Healthy food choices provide your body and your brain the energy that they need to get on with daily activities, the building blocks – components for your skin, muscles, brain and hair, protection from common colds and more serious diseases.
It is not only a question of simply eating, it is a question of eating foods from a healthy and balanced diet every single day.
A healthy diet of healthy food choices is a balanced mix of dietary fiber, good fats, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, with as little salt, simple sugar, saturated and trans-fats as possible:
Dietary fiber can be either soluble or insoluble and both come with amazing health benefits. Fiber moves quickly in your system with sufficient fluid intake and makes you regular.
Fiber has no calories and you need to eat at least 25-30 grams every day from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Check the fiber content of foods you buy at the supermarkets, anything above 4-5% is great.
Eat foods that are low in unhealthy saturated and trans fats, prefer mono and poly unsaturated fats. Buy lean meats- pork, beef, chicken, turkey, remove visible fats from meat before cooking, remove skin from turkey and chicken. Try not to eat duck and goose but you can have fish fatty or lean as it is high in healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
There is no need to add oil to meat when you are cooking; grilling or baking is your best option, frying is the worst. Extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, walnuts and ground flax seeds are healthy sources of fat. Butter and margarine are high in saturated and trans-fatty acids.
Avoid added sugars to avoid extra calories that will make you put on weight easily. Added sugar has many hidden names, so check the ingredients list for fructose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrup, honey as well as simple sugar.
Sugar has no nutritional value, include no vitamins or minerals, they are only empty and addictive calories. Yes, sugar and its substitutes act a bit like addictive drugs in your body.
Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, heart complications and even heart attack and stroke. Watch out for hidden salt in processed foods. Table salt that you use in your cooking or on your food is only one way of increasing your sodium intake.
Use spices, herbs, vinegar, wine, lemon or lime juice, garlic, ginger and chilies in your cooking instead of salt. Choose low or reduced sodium soups, cereals, frozen foods and baked goods. Use very little of high salt soy sauce, olives, pickles, chicken salt or garlic salt.
As the building blocks of your body- bones, skin, hair and muscles, protein is very important for your well-being. Foods high in protein also tend to be high in fats too, so be careful when you buy dairy and meat.
Choose the low or no fat versions of milk – yogurt and lean meat; nuts and legumes are also great sources of protein. Cottage and ricotta cheese are great low fat sources of protein, so are egg whites, skinless chicken and turkey, fish, nuts, seeds, quorn and soy products.