Developing healthy eating habits isn’t as overwhelming as you may imagine. The essential steps to building a healthy diet, stems from eating fresh whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as peas, beans and lentils. Meat, dairy, eggs, poultry and fish should also be included in a healthy diet. Limiting the highly processed foods is highly recommended.
The following are the keys to a healthy diet:
- Eat a wide variety of whole foods. Eating this way ensures that you get all of the disease fighting benefits that whole foods have to offer.
- Keep a watchful eye on portions. Of course you can eat all the broccoli and other green veges you want, however, pay attention to the amount of the highly processed, high sugar, high fat foods.
- Consume plenty of fresh, whole foods. Aim for 5 servings or more of vegetables, especially the green vegetables (around 2 ½ cups) and 2-3 servings of fruit per day, include berries. Include a rainbow of colours in your servings. These foods have nutrients and antioxidants that help protect against certain types of cancers and other diseases.
- Increase your whole grain intake. This includes whole wheat, barley, brown rice and oats. Whole grains retain the nutrients as the bran and germ is still preseved. Always check the labels, If it doesn’t say 100% whole wheat or whole grain, it may be refined or enriched.
- Enjoy more fish and nuts. These foods supply you with healthy unsaturated fats.
- Turn away from trans fats. Trans fats are partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and are used in many processed foods. Trans fats increase your risk of heart disease as they can raise the LDL cholesterol as well as reduce HDL cholesterol.
- Maintain good cholesterol levels by eating a healthy diet. Research suggests that the cholesterol found in foods has little effect on cholesterol blood levels. Therefore, experts no longer recommend limiting dietary cholesterol (found only in animal foods notably eggs and shrimp.) Instead, the best way to lower or to maintain a healthy blood cholesterol level is to steer away from trans fats and to reduce their intake of saturated fats.