Having a healthy diet is essential for anyone seeking a life full of health and well-being. This means that we need to avoid industrialized products as much as possible and better select the foods we eat, giving preference to organic ones and increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
In this article, we will explain the concept of healthy eating and its importance for a fuller life, shielding against various diseases, and the transition to changing eating habits. Continue reading to find out more!
What Is Healthy Eating?
Healthy eating involves, in addition to nutrient intake, knowledge of foods that contain these substances, their combination, and how they are prepared. The set of these aspects directly influences health and well-being.
In this sense, a healthy diet can be defined as one that meets all the body’s needs. For that, it needs to be:
Accessible — food must be made within natural foods, which are produced and sold in the region to ensure physical accessibility in terms of location and finances;
Colorful — the combination of foods in a meal should be varied, with different colors to ensure the intake of the necessary nutrients;
Balanced — there should be adequate consumption concerning the type of food, eating more fruit than fat;
Safe — food must be free of pesticides and other chemical products, as well as comply with hygiene rules for handling and storage;
Sufficient — quantities should meet individual needs according to their physical configuration;
Varied — including various food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, cereals, meats, and dairy products, to provide the nutrients needed.
To help plan a healthy and balanced diet, we can use the principles of the Food Pyramid, which subdivides foods into groups and indicates appropriate portions, as follows:
The pyramid’s base is composed of foods that provide carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta, cereals, and tubers), which should be people’s main energy source.
The second level — includes foods of vegetable origin, which are sources of vitamins and minerals, such as fruits and vegetables (pumpkin, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, among others);
Third level — foods that are sources of protein, such as meat and eggs, to guarantee iron consumption, and the group of milk and its derivatives, for calcium consumption;
The top of the pyramid — involves energy foods, rich in fats and sugars, known as “empty calories,” as they do not have good amounts or varieties of nutrients, which can cause problems in the body.
It is important to note that the base and second levels of the pyramid include foods that should be consumed in larger quantities. The third level requires moderation, and the top can reach restriction.
The volume of the pyramid also indicates the proportion of food groups that should be eaten. Therefore, one should eat more cereals and bread than butter or sweets. The amount of milk and meat should be less than the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Why Is It Important To Maintain A Healthy Diet?
To develop everyday activities, the body needs energy obtained through food, which is transformed into essential nutrients. Among them, vitamins, proteins, lipids, and mineral salts are essential for various aspects of health, as we comment below.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight
An unbalanced diet causes obesity or weight loss. A healthy diet guarantees the body’s nutrients in ideal amounts. This way, the body is balanced, ingesting fruits, vegetables, legumes, and cereals without excesses.
Good Functioning Of The Intestine
The fibers contained in a healthy diet help in the proper functioning of the intestines. With this, the whole body benefits due to the correct absorption of nutrients contained in food, which helps the immune system and combat various respiratory problems.
Prevention Of Cardiovascular Diseases
Abusing certain foods, such as fatty foods, can cause heart problems, such as high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and an increased risk of a heart attack. Adopting a balanced diet and the intake of correct amounts of each food group prevents the emergence of these diseases. There are even plants that help you breathe better.
Strengthening The Immune System
Certain foods, such as leafy greens (spinach, cabbage, and broccoli), contribute to maintaining immune cells. Red fruits, such as tomatoes, strawberries, and watermelons, also help. In addition, spices such as turmeric and ginger have antimicrobial action, which helps with colds and flu.
How To Improve Eating Habits?
Changing eating habits may seem like a difficult task, but with some effort, it is possible to learn how to choose foods most conducive to health. It is also important to realize that we must meet our body’s needs by eating quality meals in ideal quantities and adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
See below some of the main aspects that must be observed for a healthy diet.
Avoid Ultra-Processed Foods
Ultra-processed foods, known as industrialized, are manufactured with low or no nutritional value ingredients. They have excess sugar, salt, and chemicals such as preservatives, dyes, emulsifiers, sweeteners, and stabilizers. Some examples of this type of food are:
- biscuits (stuffed or not);
- instant noodles;
- processed cheeses;
- soft drinks;
- sausages, sausages, among other sausages.
Their ingredients can lead to various diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and allergic crises. In addition, according to studies by the Center for Epidemiological Research in Nutrition and Health at USP, carried out between 2009 and 2017, involving over 100,000 people, ultra-processed foods also increase the likelihood of tumor formation.
Consume Organic Food
Unlike industrialized products, organic foods are live foods without chemical changes, such as pesticides and other products used to combat pests in crops that attack the body. In this sense, it is essential to give preference to natural foods.
Watch Out For Excess Salt And Sugar
Excessive salt and sugar can interfere with pleasure directly linked to food satisfaction, leading people to eat more than necessary. Therefore, it is important to be aware of selecting foods with low levels of these ingredients and taking care of these aspects when preparing meals.
As we commented throughout this article, healthy eating is essential to maintain the body and health. In this sense, it is important to start rethinking eating habits, opting for more balanced and natural meals. Also, practice physical exercises, as they help improve energy, mood, and the immune system.
Also Read: Diets: What Is It, And What Types And Benefits Can They Bring?