Foods for health and wellness
A lifetime of healthy eating can prevent all forms of malnutrition and many non-communicable diseases and conditions. However, increased production of processed foods, rapid urbanization, and changing lifestyles have led to changes in eating habits. Consumers now eat diets higher in calories, fat, sugar, or salt/sodium, and many do not consume enough fruits, vegetables, and fiber, such as those provided by whole grains.
The exact criteria for a varied, balanced, and healthy diet vary depending on individual needs (e.g., age, gender, lifestyle, and exercise), cultural background, locally available foods, and eating habits. But the basic principles of a healthy diet remain the same.
Tips for a healthy diet
According to WHO, the following dietary habits are necessary for a healthy and balanced life
Fruits and vegetables
Eating at least 400 grams or five servings of fruits and vegetables per day reduces the risk of non-communicable diseases and provides adequate daily fiber intake.
Some tips for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption:
- Add vegetables to every meal;
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks;
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables in season;
- Diversify the fruits and vegetables you eat.
To avoid excessive weight gain, adults are advised to reduce total fat intake to less than 30% of total energy intake.
The following behaviors limit the risk of developing non-communicable diseases:
- Reduce saturated fat to less than 10% of total energy intake;
- Reduce saturated fat to less than 1% of total energy intake;
- Replace saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats.
To reduce your fat consumption, including industrial trans fats, you should. :
- Steam or boil foods instead of frying them;
- Replace butter, lard and clarified butter with oils rich in polyunsaturated fats, such as soybean, canola, corn, safflower or sunflower oil;
- Consume low-fat dairy products and lean meats or avoid visible fat in meats;
- Limit consumption of baked and fried foods, as well as snack foods and prepackaged foods (e.g., donuts, cakes, pies, cookies, cookies, and waffles) that contain industrially produced trans fats.
For both adults and children, free sugars should not exceed 10% of total energy intake. Less than 5% of total energy intake would increase health benefits.
One of the main reasons why children’s health is at risk is the consumption of free sugars, which increases the risk of dental caries. Excess calories from foods and beverages high in free sugars also contribute to unhealthy weight gain, which can lead to overweight or obesity. Recent evidence also shows that free sugars affect blood pressure and serum lipids, and suggests that reducing free sugar intake reduces cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Sugar consumption can be limited by the following strategies:
- Reduce consumption of sugary foods and beverages, such as sugary snacks, candy, and sweetened beverages (i.e., all types of beverages that contain free sugars, such as sodas, non-carbonated beverages, fruit or vegetable juices, liquid or powdered concentrates, flavored waters, energy and sports drinks, ready-to-drink tea, and coffee),
- Choose fresh fruits and raw vegetables over sugary snacks.
Top 15 best foods for health
This list of the best foods for health includes foods that are good for your heart and bones….. and taste great!
One of the best healthy foods is avocado, which can lower cholesterol. According to researchers, replacing just 5% saturated fat with monounsaturated fat can reduce your risk of heart attack by more than a third. Bonus: Avocados are rich in beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol that blocks the absorption of cholesterol from food. It also contains glutathione, a powerful antioxidant.
The foods you eat every day not only provide you with the energy you need, but are also good for your health: they help prevent cancer and protect you from heart disease.
Anthocyanins are what give blueberries their color and strong antioxidant properties. They play a protective role against heart disease, cancer, blindness and age-related memory loss. Like the beneficial cranberry, blueberries also contain epicatechins, antioxidants that prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall, thus preventing urinary tract infections. Finally, the high fiber content helps satisfy hunger, stabilize blood sugar and prevent constipation.
Recent studies have shown that people who drink at least two cups (about 500 ml) of green tea per day have a 16% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who drink less. This effect was particularly pronounced in women: Deaths were reduced by 12% in men but by 23% in women, so the protective effect was almost twice as high in women. This effect seems to be mainly due to a significant reduction in mortality related to coronary heart disease (25%) and especially stroke (60%).
