Balance is crucial to healthy eating, and understanding how to choose a healthy combination of foods is the first step towards improving your eating habits and lifestyle.
Fruit and Vegetables for Body Balance
Make a habit of eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables: these are rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Nutritionists recommend that every day you should aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables.
Vital Vitamins for Healthy Balance
Vitamins such as A, C and E are antioxidants which protect body cells from damage. If the body is under stress, vitamin C is used more quickly. Smoking is a form of stress for the body, and smokers should be particularly careful to make sure that they eat fruit and vegetables containing vitamin C.
A wide variety of minerals is vital for good, health and body balance. Some, such as calcium and iron, are needed in quite large amounts, and for some people there is a real risk of deficiency if they do not eat a healthy diet.
Fats – Good and Bad
Eggs, butter, milk and meat are a good source of energy, but we tend to eat too much fat which is why many of us are overweight: fat produces fat. Cut down on fat in your diet but do not cut it out completely: eat less fatty red meat and more fish and poultry; grill, bake or stir-fly; eat eggs in moderation; and use semi-skimmed or skimmed milk instead or full-fat milk.
The seeds of cereal grasses, grains are packed with concentrated goodness and are an important source of complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. Grains are inexpensive and versatile. Eat plenty of wholegrain foods such as brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholemeal flour and wholemeal pasta; they should form the bulk of a healthy balance.
It is generally a good idea to eat less salt as too much may lead to high blood pressure. There are some good low-sodium salts available, so use these instead if you do need to season food with salt. Do not buy salted butter, avoid processed and smoked cheeses, add just a little salt to cooking water, and avoid processed foods.
Seeds, Pulses and Nuts
Pulses are economical, easy to cook and good to eat. Low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, they are a valuable source of protein and good for diabetics, as they help to control sugar levels. Nuts are good source of B complex vitamins and vitamin E, an antioxidant that has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. They are a useful source of protein but are high in calories, so don’t eat too many of them.