A healthy diet is one that provides the body with the nutrients necessary for their proper functioning, allowing the individual to have a balanced health and a good quality of life. Start your movement towards a balanced life.
However, it is not enough to eat salads and avoid fats. A healthy diet exists when there is a balanced intake of nutrients and vitamins, considering a correct proportion of consumption of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fibres, among others.
To help you understand more about how to have a healthy and balanced diet, we have prepared this article. In it, you will learn about:
A Balanced Life, Where to Start
A Balanced Life with Healthy eating
Healthy eating is represented graphically through the food pyramid
Have you heard about the food pyramid concept?
The pyramid is a graphic way of guiding people about building an adequate diet for healthy eating.
It is possible to understand the recommended proportions of each food group, ensuring that our body receives the nutrients it needs. Start your movement towards a balanced life.
The base of the Food Pyramid
The secret, however, to achieve a healthy diet is to consume carbohydrates in their full versions, which in addition to energy are great suppliers of fibres, vitamins, and minerals. Because they are not as processed as their white or refined versions (such as white rice, for example), they are healthier for the body, as well as helping with slower absorption – keeping hunger under control.
In the second level of the base, there are vegetables, which offer a good intake of fibre and other nutrients responsible for the functioning of the organism and growth of the body.
If consumed in their raw versions, before meals, helping the bowel function and helping to regulate hunger at the time of the main meal.
This group also includes fruits. However, as fruits contain sugar, it is important that consumption is moderate.
Varying the dishes, consuming different vegetables, fruits and vegetables, is essential to ensure the intake of varied vitamins and minerals. This is because each food has different nutrients, in different proportions. That “the more colourful the dish, the better” story is the most accurate statement you’ve ever heard.
Middle of the Food Pyramid
Meat, eggs and legumes are part of the next level of the pyramid, as sources of protein and responsible for the construction and repair of tissues. Animal proteins, such as red and white meat (poultry and fish ), are also sources of B vitamins and minerals.
In addition to proteins of animal origin, there are plant proteins. Whoever chooses to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet must take care to make the correct changes, ensuring that protein consumption is sufficient.
Some examples are beans (all types), lentils, chickpeas, peas and soy.
Also at this level of the pyramid are cheeses, milk and derivatives. Rich in calcium, protein and vitamins A and D. Avoid, however, the fatter versions, with cheddar cheese. A tip: the more yellow the cheese, the more fat it has.
Anyone who has lactose restriction should pay attention to the consumption of milk and dairy products. The sugar in milk causes allergies or food intolerance in some people, impairing digestion and resulting in malaise.
Top of the Food Pyramid
At the top of the pyramid, that is, what should be consumed less, are fats and sugars.
Butter, mayonnaise, oils, olive oils are examples of foods that should be consumed in moderation. Less than 10% of fats are converted into sugar, i.e. energy, the rest being deposited as fat in the body.
Industrialized products such as cookies, snacks and the like have a much greater amount of fat than recommended.
Therefore, it is correct to say that healthy eating is also a natural diet. And it is with this bias that the Ministry of Health has been working on its orientation campaigns on healthy eating.
What is healthy eating?
Healthy eating is a well-balanced diet that provides nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the proper proportions for the proper functioning of the body.
For a healthy diet, it is important to have variety, balance, quantity control (eating what is right for you) and quality of food. In other words: knowing the origin of the ingredients is one of the ways to achieve a healthy diet.
Industrialized foods contain many additives, preservatives and fats, in addition to ultra-processing foods, causing them to lose much of their nutrients. Start your movement towards a balanced life.
It is not for nothing that the search for a healthy diet and the fight against obesity have brought up discussions in favour of organic foods and the consumption of local foods, according to the season.
What is healthy eating?
The Ministry of Health has prepared a guide for the population, which suggests another way of setting up a healthy diet, different from the food pyramid.
The guide launched in 2014, but still in distribution, consider the regional, cultural, social and biological habits of groups of different ages and lifestyles.
Based on five principles (going beyond nutrient intake, respecting the current moment, considering the food production and distribution system, following all types of knowledge – theoretical and popular – and offering autonomy), the guide presents the 10 steps to healthy eating.
The steps described below were taken in full from the Food Guide for the Brazilian Population, available on the website of the Ministry of Health. Check out:
- Make fresh or minimally processed foods the basis of food
- Use oils, fats, salt and sugar in small amounts when seasoning and cooking food and creating culinary preparations
- Limit consumption of processed foods
- Avoid consumption of ultra-processed foods
- Eat regularly and carefully, in appropriate environments and, whenever possible, with company
- Shopping in places that offer fresh or minimally processed food varieties
- Develop, exercise and share culinary skills
- Plan the use of time to give the food the space it deserves
- Give preference, when away from home, to places that serve freshly made meals
- Be critical of information, guidelines and messages about food in commercial advertisements
The importance of healthy eating
Healthy eating is essential for the proper functioning of our body.
