Whatever your New Year’s resolution, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy and balanced diet will bring many benefits in 2019 and the following years.
What we eat and drink can affect our body's ability to fight infections, as well as the likelihood that we will have health problems in the future, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and various types of cancer.
The exact ingredients of a healthy diet will depend on various factors such as age and activity, as well as on the types of food available in the communities where we live. But there are some common food tips in different cultures that will help us lead a longer and healthier life.
Eat a variety of foods
Our bodies are incredibly complex, and, with the exception of breast milk for babies, no food contains all the nutrients we need to function in the best possible way. Therefore, our diets must contain a wide variety of fresh and nutritious foods to keep us strong.
A few tips to ensure a balanced diet:
- In your daily diet, try using a mix of staple foods, such as wheat, corn, rice and potatoes, with legumes such as lentils and beans, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and animal products (such as meat, fish, eggs, and milk).
- If possible, choose whole foods such as corn, millet, oats, whole wheat, and brown rice; They are rich in valuable fiber and can help you feel longer.
- Choose lean meat whenever possible, or cut out visible fat.
- Try steaming or boiling instead of frying foods.
- For sandwiches, choose raw vegetables, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit instead of foods high in sugar, fat or salt.
Too much salt can increase blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Most people around the world consume too much salt: on average, we consume twice the WHO recommended limit of 5 grams (equivalent to one teaspoon) per day.
Even if we do not add extra salt to our food, we must remember that it is usually found in processed foods or drinks and often in large quantities.
Some tips to reduce salt intake:
- When cooking and preparing food, use salt sparingly and reduce the use of salty sauces and seasonings (such as soy sauce, broth or fish sauce).
- Avoid high-salt sandwiches and try fresh, healthy snacks instead of processed foods.
- When using canned or dried vegetables, nuts and fruits, choose unsalted varieties and added sugars.
- Remove from the table salt and salty seasonings and try not to add them out of habit; Our taste buds can adapt quickly, and as soon as they do, you will most likely enjoy products with less salt, but with more flavor!
- Check food labels and look for foods with less sodium.
Reduce the use of certain fats and oils
We all need some fat in our diets, but excessive consumption of food, especially the wrong ones, increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and stroke.
Trans-fats produced in industry are the most dangerous to health. It was found that a diet high in this type of fat increases the risk of heart disease by almost 30%.
Some tips for reducing fat intake:
- Replace butter, butter and ghee with more healthy oils, such as soybean, canola, corn, safflower and sunflower.
- Choose white meat, such as chicken and fish, which usually contains less fat than red meat, and limits the consumption of processed meat.
- Check the labels and always avoid all processed, fast and fried foods that contain industrial fats. It is often found in margarine and ghee, as well as in pre-packaged snacks and in fast, baked and fried foods.
Limit sugar intake
Too much sugar is not only harmful to our teeth, but also increases the risk of unhealthy weight gain and obesity, which can lead to chronic and serious health problems.
As is the case with salt, it is important to take note of the amount of “hidden” sugars that can be found in processed foods and beverages. For example, one can of soda can contain up to 10 teaspoons of added sugar!
Some tips for reducing your sugar intake:
- Limit the consumption of sweets and sweet drinks, such as soft drinks, fruit juices and juices, liquid and powdered concentrates, flavored water, energy and sports drinks, ready-to-drink tea and coffee, as well as flavored milk drinks.
- Choose healthy fresh snacks instead of processed foods.
- Avoid giving children sweet food. Salt and sugar should not be added to supplementary products that are given to children under 2 years of age, and should be limited after this age.
Avoid drinking alcohol is dangerous and harmful.
Alcohol is not part of a healthy diet, but in many cultures New Year celebrations are associated with excessive alcohol intake. In general, excessive or too frequent drinking increases the immediate risk of injury, and also leads to long-term consequences, such as liver damage, cancer, heart disease, and mental illness.
WHO reports that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption; and for many people, even low levels of alcohol consumption can be associated with significant health risks.
Remember that lower alcohol intake is always better for your health, and this is great not to drink.
You should not drink alcohol at all if you are pregnant or nursing; driving, operating machinery or performing other actions associated with the risks involved; have health problems that may be aggravated by alcohol; takes medicines that interact directly with alcohol; or they find it difficult to control the drink.
If you think that some of your loved ones may have problems with alcohol or other psychoactive substances, do not be afraid to seek help from a medical professional or a specialized service to combat drugs and alcohol. WHO has also developed a self-help guide that will help people who want to reduce or stop drinking.
Swisslatin / WHO news (12/28/2018)