Eating healthy is important to keep fit and improve our immune system as well as decrease risk of developing debilitating illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension.
Eating healthy does not necessarily mean restricting the food you take, it involves a great deal of moderation.
There are 6 classes of food namely; carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber. We need a balance of these to sustain a healthy living.
Functions of the different classes of food
This is one of the body’s main source of energy. Carbohydrates can either be unrefined or refined. The unrefined carbs (complex sugars) are more beneficial to the body.
They digest slowly thus leading to a gradual rise in blood sugar unlike the refined carbs. They are high in fiber which helps in weight loss and prevents diseases.
Examples of such unrefined carbs include bran cereal, brown rice, wheat bread, spinach, fruits like apple, bananas, citrus fruits.
Refined carbs (simple sugars), on the other hand, are low in fiber because they have undergone refinement. They are digested quickly thus leading to a high level of sugar in the blood. The excess are converted to fats which are mostly stored around the belly. They can predispose to diseases like diabetes, increased blood cholesterol. Examples of such foods are white bread, white rice, pizza, junk foods. This does not mean you cannot take them, but there has to be a balance as too much of refined carbs is more deleterious to the body.
These are the bodybuilders. They are involved in production of cells that make up the human body. They also help to improve our mood, boost the immune system and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Foods high in protein include; fish, poultry foods, eggs(albumen), milk, beans.
Not all fats are bad. Fats can be converted to energy in times of starvation. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good fats whereas saturated fats and trans fats are bad fats.
The bad fats are notorious for making the blood vessels thick and consequently narrowing them leading to reduced blood flow to essential organs of the body.
Therefore, limit your fat intake.
Examples of good fat are olive, canola, peanut oils, avocados, nuts, soya beans, fish.
Examples of bad fat are pastries, fried foods, red meat, chicken skin, palm oil. Again, these things should be taken in moderation.
4) Vitamins and Minerals
These are essential micronutrients which help to build our body cells including blood cells and the immune system. Foods rich in these micronutrients include vegetables, fruits, salads.
N.B- do not overcook your vegetables as the heat destroys the nutrients.
they are low in calories and reduce the risk of developing illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and stroke. They also aid in bowel movements thus preventing constipation. Foods rich in dietary fiber include grains, vegetables, fruits
6 Tips to improve your diet
- Drink lots of water- our daily requirement is about 3 liters per day for the average adult. Water keeps our skin rejuvenated, helps to flush out toxins from our system and keeps us hydrated
- Reduce salt intake- high salt intake is known to predispose to hypertension.
- Cook more meals at home rather than buying them. By this you?re able to measure the contents of the food in appropriate quantities.
- Read the labels of what you buy so you know the nutrients in the food and their quantities
- Quit smoking and drink alcohol in moderation (if you take alcohol)
- Do not over eat. Control the portion of food you eat at once.