Healthy eating is considered by some to be the single most important factor for living a long and disease-free life. Truth is, many diseases can be prevented by eating healthy and balanced meals and by taking care of the weight. Not only that, for many people healthy eating is the best way to stay fit and to prevent obesity.
For those who grew up on fast food, too much sugar, salt and saturated fats, healthy eating may seem not only difficult but also tiring and frustrating, but the fact is that it is not such a difficult goal to achieve. That, of course, is only partially true because it only takes a little effort to start changing habits and adopting new ones. After that, the process can even be fun.
What to eat?
There are certain food items, ingredients and compounds found in food that are absolutely essential for good health. Vitamins and minerals make a large portion of them. Unsaturated fats, often called “good fats” also have to be present in the diet. Protein is also necessary, as long it is not coming from greasy meats.
Ideally, everyone should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. That should be combined with sources of carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread and similar. Carbohydrates are best if coming from wholegrain sources, which today can be found in any drugstore and supermarket. Fiber-rich foods are also very important.
Fish should be on the menu at least twice a week. Among other things, fish is rich on omega-3 fatty acids, essential for healthy heart and blood vessels.
Deep-fried foods, chips, bacon, butter, lard, sausages, cream, as well as sugary foods like candy, cake, ice cream and such, should be reduced. It is okay to have something sweet every now and then, as long as it is not every day and in large amounts. Sugar is also found in sodas, milk shake, certain types of coffee, so those should be reduced as well.
Most people eat too much salt, which is not healthy. Most foods contain some salt so the meals should be salted only lightly. Also, packaged food and fast food contain a lot of hidden salts, which is yet another reason to avoid them.
Foods should be divided into smaller meals, which are much easier to digest and provide more stable energy source. The last meal of the day should be eaten at least two hours before bedtime.
The importance of breakfast cannot be stressed enough. A healthy breakfast based on fruit and wholegrain cereals is a great way to start a day, get enough energy, and, according to some, even lose some unwanted weight.
Drinking plenty of water, six to eight glasses per day, is also highly recommended. Water promotes waste elimination from the body, prevents dehydration, improves the complexion, aids the digestion and suppresses the appetite.