Health is built at the table, based on the food we eat. Therefore, it is essential to give due importance to a varied and balanced diet characterized by the balanced intake of various nutrients. Eating is considered one of the pleasures of life, but “eating well” does not just mean getting satisfied. Consuming excellent and quality food in a friendly environment, eating a little bit of everything but in adequate quantities is, in fact, just as important.
Food balance is not built on a single meal or day but rather on a weekly continuity. There are no “forbidden” foods as well as “miraculous” foods. Of course, some foods are considered healthier (such as fruit, vegetables, starchy foods, fish) and others less so (such as sugary or too salty foods, red meats, fats of animal origin).
The Benefits Of A Healthy Diet
A correct eating style contributes to building, strengthening, maintaining the body, and providing the daily energy essential for the proper functioning of the organism. Therefore, adequate nutrition is crucial for healthy physical development starting from the prenatal phase, then during childhood, and later in life. Balanced nutrition is, for example, directly linked to good maternal and child health, facilitates children in learning, and helps adults to be more productive.
A balanced diet, combined with an active lifestyle, which includes the daily practice of physical activity, helps maintain adequate body weight, allowing a more balanced growth from a biological point of view and more serene from a psychological point of view. Often, overweight or obese people tend to be marginalized and subjected to real social stigmatization. In particular, children are prone to develop problematic relationships with their bodies and with their peers, consequently isolating themselves even more with an inviting increase in sedentary habits.
Eating healthy helps prevent and treat many chronic diseases such as obesity and overweight, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer. Furthermore, a healthy diet strengthens the immune system by helping to protect the body from certain conditions not directly related to nutrition.
The Risks Of Eating Badly
The type of diet strongly influences cardio and cerebrovascular risk. To reduce atherosclerosis and its consequences, limiting the animal fats in the diet is essential. It is also advisable to reduce the daily use of table salt to rebalance blood pressure values and, therefore, the risk of hypertension and heart failure. Finally, the intake of meat and animal fats must be reduced because there is a direct association between their excessive consumption and cancer risk.
The risk of obesity, in particular, is determined not only by an incorrect diet (which determines an imbalance between caloric intake and energy expenditure in favor of the former) but also by a sedentary lifestyle. Overweight and obesity are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as conditions of abnormal or excessive accumulation of body fat that present a health risk.
Take Care Of Yourself, Eat Healthily
You can eat well in joy, and being aware of what you have on your plate is as important as the way you eat. Taking the time to cook, eat, and share a moment of relaxation are all elements that directly impact our diet. Eating healthy and varied The most effective way to ensure an adequate supply of energy and nutrients is to differ as much as possible and appropriately combine the different foods. The main food groups that must be present in the daily diet to ensure a balanced diet are:
Fruits And Vegetables
Foods free of fat and rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They have a protective role in the prevention of chronic diseases that appear in adulthood. They offer a great variety of flavors, everything you need to combine health and satisfaction. They can be eaten in all ways: fresh, frozen, canned, cooked, or raw. Or in the form of fruit juices or 100% pure juices, smoothies, sauces (preferably without added sugar), and soups. But beware of “false friends,” such as some types of fruit juices or flavored drinks, carbonated ones, or fruit nectars, all products that often contain a lot of sugar and low fiber. A healthy diet includes at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day. By “portion,” we mean the equivalent of approximately 80 grams or, to get a more straightforward idea, the amount of raw fruit or vegetables that can fit in the palm of one hand or half a plate of cooked vegetables. A few examples: a medium-sized tomato, a handful of cherry tomatoes, a handful of green beans, a bowl of soup, one apple, two apricots, 4-5 strawberries, one banana, etc. It is important to remember that seasonal fruit and vegetables are often cheaper and tastier.
Foods Rich In Starch
Such as cereals, bread, pasta, potatoes, polenta, are foods that in a balanced diet must be consumed daily. They have a high energy value but do not contain high amounts of fat. Eating starchy foods is important because they contain complex carbohydrates, which, unlike simple carbohydrates found in sugary foods, provide energy that the body uses gradually. Therefore, you can eat this type of food without fear of gaining weight as long as you use a light and fat-free condiment and avoid simultaneously taking other foods that contain a high percentage of complex carbohydrates in the same meal. Limited use of pasta, bread, and rice should only be considered in the case of being overweight or obesity.
Milk And Derivatives
Their primary function is to provide calcium in a highly absorbable and usable form by the body. This is essential for bone building and maintenance, muscle contraction, blood clotting, etc. It is necessary to use cheeses moderately and prefer fresh ones with low-fat content (such as cow’s milk ricotta). Cheeses should not be eaten at the end of the meal but should be considered a substitute for meat or fish. But beware of “false friends”: even if the cream and butter are milk-based, they should not be considered dairy products, but fats of animal origin whose consumption must be limited.
Fish, Meat, And Eggs
Provide high-quality protein. Meat and fish also provide iron. The fish also has a protective effect due to the type of fats (omega-3), reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is recommended to eat meat, fish or eggs, 1 or 2 times a day. As for fish, it is recommended to eat it (both fresh and frozen) at least two times a week. It is essential to favor lean meats (chicken, turkey, veal, and rabbit) by limiting red and fatty meats (pork, goose, duck). Grilling, grilling, or steaming is preferable, restricting the use of high-fat sauces. It is also healthy to limit the consumption of sausages and prefer lean cured meats, remembering that they have a high salt content.
Their consumption must be contained, giving preference to extra virgin olive oil and vegetable oils in general, limiting the use of fats of animal origin such as butter, lard, lard, and cream, which contain high quantities of saturated fats. Excessive fat consumption increases the risk of being overweight and the development of cardiovascular disease. Remember that oils have a high energy value and that in addition to seasoning fats, those we add during the preparation of a dish, there are other “hidden” fats, both already present in foods and added during their manufacture.
If “healthy eating” reminds you of all the foods you can’t eat, try to reframe the problem by thinking about all the new foods you can try. Start with some exotic fruit, try to create healthier versions of dishes that are not at first (for example, cooking dishes that are generally fried in the oven), add some natural flavorings to words that seem bland to you (for example, a little rosemary in steamed or grilled vegetables).
Remember that you don’t have to give up your favorite foods. Eating healthy is a question of balance. You can eat all dishes, even if they are caloric, fatty, and sugary. The important thing is to eat them once in a while, in smaller quantities, balance them with healthy foods, and with a little more exercise. The essential thing is to build your meals in a balanced way and not too fast. For example, if you overdo it a little on some occasions, you can compensate with lighter meals in the following days. Finally, avoid “do it yourself” diets and ask your doctor for advice on eating better. Remember that today we no longer talk about diets but proper nutrition lines and healthy lifestyles.
The Importance Of Meals
Nutritionists recommend having three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner. To these, you can add a snack, especially recommended for children, the elderly, or when you are hungry. Meals mark our day and give the body reference points that help us better regulate food intake. Hence the importance of not skipping meals: in fact, cutting one of them will make up for the next dinner and eat more to prevent any hunger.
The time it takes to eat the meal is also essential. Our brain needs time to receive signals from the stomach, which allows it to understand that we are eating. It is said that it takes about 20 minutes before we feel we have eaten enough. Therefore, taking the time to take a real break is beneficial for your food balance and a way to include moments of relaxation and greater tranquility. Gathering with family or friends for a meal puts us to appreciate more what we eat. From an early age, the meal is a crucial moment to assimilate healthy eating habits, hygiene rules, and rules of social life.