In order to lead a healthy lifestyle, it is crucial for us to eat right. When it comes to a healthy meal, the key to getting it right is all about balance. In other words, we should be consuming a large variety of foods with the right proportions for each meal as different foods provide different types of key nutrients that are required for your body.
According to science, if we were to consume unhealthy meals consistently, it may lead to higher rates of mental disorders like depression, stress, bipolar disorder or anxiety and or worst – it may also cause an increased risk of suicide, especially when it comes to young people.
That said, we would like to help you to get a better understanding of how you can get the most out of your daily meals.
- More than half of your plate must at least consist of fruits and vegetables. This is because fruits and veggies are the vital sources of vitamins and minerals and they can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, lower risk of eye and digestive problems and have a positive effect on blood sugar. Please note that potatoes don’t fall under the vegetable category, so try to avoid potato based dishes as much as possible as they can potentially affect your blood sugar level negatively.
- Whole grains are also important parts of your diet and it should make up one-quarter (20%) of your meal. Choose whole grains or wholemeal varieties such as brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole wheat bread, wheat berries and quinoa instead of refined grains, which includes white rice and white bread. These grains are important sources of many nutrients that help to reduce constipation and the risk of heart diseases.
- Another 20% of your meal on your plate should be made up of healthy protein. Fish is an important source of protein for it is rich in vitamins and minerals. Another great source of protein are eggs, beans or nuts (great for snacks). Opt for these instead of red meat, cheese, and processed meats, which you might want to avoid as much as you can because according to Mary Ellen Phipps, a wellness dietitian at MD Anderson, cancer-causing substances are formed when processed meats are preserved and can increase your chances of colorectal cancer.
- To cook your meals, you are encouraged to use healthy oils such as olive, canola and sunflower oil. These oils are also great to be used as part of a salad dressing. You may want to be careful, though, just because some oils are labelled as ‘low-fat’, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy. Some of them might contain trans fats, which would put your body at risk for damaging the inner lining of the blood vessels known as the endothelium, and also increase in excess inflammation which could lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, arthritis and so much more. So, to avoid trans fats, be sure to read the labels of the product before buying them.
- Lastly, you should never forget to accompany your meals with plenty of hydration. On a daily basis, you are advised to drink eight 8-ounces glasses of water (which is equivalent to 2 liters). You may not know this but, drinking water comes with a whole lot of benefits!
If you happen to be a lover of coffee or tea, be sure to opt out or add just a bit of sugar to your beverage. Too much consumption of sugar often leads to some serious effects such as increasing your uric acid (a high-risk factor for heart and kidney disease), overloading and damaging your liver and also causes metabolic dysfunction. So, it’s also best to steer clear of sugary drinks such as soda. When it comes to beverages, we highly recommend you to stick to water instead!