Spiralyne Blog

Healthy Eating

What is a healthy diet and lifestyle?
Most experts agree that eating a healthy balanced diet, with the nutrientsyour body requires and sufficient exercise can improve and maintain your health. The Foods Standards Agency and the Department of Health have eight recommendations for a healthy lifestyle. They are to:
1. Base your meals on starchy foods,
2. eat lots of fruit and vegetables,
3. eat more fish,
4. cut down on saturated fat and sugar,
5. try to eat less salt – no more than 6g a day,
6. get active and try to be a healthy weight,
7. drink plenty of water and,
8. don’t skip breakfast.

In the UK, recommendations for physical activity vary. They include: At least 60 minutes moderate intensity exercise every day for children. At least 30 minutes moderate intensity activity on five or more days a week for the adult population.Between 45 and 60 minutes moderate intensity physical activity each day to prevent obesity. Unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity are major factors for chronic diseases as they can lead to overweight and obesity.

It is very important that you have sufficient rest. Many people do not have enough rest. A lack of rest can lead to health problems. Furthermore, having enough rest can help you perform better.

What is a balanced diet?
A balanced diet is important to maintain health and a good body weight. You should eat a variety of foods that will provide all the essential nutrients that the body needs to be healthy and function efficiently. The required nutritional intake of a person varies and depends on the balance of food that is eaten and what food is eaten, as well as on the needs of the individual. A diet which has a good variety of different foods is more likely to provide all the essential nutrients your body should need.

What are the essential nutrients?
The human body needs energy to perform at its optimum, so it is important to strike the right balance between the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats intake. An excessive intake of fat can lead to being overweight and potential serious health problems. An excess in sugars can lead to dental problems. An insufficient intake of proteins can lead to problems of growth and body repair.
It is important to eat a variety of foods including fruits & vegetables to ensure your body has sufficient minerals and vitamins and other nutrients to perform at its optimum.

How can I check if my diet is balanced?
Most foods can be part of a healthy diet – you just have to strike the right balance and have the right variety of foods. The ‘Eatwell plate’ is a food guide produced by the Food Standards Agency to help people better understand and enjoy healthy eating. In addition, the Government has issued eight tips for good health:
1. Base your meals on starchy foods,
2. eat lots of fruit and vegetables,
3. eat more fish,
4. cut down on saturated fat and sugar,
5. try to eat less salt – no more than 6g a day,
6. get active and try to be a healthy weight,
7. drink plenty of water and,
8. don’t skip breakfast.

The ‘Eatwell plate’ below from the Food Standards Agency illustrates a balanced diet:

© Crown copyright. Source: The Food Standards Agency.
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and Queen’s Printer for Scotland. We do not claim to be endorsed by any Government or Public Sector Organisation. This material is displayed for guidance and illustrative purposes only.

The ‘Eatwell plate’ is divided into five food groups: bread, cereals and potatoes, fruit and vegetables, milk and dairy foods, meat, fish and alternatives, and foods containing fat and foods containing sugar. It recommends the proportion and types of foods needed to make up a healthy diet. Foods from the larger groups should be eaten most often in the greater amounts and foods from the smaller group should be eaten least often and in the smaller amounts.

The key message is the importance of striking a good balance and having a variety of foods in your diet to achieve and maintain good health.

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