Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, which contain fiber, vitamins, and other valuable nutrients, can help lower the risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain type of cancer. The right eating habits will do more than help you and your family stay healthy, they will in fact, improve your health. But health is only one of the reasons why we should make informed choices when it comes to food. Eating is also one of life's pleasures. There is no reason not to enjoy all kinds of foods, just do not overeat it. The key to healthy eating is balance. Eating a balanced diet means eating a variety of foods that supply the calories and nutrients you need without excess fat, salt, sugar, and alcohol.
Everyday we need more than 50 nutrients from food, including those that supply calories (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) and those that help with various body functions (vitamins, minerals, and water). Despite claims to the contrary, there are no known advantages to consuming large quantities of a specific nutrients or food. Each day, we should eat a variety of foods from each food group to get the nutrients we need.
The Food groups of the Food Pyramid
Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta = this group will give us carbohydrates for energy, as well as B vitamins and iron. Use whole grains, 100 percent whole wheat bread, barley, oats, quinoa, and brown rice to give your meals a boost of fiber. Go easy on the fat and sugars you add on spreads, seasonings, or toppings. A sweet tooth is not a valid excuse to feast on high sugar and high fat goodies, such as cookies and cake.
Fruits and Vegetables = this group provides fiber and vitamins A, C, and E. Choose deeply colored vegetables and fruits like spinach, carrots, peaches, berries, plums, raisins, eggplants, cantaloupes, tomatoes and oranges, watermelons, peppers, to get the most nutrients. Eat at least five servings from a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Limit fruit juices, they are low in fiber and high in calories. A diet rich in fruits and and vegetables is known to lower the risk for heart disease and stroke, and mat protect against certain forms of cancer.
Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese = Dairy products are great sources of calcium and also provide protein, vitamin A and phosphorus. Fortified milk has vitamin D added to it. Choose non fat or low fat products, such as skim milk, to get nutrients without adding a lit of fat and calories.
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs and Nuts = this food group provide high quality protein, which contains all the essential amino acids for building body proteins. They are necessary for growth and development of children, and for maintaining body tissues in adults. B complex, iron and zinc. Choose lean cuts of meat. When preparing meat, trim the fat, remove skin from poultry, and drain grease used in cooking.
Fat, Oils, and Sweets = Fat is a essential nutrient, but many foods in this group, including ice cream, butter, gravy, and salad dressing, provide a lot of calories and only little vitamins and minerals. However, they add flavor and variety to our diets. Limit the amount of foods you consume on this group. Spread a smaller amount of butter, margarine, or jelly on bread, use less fat and oil in cooking, when you cook, cut down some of the fats and sugars by reducing the amounts of fat intake at less than 30 percent of your total calories.