Eating a healthy diet that is high in fruit and vegetables, high in fibre, and low in salt and fat (especially saturated fat) can help to:
||Reduce your risk of some cancers|
||Reduce your risk of heart disease|
||Reduce your risk of stroke|
||Reduce your blood pressure|
Health eating is about getting the balance right. No one food can provide all the essential nutrients that the body needs. Therefore, it is important to eat a variety of foods to ensure adequate levels of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. In practice this means having a variety of foods, basing meals on starchy foods and eating at least five protions of fruit and vegetables a day.
All the food we eat can be divided into five groups. They are:
Starchy foods, such as rice, wholewheat pasta and bread, and potatoes.
Fruit and vegetables.
Meat, fish, eggs and beans.
Milk and dairy foods.
Foods containing fat and sugar.
A healthy diet means that you eat the right balance of these groups. The Food Standards Agency have produced the eatwell plate (below) to demonstrate a healthy balance of foods.
Trouble is, achieving that balance can be tricky. Modern life doesn't always make it easy. After a long day it can be tempting to grab the first ready meal on the supermarket shelf, which is OK occasionally. But if you read the nutritional labels on these foods, you'll see that many ready meals contain high levels of fat, sugar and salt, and not much fibre, vitamins and minerals. If you eat ready meals too often, they'll throw your diet out of balance. We all need to eat a variety of foods in the right proportion to provide our bodies with the energy and nutrients required to function well, feel great and stay healthy. Balancing your diet will get easier the more you do it.
Click here for more information on 5 a day, Water, Fats and Salt.
National Public Health Service