Whilst many people eat for taste gratification alone, many more are becoming aware of the nutritional benefits of food and also the impact on our health. For those of us just getting to grips with eating for nutrition and health this article will explain the main types of healthy food groups.
Grains appear in many foods such as bread, cereals and pasta and are a rich source of complex carbohydrates – the energy food for your body. Grains are also a source of Vitamin B and Iron as well as containing fiber, all of which are important for your health. As a rough guide you should try to eat around 6 ounces of grains per day. This can be obtained from 3 ounces of whole grained cereals, breads, rice, crackers or pasta.
The key to obtaining health benefits from vegetables is to eat a wide variety. Vegetables are a great health food as they contain a number of antioxidants that are proven to help the body resist certain form of cancer. Try to increase the amount of dark colored vegetables you eat, such as broccoli and tomatoes as these usually provide the best health benefits. Tomatoes for example contain lycopene which can help to protect your eyes from sight problems. As well as this, vegetables are a good source of fiber, which helps to keep your digestive system in top form.
Fruits are also an important food for health and provide benefits similar to vegetables – antioxidants and fiber for example as well as vitamins and minerals. Once again the best way to maximize the health benefits is to eat a wide variety of fruit. Although it is normal to believe that fresh fruit is the best, the same health benefits can be obtained from tinned fruit, frozen fruit and even dried fruit.
I have to admit I was reluctant to include milk in this article. It’s true that milk does contain good levels of calcium, but there are also fats in milk that lead to increased levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. This therefore negates any benefits from calcium by increasing your risk of heart disease. A far better way to get calcium is with soy milk. This is usually fortified with calcium and often has other vitamins added.
Meat and Beans
The main nutritional benefit of meat and beans is protein. As a rough guide you need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight, so for example a man weighing 70 kilograms would need 56 grams of protein daily. Care should be taken in the methods used to cook meat. Baking, grilling or broiling are best as they don’t need additional fats in the cooking. You should also try to limit the amount of meat you eat especially red meat as frequent consumption is linked to a number of serious health conditions. Try to get more protein from fish, nuts, peas and beans.
These are the five basic foods that you should be learning about and making a central part of your diet. Starting a healthy eating diet along with moderate amounts of exercise can have an amazing affect on your lifestyle and wellbeing as well as your life expectancy. So make a decision to educate yourself about healthy eating choices and start enjoying the benefits of a healthy eating lifestyle.