14 Keys to a Healthy Diet
Developing healthy eating habits isn't
as confusing or as restrictive as many people imagine. The first principle
of a healthy diet is simply to eat a wide variety of foods. This is
important because different foods make different nutritional
Secondly, fruits, vegetables, grains, and
legumes—foods high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and
minerals, low in fat, and free of cholesterol—should make up the bulk of
the calories you consume. The rest should come from low-fat dairy
products, lean meat and poultry, and fish.
You should also try to maintain a balance
between calorie intake and calorie expenditure—that is, don't eat more
food than your body can utilize. Otherwise, you will gain weight. The more
active you are, therefore, the more you can eat and still maintain this
Following these three basic steps doesn't
mean that you have to give up your favorite foods. As long as your overall
diet is low in fat and rich in complex carbohydrates, there is nothing
wrong with an occasional cheeseburger. Just be sure to limit how
frequently you eat such foods, and try to eat small portions of them.
You can also view healthy eating as an
opportunity to expand your range of choices by trying foods—especially
vegetables, grains, or fruits—that you don't normally eat. A healthy
diet doesn't have to mean eating foods that are bland or unappealing.
The following basic guidelines are what you
need to know to construct a healthy diet.
1 Limit your
total fat intake. Fat should supply less than 30% of your total daily
calories. Limit your intake of fat by having a semi-vegetarian diet.
Choose lean meats, light-meat poultry without the skin, fish, and low-fat
dairy products. In addition, cut back on vegetable oils and butter—or
foods made with these—as well as on mayonnaise, salad dressings, and
2 Limit your
intake of saturated fat. This is the kind of fat, found mostly in animal
products, that boosts blood cholesterol levels and has other adverse
health effects. It should supply less than one-third of the calories
derived from fat.
3 Keep your
cholesterol intake below 300 milligrams per day. Cholesterol is found only
in animal products, such as meats, poultry, dairy products, and egg yolks.
4 Eat foods rich
in complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates should contribute at least 55% of
your total daily calories. To help meet this requirement, eat plenty of
fruits and vegetables and six or more servings of grains (preferably whole
grains) or legumes daily. This will help you obtain the 20 to 30 grams of
dietary fiber you need each day, as well as provide important vitamins,
minerals, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals essential to good health).
5 Avoid too much
sugar. Besides contributing to tooth decay, sugar is a source of
"empty" calories, and many foods that are high in sugar are also
high in fat.
6 Make sure to
include green, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables—such as
broccoli, carrots, cantaloupe, and citrus fruits. The antioxidants and
other nutrients in these foods are regarded as increasingly important in
helping protect against developing certain types of cancer and other
diseases. Eat five or more servings a day.
7 Maintain a
moderate protein intake. Protein should make up about 12% of your total
daily calories. Choose low-fat sources.
8 Eat a variety
of foods. Don't try to fill your nutrient requirements by eating the same
foods day in, day out. It is possible that not every essential nutrient
has been identified, and so eating a wide assortment of foods helps to
ensure that you will get all the necessary nutrients. In addition, this
will limit your exposure to any pesticides or toxic substances that may be
present in one particular food.
9 Limit your
sodium intake to no more than 2,400 milligrams per day. This is equivalent
to the amount of sodium in a little more than a teaspoon of salt. Cut back
on your use of salt in cooking and on the table; avoid salty foods; check
food labels for the inclusion of ingredients containing sodium.
10 Maintain an
adequate calcium intake. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth.
Get your calcium from low-fat sources, such as skim milk and low-fat
yogurt. If you can't get the optimal amount from foods, take supplements.
11 Try to get
your vitamins and minerals from foods, not from supplements (with the
exceptions listed below). Supplements cannot substitute for a healthy
diet, which supplies nutrients and other compounds besides vitamins and
minerals. Foods also provide the "synergy" that many nutrients
require to be efficiently used in the body.
taking supplements of the antioxidant vitamins E (200 to 800 IU daily) and
C (250 to 500 milligrams daily). Even if you eat a healthy diet, it's
unlikely you will get these amounts of E and C. Also consider taking a
basic daily multivitamin/mineral supplement, especially if you are a woman
of child-bearing age (who needs extra folic acid, a B vitamin) or over age
60 (because of decreased nutrient absorption by the body).
13 Maintain a
desirable weight. Balance energy (calorie) intake with energy output.
Eating a low-fat diet will help you maintain—or lower—your weight, as
will regular exercise.
14 If you drink
alcohol, do so in moderation. That is one drink a day for women, two a day
for men. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5
ounces of 80-proof spirits. Excess alcohol consumption leads to a variety
of health problems. And alcoholic beverages can add many calories to your
diet without supplying nutrients.
diet - healthy diet for pregnancy
Diet. It is crucial that your body has the necessary chemical elements
eating. A healthy diet is essential for everyone but especially for
those with high levels of fat in their blood heart disease and high
Reading : Health Plus Selection of Nutrition and Health
your Immune System by Jennifer Meek 5.99 The Better Pregnancy Diet
titles by such well-known nutritionists as Richard Passwater and
on healthy diet vitamins and minerals and good eating habits.