, Protein and Starch.
It is recommended to consume a mix of food from these groups to get a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals.
The NHS recommends the following eight tips for healthy eating:
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Eat breakfast
- Keep hydrated
- Have starchy foods make up roughly one third of the food you eat each day
- Eat fish
- Reduce sugar and saturated fat intake
- Reduce salt intake
- Keep active
Fruit and veg contain lots of important vitamins and minerals as well as being a good source of dietary fibre. They can help reduce the risk of some cancers, stroke and heart disease, and there is a wide variety to choose from to keep meals different.
Breakfast is sometimes skipped by people who think eating less will help them lose weight, but the NHS reports that research has indicated breakfast makes it easier to control your weight. Breakfast can be a good source of fibre, as well as vitamins and minerals, and helps you feel full and ready to go.
Drinking enough water is highly important, preventing you from becoming dehydrated. Many drinks contain lots of sugar, but water is very good for you.
Drinking milk can provide you with calcium, which is important in having stronger bones. The NHS says we should drink 1.6 to 2 litres of fluids each day to keep you hydrated.
Starchy foods, such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and cereals, are good sources of carbohydrate, and wholegrain varieties of these foods also contain a good amount of fibre.
Fish is a good source of vitamins and minerals, as well as protein. Each week you should try to eat a minimum of two portions of fish, with one being oily fish due to its omega-3 fats, which help protect against heart disease. Consume a wide variety of fish, ideally.
It is important not to cut fat out of your diet, but it is important to limit how much is consumed, and which type is consumed, saturated and unsaturated. Having too much saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease due to high cholesterol levels. You should aim for foods containing unsaturated fat rather than saturated.
Sugar is also a big issue, with many people consuming far too much. It can be a factor in weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay among other problems. Try to avoid products high in sugar.
You might consume too much salt without even adding any to your meals, and too much salt can lead to a rise in blood pressure. This can make heart disease or a stroke more likely, so you should try to restrict the amount of salt in your diet.
Whilst not technically a part of healthy eating, exercise should never be ignored. Even if you eat healthily, you need to take part in regular exercise. It doesn’t matter if you join a gym and workout regularly, just so long as you incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine. Exercise can help prevent you from gaining weight and becoming obese, which can often lead to type 2 diabetes, some cancers and heart disease.