3 October, 2019
Essential aspects for healthy eating
A good diet or healthy eating promotes health, regulates the body and reduces the onset of chronic diseases. Up to this point, everyone is in agreement. But what are the characteristics that promote this balanced and healthy diet? Let’s take a look below.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A HEALTHY DIET. 6 KEY FACTORS THAT EXPLAIN HOW TO ACHIEVE A GOOD DIET
1. PLEASE DON’T RUSH
We know that stress is harmful and we must try to minimise stress in all aspects of our life. This also includes meals. A healthy diet requires time and eating in a hurry does not do you any good. Firstly, this is because menu choices are often less appropriate than when we plan or when we have time. Secondly, because eating too fast and chewing too little hinders digestion, increasing the risk of heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, etc. And thirdly, because it does not give the stomach enough time to “communicate” that it is full, leading to a tendency to overeat. This leads on to the next point…
2. THE RIGHT AMOUNT
Although there are many factors that influence weight gain, one of the main factors is food. If we eat more than our body needs, it is easy to gain weight in the medium or long term. When we carry a few extra kilos, the risk of suffering from diseases such as high blood pressure and increased cholesterol, poor blood-sugar control or depression is increased. This does not mean that, in order to eat a good diet, we must eat as little as possible, skip meals or things like that. It simply means that we must find a balance and stick to it. Learn how to control and avoid the extra food that your body does not need.
3. ENJOY HOME COOKING
We must keep away from ultra-processed foods. That is to say, those that can make our day-to-day life easier – just heat and eat – but that take a toll on our health in the long run. Although the food industry is making changes to the formulation of many of its products, they should be avoided or left for very specific occasions. If we want to follow a healthy diet, we must always prioritise raw or minimally processed foods. For example: olive oil, frozen vegetables, bread, pasta, tinned pulses, etc. And ideally, we should cook more. Sometimes our daily routine makes this difficult, but to achieve this it may be useful to plan weekly meals and make easy dishes that do not require much attention or time, such as vegetable soup, fish or roast chicken, etc.
4. FOODS WITH HIGH NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Foods rich in nutrients should make up the bulk of a balanced diet and a good diet. We’re talking about foods that, in addition to protein, carbohydrates and/or quality fats, also contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. There are many foods of this type and the more varied our diet, always assuming good quality, the easier it will be to consume them all.
Examples of nutritious foods
Fruit, vegetables, pulses, whole grains, nuts, fish, eggs, lean meat, tea, coffee, etc.
Examples of NON-nutritious foods
Pastries, crisps, pre-cooked dishes, processed meats, sugary beverages or alcohol…
5. HEALTHY FATS, ALWAYS
To follow a healthy diet, you must ALWAYS opt for healthy fats. These are mainly unsaturated fats, like those found in vegetable oils such as olive oil, nuts, avocado, oily fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies…), etc. Consuming these foods daily or weekly helps to maintain good cardiovascular and cerebral health and prevent events such as myocardial infarction or strokes.
* One point to consider: although palm and coconut oils are derived from plants, they are not recommended for regular consumption due to their fatty acid profile. They promote increased LDL levels, or bad cholesterol, in the blood.
6. WITH LOADS OF FIBRE
Fibre is known worldwide for regulating bowel movements and reducing constipation. However, it has other beneficial effects on health, including: their ability to make you feel full and therefore better control your weight, to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar, to prevent several types of cancer and to “feed” gut microbiota (the microorganisms found in the colon and which are increasingly associated with effects on our health). For this reason, eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, prioritising whole grains and their derivatives, introducing pulses up to three or four times a week and eating nuts almost daily, are now seen as key to maintaining good health.
“Eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, prioritising whole grains and their derivatives, introducing pulses up to three or four times a week and eating nuts almost daily, are now seen as key to maintaining good health”
AND SO, HOW DO I EAT A HEALTHY DIET?
To sum up, a healthy diet or a good diet is one which prioritises plant-based foods, the high intake of nutrients and cooking that promotes their absorption. There are many examples, such as the Mediterranean diet, the Japanese diet or a vegetarian diet. So there is a choice, depending on the culture, customs and convictions of each of us.