The importance of healthy eating should not be new to you. Imagine that you have a car. For the car to run, it needs gas. But if you add adulterated gasoline, for example, you will have engine problems. Right?
Our body works with the same logic. For it to work, you need your fuels. Proteins, carbohydrates, fibres, minerals, vitamins are some examples.
Each food group has its specific function, and understanding the correct proportion necessary for the proper functioning of the organism is essential. Otherwise, the body breaks down. Diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, gastritis, osteoporosis, migraine, gout, anaemia and many others can originate from an unbalanced diet.
Pay attention to signs of imbalance in your health, and look at your food. Are you fueling your body the way it deserves?
Some benefits of eating healthy are:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Proper bowel function
- Prevention of cardiovascular diseases
- Control of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension
- Cancer prevention
- Combating mental illnesses such as depression
- Improves learning and memory functions
Which foods should be the basis of healthy eating
As mentioned, the foods that should be a priority for healthy eating are fresh or minimally processed foods, such as vegetables, fruits, brown rice, wheat grains, beans of all colours, among others.
This is because processed foods lose much of their nutritional structure, adding virtually nothing to the body. As an example, we can mention preserved foods, cheeses, canned foods, candied fruits, among others.
How to maintain a healthy diet on a daily basis
Keeping a healthy diet in the hustle and bustle of everyday life has a lot to do with discipline. Buying the ingredients from local producers or stores, you trust and producing your meals at home is a way of ensuring the quality of what you eat. Start your movement towards a balanced life.
But, if eating out is a reality for you, then it is essential that you choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and have healthy options, such as brown rice and a good variety of salads and vegetables. And of course, skip dessert and soda.
10 tips for healthy eating
For healthy eating, variety, quality and moderation are needed
Unlike what you can imagine, having a balanced diet is not such a difficult task. You need to follow three basic rules: consume variety, with quality and moderation.
This is possible with discipline and awareness of what is really necessary for your body. See the tips!
# 1 Eat fresh foods
Fresh or minimally processed foods, of vegetable origin, are the basis of a balanced diet. Include on the menu: beans, nuts, tubers, grains, fruits, vegetables.
# 2 Avoid excess salt, sugar, oils and fats
Use salt, sugar, oils and fats in small amounts. Excessive sugar consumption contributes to obesity; the improper use of salt, oils and fats can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
# 3 Avoid ultra-processed foods
The natural manufacturing process for ready-made foods generally includes high amounts of salt, sugar, oils and fats. In addition, they also bring other substances for industrial use and synthesized in the laboratory from sources such as oil and coal, which do not favour a balanced diet. Start your movement towards a balanced life.
So, avoid consuming foods like:
- stuffed cookies
- cake mix
- instant noodles
- powder soup
- seasoning ready
- soft drinks
# 4 Consume functional foods
Functional foods are those that help prevent or reduce the risk of some diseases. Soy and fish, for example, help to reduce bad cholesterol; chestnuts, almonds, walnuts, onions and garlic, support the immune system; cabbage, cabbage and broccoli can protect against some types of cancer.
# 5 Include fibre in your diet
Studies indicate that fibre-rich foods, such as brown rice, help reduce the risk of some types of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Also, they promote satiety and help control body weight.
# 6 Make a weekly menu
Create a weekly plan with the week’s menu. This will help to organise food throughout the days and avoid the consumption of ready-made and ultra-processed foods.
# 7 Make a grocery list
With the weekly plan in hand, choose a day of the week to go to the fair and the supermarket. Make a shopping list to help you not include items in the cart that will not contribute to your health.
# 8 Have a balanced breakfast
Your healthy choices start in the morning with a breakfast consisting of foods such as whole-grain bread, cereals, tapioca, egg, yoghurt, cheese and fruit. In addition to nourishing the body, they will give you the energy you need to start the day in a good mood.
# 9 Eat intermediate meals
Eating every three hours favours the proper functioning of the intestine. Include healthy foods such as fresh fruit, plain yoghurt, nuts and walnuts in between meals.
# 10 Mindfulness when eating
Try to focus while eating your meals. Eating while watching TV or accessing your cell phone can make you consume more than necessary. Also, use that moment to feel the texture and flavour of the food and enjoy each bite.
Healthy eating should prioritize fresh or minimally processed foods
As we have seen, the basis of healthy eating is the proper choice of foods and ingredients. Avoiding ultra-processed foods as much as possible and opting for food in its most natural form, respecting the regions and seasons of production and harvesting, is fundamental.
Look for small producers in your region to buy your food. Make at home, as much as you can, the preparation of your meals. You will notice that, in addition to being healthier, there is nothing more delicious than food that tastes like home.
Value the food you eat, because then you will be valuing your body and your health. “You are what you eat”, have you heard that phrase?
So, review your eating habits to build a healthier and more positive relationship with food. You will gain in disposition, energy, quality of life and, we have no doubt, taste.