Sorting out the healthy eating information
There is so much information available about eating a healthy diet. It may come from health professionals, scientists, from the food industry, from the government, from journalists, from doctors, from diet gurus, and the list goes on and on. Some of these sources have a vested (monetary) interest in what we eat--some are simply trying to be informative and helpful.
Every week there is a new “study” that reveals some new aspect of a healthy diet. If you find yourself confused by this barrage of information, you are not alone. Even a person trained in the field of nutrition, can be frustrated by the often conflicting reports.
To help you sort out this information, here is a list of some basic healthy eating guidelines that will help you reach your goal of living long and feeling well. Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines that you can customize to your own situation.
Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Eating
*Eat a variety of fresh, whole foods, including selections from the five food groups—Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Meat and Legumes and Milk.
*Include at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, with an emphasis on vegetables.
*Include a serving of low-fat versions of good quality protein with each meal and snack.
*Eat good carbs such as whole grains most, if not all of the time.
*Choose unsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.
*Include fiber foods with each meal so that you get a total of 25-30 grams of fiber each day.
*Eat a balanced diet with a ratio of 40-30-30 of good carbs, low-fat protein and good quality fats respectively.
*Eat colorful foods for their phytonutrients.
*Choose low-fat versions of dairy products and leaner meats.
*Stay away from empty calories that provide calories but little nutrition and may even have a negative effect on your health.
*Limit your intake of foods with added sugar and salt.
*Limit pre-packaged foods and fast foods, which are generally over-processed, full of preservatives and high in sodium.
*Drink 6-8 glasses of filtered water each day, while avoiding soft drinks and limiting fruit juice.
Dietary Guidelines - Organic foods
Recently, there has be an upsurge of interest in organic foods. These are foods that have been produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, preservatives or other chemical additives.
This definition includes both plant products and products from animals who are raised without the use of hormones, antibiotics and who consume organic feed. In addition, foods that have been genetically modified, irradiated or fertilized with sewer sludge cannot be labeled organic.