According to nutritionist Ian Marber, author of Supereating: A revolutionary way to get more from the foods you eat, kiwis are rich in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system, and vitamin E, which increases the number of T cells in the body. Enjoy this sweet, green berry in a smoothie (it pairs well with strawberries and spinach).
Garlic is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. In this sense, it has even been shown in the laboratory to be effective against antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Its main properties are due to its sulfur compounds, which act as antioxidants and have a beneficial effect on the heart. Although it only moderately lowers cholesterol, it thins the blood, reducing the risk of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. People who take six or more pods per week have a 50% lower risk of developing colon, stomach, or prostate cancer than those who take no more than one pod. The sulfur compounds in garlic not only remove carcinogens before they damage DNA, but they also cause cancer cells to self-destruct.
Salmon and other fish (omega-3)
The fat in salmon is great for your arteries. Just two servings a week can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 17% and heart attacks by 27%. In addition, a Swedish study of 6,000 men followed for 30 years found that those who consumed moderate amounts of fatty fish had a one-third lower risk of prostate cancer. Other researchers recently found that individuals with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were half as likely as others to suffer from mild to moderate depression.
The first indication of the benefits of omega-3 comes from studies conducted among the Inuit people of Greenland, who suffer remarkably little heart disease despite a diet consisting entirely of the flesh of marine animals. The animals in their diet, as well as most oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, contain high levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that play an important role in preventing certain types of coronary heart disease. Other high fish consumers, such as the Japanese, who consume nearly one gram of EPA and DHA per day, have a 90% lower coronary heart disease mortality rate than people living in areas with low fish consumption, such as North America. Even in small amounts, these fatty acids have a protective effect: consuming 250 to 500 mg of EPA and DHA per day, equivalent to half a serving (100 g) of salmon, reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease by about 40%. Omega-3 fatty acids act quickly: studies have shown that the positive effects of regular consumption of fatty fish on the heart are visible after just a few weeks. This is especially true for cardiac arrhythmias, which are often responsible for sudden death.
In addition to carotenoids that protect against macular degeneration, spinach is rich in vitamin K, a nutrient that maintains bone density and prevents fractures. It is also a good source of potassium, magnesium and folic acid, all of which help regulate blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke. In addition, folic acid appears to significantly reduce the risk of lung cancer in former smokers.
Mushrooms are edible plants that can provide several important nutrients. The many types of mushrooms have different compositions and nutritional profiles.
From dumplings to truffles, mushrooms can range from an everyday food to an expensive delicacy. You can buy them fresh, canned or dried.
Besides food, mushrooms are also used in some types of traditional medicine.
Mushrooms contain proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The latter can have various health benefits.
For example, antioxidants are chemicals that help the body eliminate free radicals.
Free radicals are toxic byproducts of metabolism and other body processes. They can accumulate in the body, and if there are too many of them, oxidative stress can result. This can damage the body’s cells and lead to a variety of health problems.
Beans Legumes are good for your heart. They are rich in soluble fiber, which absorbs cholesterol so that the body can eliminate it before it accumulates on the artery walls. They can lower total cholesterol levels by 10-15%. The soluble fiber and protein they contain regulate blood sugar levels. As for magnesium, it relaxes the arteries; blood circulates better and blood pressure returns to normal levels. Finally, according to the results of a recent study, they are among the best antioxidants.
Pineapple is not only an excellent source of energy, but also a very good moisturizer. It is also very good for blood circulation and immune system.
Pineapple is undoubtedly a fruit with many health benefits.
Its richness in soft fiber (cellulose) facilitates intestinal transit and helps fight chronic constipation.
The polyphenols found in pineapple, coupled with vitamin C and beta-carotene, have recognized antioxidant properties.
By neutralizing free radicals, these antioxidant substances play a role in preventing certain cancers and various chronic diseases associated with cellular aging.
Finally, the famous bromelain, with its antithrombotic and antiplatelet properties, prevents cardiovascular diseases, especially venous thrombosis, angina pectoris and pulmonary embolism.