Having a healthy diet allows our bodies to remain healthy and protected. A healthy diet means that we consume all the nutrients that are essential for our body. Those who have decided to take care of what they eat can enjoy good health and a better quality of life. Are you also from this group of people? Keep in mind that if your diet is not healthy, you will be more prone to diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, anemia, among many others, so the decision to improve your quality of life depends only on you. Therefore, if you want to know what healthy eating is and how it benefits our health, pay attention to this note.
Let’s get started: what is healthy eating?
A healthy diet provides all the essential nutrients and energy that each person needs to stay healthy. And what are these essential nutrients? Well, they are proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals and water. According to the Dietary Guidelines, healthy eating begins with:
Choose natural foods as the basis of your diet. Avoid processed and ultra-processed foods to prevent illness. Practice a healthy lifestyle.
According to the MINSA, a balanced diet means that it is varied; that is, it can contain cereals, tubers and beans, as well as vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat, eggs, fats, and sugars.
What Is Healthy And Nutritious Eating
How to have a healthy diet?
If you want to start enjoying the benefits of eating healthy, here are some tips to help you achieve it:
Eat different types of food each day.
It is preferable to consume various foods every day because our body needs various nutrients and energy that a single food cannot cover.
Always eat fruits, vegetables and legumes.
Not only are they rich in vitamins and minerals that will protect your health, but they also contain dietary fibre, which is necessary to lower your absorption of sugar and reduce cholesterol in your blood. Plus, they aid digestion and are low in calories! Ideally, you should consume two servings of vegetables and 3 of fruit a day or 400 gr between fruits and vegetables daily as recommended by MINSA in its Food Guide for the Peruvian Population.
Always eat fruits, vegetables and legumes.
Do not abuse the consumption of animal fats.
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Animal fats, except for those which come from fish, increases the risk of obesity or suffering from heart disease. Therefore, instead prefer fats of vegetable origin (sunflower, olive, soy, corn), they should be part of your daily diet. Remember, fatty foods may taste good, but they provide more calories than other foods, so you should not eat them in excess.
It is recommended to consume adequate amounts of animal fats, some except for milk fat, which can cause heart disease.
Are we what we eat, or are we because we eat? In the era of à la carte nutrition, implausible diets, false diet gurus and miracle-a-go-go food preparations, we are back on track with the most basic: the necessary nutrients. Is it normal to add protein to the morning shake? What vitamins are we gulping down when we take a supplement? Do we know what we need?
Point number one, nutrients are not called that on a whim or because of the food industry’s marketing. “They are the useful part of the food for our body and are necessary for life,” explains the doctor specializing in endocrinology and nutrition and member of Communication of the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition, Francisco Botella. Nutrients are essential for growth, reproduction and good health and include everything from water to macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates and fats – and micronutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Ensuring the intake of macronutrients is simple, probably because we see them with the naked eye on the plate: a plate of pasta to win all the races, a beefsteak, a glass of milk … But what about micronutrients, the imperceptible vitamins and minerals necessary for life? “A simple and effective way to ensure a sufficient intake of micronutrients is to vary our diet as much as we can. We are fortunate that micronutrients are widely distributed within food families, so if we eat enough of them and we vary our choice, we will reach the needs of micro and macronutrients easily “, points out the academic of the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Javier Marhuenda. However, and in order not to fail in the diet planning, it never hurts to review this vital part of the essence of our survival with the experts.
Proteins, cement and bricks for the body
They are large and complex molecules, they are made up of chains of amino acids, and they fulfill several critical functions in our body. Proteins provide structure and support to cells, exert defensive (antibodies), enzymatic, regulatory (many hormones are protein in nature) and transport (for example, they carry oxygen) functions.
There is a minimum of these molecules necessary for life. Some of the amino acids that form them are called essential because we need them for our survival. We do not produce them naturally, so we have to incorporate them into our diet. These essential amino acids are found in fish (especially in blue), meat (both red and white), eggs and dairy indicating Marhuenda.
What happens then with restrictive diets such as vegan, where there is no consumption of products of animal origin? “Proteins of plant origin are of lower biological value, which means that their proportion (not quantity) of essential amino acids is lower. People who follow a vegan diet should go to protein supplementation,” says endocrinologist Francisco Botella. The doctor illustrates this important nutritional point of veganism with an example: “Wheat flour lacks lysine and legumes methionine. If we combine them, what is lacking in one food is provided by the other, and together they manage to cover those needs. A vegan person who properly combines plant sources of protein may well have all the essential amino acids. “