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The meaning of a balanced diet

The not-so-good truths

Over the past few decades, our diet has shifted significantly towards heavily processed foods, leading to a dramatic increase in chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, stroke, liver disease, cancer, and dementia. Research indicates that 80% of these diseases are preventable through healthy eating habits

This shows us the profound impact of our food choices.

Ultra-processed foods, such as burgers, fries, fizzy drinks, donuts, and many of the popular breakfast cereals can be particularly harmful. Consuming more than four servings of these foods daily over a 5 year period can increase the risk of premature death by a whopping 62%. The labels on these foods usually has a long list of unrecognisable ingredients and chemicals, making them detrimental to health.

The Good News

Choosing whole foods, like whole wheat bread and full-fat products, is a healthier option.

Whole wheat bread, for example, retains more nutrients and fibre compared to heavily processed white bread. Full-fat products are generally healthier as low-fat alternatives often contain added sugars and chemicals.

Including more plant foods into your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, can significantly boost your health.

This does not mean you need to become vegan or vegetarian, but adding plant foods to your meals can be a game changer for your health.

Tips To Get You Started

  • Frozen vegetables and berries are just as nutritious as fresh ones, making them a convenient option.
  • Making even small changes to your diet can have a big impact. To start, without changing what you are currently eating, see how you can add more plant foods to those meals?
    • Go for whole grain options, and use beans and chickpeas for easy, nutritious additions.
    • Add a handful of spinach, peppers or peas.
    • Add berries and nuts/seeds to your breakfast.
  • Do not buy meat, fish, poultry that is battered or has sauce on it. Try to buy food that’s as close to the original source as possible with little or no additives.
  • Eggs and especially omelettes are quick, nutritious choices that you can add vegetables to. They are filling and adding mushrooms, tomato, onion and cheese it’s tastier and healthier. Always be thinking – “what can I add to make it healthier”?

Finally…

Remember, “you are what you eat,” and making healthier food choices does pay off for overall well-being. And it’s never too late to start!