Beginning a truly healthy diet seems daunting, especially when we all love to eat. More often than not we crave for foods high in sugar, salt, and even fatty foods. We imagine eating healthy means putting a restriction on various foods we love the most. They say that if you are starting a healthy diet, you should avoid fat, sugar, and oil. Most of the advice you would hear about eating healthy is to eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals. So, avoiding the foods you love and only eating foods comes from plants. No worries! We will discuss if sugar, oil and fatty foods that can still be part of your healthy diet.
Importance of a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is eating a balanced diet to maintain well-being. Does it mean you have to restrict yourselves from the food you love the most? Researchers say that keeping a healthy diet will help you fight all the factors that cause diseases. Many studies suggest that a well-balanced diet along with vigorous exercise and a healthy lifestyle are the key to all aspects of well-being. The foundations of good health always involve a balanced diet. The first step is to eat foods mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Imagine your body is like a car and you have to fill your tank with fuel to keep the engine running smoothly. Your body is the same, and it will function properly if you fill it with nutritious foods. You can’t drive your car if the tank is empty right? Like your health, how does your body maintain it’s function if its running on empty? That is why nutritious foods are essential for better performance. By eating a healthy diet, you will fuel not only your body but also your brain. And if you are a car owner, would you fill your car with bad fuel?
According to various studies filling your body with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes are essential to decreasing your risk of developing serious illnesses. Diet is just one healthy approach to maintain your healthy weight. Most studies say obesity will put you at higher risk in developing chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease. A diet that contains fruits and vegetables are highly recommended due to its health benefits. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin A and C, minerals, electrolytes. They are also a better source of dietary fibers.
Can Sugar, Oil, and Fats Be Part of Your Diet?
You’ve heard it a lot that diets that contain sugar, fat, oil and salt, should be avoided because they are bad for your health. Even in the 1960’s, they said that “fat is bad.” Not necessarily bad because not all fats are bad for health. In fact, you can have fats such as saturated and trans fats but make sure you maintain low intake. You can have dietary fats instead of trans fat. Fats like essential fatty acids and cholesterol are important because they store energy and protect the organs of the body. Fatty foods don’t need to be avoided. Red meats are a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids. Along with olive oil and canola oil.
Sugars are the essential source of energy that our body needs throughout the day. In fact, your body has its own sugar called glucose. Our body needs sugar. You don’t need to avoid sugar, you can have sugar, but there should be a limitation to your sugar intake. Meaning to say, you can have sugar from fruits and vegetables, and raw sugar is better than free sugar. Of course, it is true that we need sugar as a sweetener, but there are many sources of sugars like honey and corn syrup. Nowadays, there are calorie-free sweeteners that you can use, and they are much better than free sugar. The products that contain high sugar are soft drinks and energy drinks, and they also contain high-calories that can prevent weight loss and contribute to weight gain.
We often use oil as part of cooking but do we need to eliminate oils in our diet? There are many types of oils. Coconut oil and olive oil are beneficial to reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Foods that contain high fat can cause weight gain. You can get oil from fats such as saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. The saturated fats mostly found in meat and dairy products. These type of fats can increase the LDL blood cholesterol level which leads to cardiovascular diseases. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can reduce the blood cholesterol level. Therefore, it is better to have olive oil instead of butter.
The body contains sodium as well. They are mostly found in blood and fluids in the cell. Sodium can help the body to maintain a healthy balance. Adding a pinch of salt in your diet can help your body stay hydrated, and balance the electrolytes in the body. However, too much salt is dangerous to your health because it can cause high blood pressure. Too much salt can also put you at higher risk in developing kidney, heart and liver problems.
You Don’t Necessarily Avoid It!
Fruits and vegetables
The World Health Organization advises that you need to eat 400g or at least five portions a day. Including vegetables in every meal is essential. Fruits can be eaten as snacks.
Fat doesn’t need to be entirely eradicated, you just need to reduce the amount of total intake and not more than 30% of the overall energy intake. Following the recommended intake can help you prevent gaining weight. You can also have unsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats.
It is hard to avoid sugars especially if they’re part of your cravings. You only need to reduce free sugars intake to not more than 10% of your total energy intake. Lessen sugar intake to less than 5%. That amount is associated with various health benefits. It is advisable to eat fresh fruits and vegetables instead of flavored drinks.
Salt, Sodium, and Potassium
Sodium intake can be obtained through salt. Lessen your salt intake to no more than 5g per day. It helps to prevent diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke and some problems in your organs. Therefore, it is important to limit the amount of salt in cooking and avoid salty snacks.
One example of guidelines through a healthy diet for people 50 years older are as follows:
- Fruits: you need 1½ to 2½ cups or servings per day.
- In terms of vegetables, your body needs 2 to 3½ cups per day, grains you need to have at least 5 to 10 ounces per day.
- For protein-rich foods, you can have at least 5 to 7 ounces.
- Dairy foods intake should be a limit of at least 3 cups of low-fat to free-fat milk. You can also have oils on your diet as long as its less than eight teaspoons.
The Key to a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet may be hard if we don’t have control over our cravings. Having a healthy diet does not mean that you have to monitor the servings of the foods you eat. You can use that as a guide and you can start by checking the servings and portions in your diet.
Maintaining a healthy diet is not always about the foods you eat but its all about a healthy lifestyle. The healthy lifestyle includes physical activity and avoiding vices like cigarettes and excessive alcohol consumption.
Here are some tips to start a healthy diet:
- Eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products.
- Eat lean meats including fish, poultry meats, and low-fat dairy.
- Drink plenty of water not less than eight glasses a day.
- Limit foods high in sugar, salt, and saturated fats.
When it comes to eating healthy, sometimes you don’t know where to start. Following some simple guidelines can make it easier. Eating a balanced diet is not just about losing weight, it is about healthy well-being. Having a healthy diet does not mean you have to avoid sugar, oil, and fats.
The recommendations mentioned above is not for everyone, you can consult a physician to talk about your healthy diet.