Scientifically speaking, healthy eating is a pattern of eating that contributes to body growth, normal development and activity, thus leading to health improvement and diseases prevention.
Compliance with the rules of a healthy diet combined with regular physical activity reduces the risk of chronic diseases and disorders such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
Modern science constantly conducts numerous studies to optimize the diet for the prevention of major chronic diseases.
The first full-scale study that confirmed that a healthy diet can greatly reduce the number of problems with cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, was the project titled North Karelia, which was launched in Finland in 1972.
Over 35 year, mortality from cardiovascular disease has decreased by 7 times in the North Karelia region. This result became the basis for a pan-European Strategy on Health 2020.
The main changes, which led the North Karelia project to such a result:
- Quit smoking
- The change in the diet:
Recommendations for healthy eating
Surely, the ideal composition of the human diet depends on the type of activity, lifestyle and the region of residence, but there are more or less universal tips, developed by health organizations:
- Keep an eye on the caloric value of foods and monitor your weight. So Preventive Medicine recommends the reduction of excess weight if the body mass index is more than 27 kg / m2.
- Limit energy receiving from fat. Saturated fats (animal, solid vegetable fat) – should be up to 1/3 of the fat consumed, the remaining 2/3 of the fat should be unsaturated liquid fat. As for milk and dairy products, the preference should be given to products with reduced fat content.
- Try not to eat foods containing trans-fatty acids.
- Strive to increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts in the daily diet. You should get 50-60% of the total energy from this kind of food.
- About a third of bread, cereals, flour in the diet should be foods fortified with micronutrients.
- Limit intake of simple carbohydrates (sugar, honey, soft drinks) – no more than 30-40 grams per day.
- Limit consumption of salt and consume only iodized salt.
- Try to provide the body with vitamins in physiological amounts, including antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E), folic acid. If your diet doesn’t include enough vitamins from food, you can periodically take multivitamins and extra vitamin D.
- Consult with your doctor on the diet pattern, stick only to the diet recommended by respected health providers.
Support of healthy diet by government
The governments of many developed countries annually allocate funds for the promotion of healthy lifestyles and, in particular, a healthy diet. Means of infographics have become, for example, created according to the national dietary habits, which visually shows the recommended number of different types of products.
Doctors-nutritionists in most countries provide with treatment the following groups of patients:
- overweight and obesity I-III degree;
- with nutrition-related diseases;
- suffering from the syndrome of impaired digestion and absorption;
- with violation of the nutritional status.
To sum up
We all have different attitudes toward food. But, despite this, we have nothing to do with it. We are forced, whether we like it or not, to eat at least a couple of times a day. It is a necessity.
There are several reasons why we should pay special attention to food.
- Firstly, all cells and tissues of the body are formed from the food we eat.
- Secondly, the food is a source of the energy required for the functioning of the body. Plus, if you’re physically active, it’s a must to eat foods that boost your energy levels. Moreover, if you’re lifting weights and want to put on muscles, it’s a must to eat protein foods.
- Thirdly, the food is the main part of the environment with which we interact.
- Finally, the food was created for us to enjoy it, to be an integral part of the joy of life and our feelings allow us to appreciate its quality, taste of a product. The process of eating should be something more than just a biological necessity – it should bring pleasure!
Our body is a collection that is in constant motion of molecules and is composed of elegant wrapping called cells. Tissues are composed of cells, and organs are composed of tissues. Bodies, in turn, create the system.
The gastro-intestinal system is directly involved in the processing of what we eat. It is controlled by the endocrine and central and autonomic nervous systems. And then those essential nutrients are delivered to every cell in the body.
The human body — is a wonderful masterpiece of design and biological engineering, as it represents not only a piece of art, which you can look on and admire; this is a whole symphony of perpetual motion. Cells die, and others replace them. Molecular units inside the living cells are constantly moving. Our body doesn’t stand in the same position like a statue, it is a fountain of ever-changing life.
Most of us know that we constantly regenerate the skin. We also need to cut hair and trim nails regularly. And at the same time, long-lived cells of the skin can live for several years. Other cells live less long.
For example, many, if not most, of the cells that lined the inner walls of the intestinal tract, are replaced by others every few days, and red blood cells are born and die at a speed of one million units per second.
Life is measured by time, and each year thereafter, we look almost the same as in the previous one, except that we become a little older. However, every few years our bodies change so much that we don’t even realize it.
Except for those cells that were trapped in various protective mechanisms, neither one of us has not a single molecule or some chemical substances that were in our body seven years ago. In just seven years, we get an almost complete replacement of the body, and it happens thanks to the food we eat and how our body copes with its digesting.
The food is not only responsible for the construction of our organism but, in combination with oxygen, it becomes the source of all energy the body needs. Mitochondria of each cell in the body has a miniature power station.
Glucose and oxygen using the vitamin B and other auxiliary chemicals produce carbon dioxide, water and energy. This process is called oxidation. Oxygen comes from the air we breathe, and red blood cells transport it to all parts of the body. Glucose comes from the nutrients contained in food, mainly from carbohydrates.
Sensations, memories and all the other complex forms of the functioning of our body present in our body due to the fact that it has enzymes, hormones, genes, chemical communication, neurotransmitters and thousands of other signs that are produced in our body from the foods we eat.
And whether this change will be positive or negative directly depends on the foods we eat. If you smoke, consume alcohol, don’t to any physical activity, eat fatty and fast food, fry your food, don’t drink enough water, don’t expect those changes to be positive.
Moreover, with such a lifestyle you’re at a high risk of developing a chronic disease such as obesity or some cardio-vascular disease. So it’s highly recommended to watch your diet and keep it as clean and healthy as possible.
Because, after all, it’s not until you realize that it’s the food you eat that affects everything in your life (well-being, migraines, skin, nail or hair problems, weight, etc.), that you start eating a healthy diet.
However, it’s recommended to at least start introducing healthy dieting habits into your diet one by one. You don’t have to wait until you develop some kind of disease or problem with health to finally switch to a healthy diet. Just do it gradually, that’s what I recommend.
In particular, you could start consuming 1.5 liters of water per day, and then in one week cut down on red meat intake, one more week later, start eating more fruits and vegetables, the same week you could also cut down on the sugar intake and stop frying foods. Develop your own ‘system’ and stick to it.
Along the way, you’ll surely notice positive changes in the body and how energetic you feel throughout the way. And it keeps getting better every day, that’s the thing about healthy eating! So now that you’ve read the article, go drink a glass of water and keep it 1.5 liters of water per day from now on! Let those positive changes in your body begin.