Everyone needs to eat a balanced diet that draws from all five food groups, in order to stay healthy and protect against disease. Not only do you need to know what to eat, but you also need to know how much of each food group should be eaten. Healthy eating can improve your quality of life, through all stages of your life. Working with a dietician can help you to make healthy food choices and address any dietary concerns you may have. Today we are going to explore why healthy eating is important for development.
Why Healthy Eating Is Important: The Dietary Advice You Didn’t Know You Needed
Plenty of Australians need dietary advice because, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, only one in 13 adults eat enough fruit and vegetables, and 94% of children between the ages of 2 and 17 don’t eat enough vegetables. One of our biggest dietary concerns is that we are eating too much food that is high in energy but low in nutrition. We are also consuming far too much salt and sugar in the processed foods that we eat.
Healthy eating acknowledges that there isn’t one single food group that meets all of our nutritional requirements, so we need to eat a balanced diet that contains the right amounts of foods from the five food groups.
The benefits of healthy eating include
- An improved quality of life
- Contributing to a healthy weight and body mass index, reducing the risk of being overweight or obese
- Reducing your risk of chronic diseases like some forms of cancer, heart disease and stroke. Over 7% of Australia’s disease problems stem from an inadequate diet
- Protection against infection
- Lowering your risk of dying a premature death
What Are The Consequences Of A Poor Diet?
A diet that is low in nutritional value can lead to
- Reduced energy levels and fatigue
- Concentration and memory problems
- Mental health problems
- Stress and poor stress management
- Greater likelihood of developing chronic diseases
Eating Healthy Foods Tips: Dietary Support Advice To Improve Your Nutritional Intake
Eat Well From The Five Food Groups
Vegetables and fruits are underrepresented in most people’s nutritional intake. They provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals that are essential for healthy development. Low in kilojoules and high in fibre, they also ensure you feel full and satisfied after eating a meal, as well as provide plenty of healthy snacks for good choices in-between meals. Dried fruit and fruit juices can contain a lot of sugar and aren’t good substitutes for fresh fruit. A good rule is to “Eat the rainbow” which means to eat all the colours of the rainbow in fruit and vegetables daily, to ensure you are getting a broad enough selection of vitamins and minerals.
Lean proteins also play an important role in healthy eating. Fish, eggs, nuts and seeds provide you with the building blocks you need for lean muscle mass and brain fuel. Red meat is high in saturated fat and shouldn’t be eaten too often.
Dairy products should also be included in moderation as they are essential for bone health. Dairy products are high in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D and protein. Many dairy products are available in low-fat varieties.
Whole grains are a dietary staple, as they help you to feel full and also contribute to your recommended daily fibre intake, which is essential for a healthy and functioning digestive system.
Reducing your intake of processed foods and limiting the amount of saturated fat you eat is vital for cardiovascular health and healthy blood pressure.
In addition to developing healthy eating habits from the five food groups, you also need to make sure that you are eating the correct amounts for your age group. This is especially important for children whose bodies and brains are still developing. The older the child, the higher their nutritional intake for each food group will be. View this chart to see what quantities are recommended.
Up to 60% of the human body is water and we all need to drink enough to stay well hydrated and alert. So many beverages contain hidden sugars and sweeteners that might taste good, but which give you empty calories and zero nutritional value.
Balance Energy In vs Energy Out
Maintaining a healthy weight, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure level requires an understanding of your caloric needs.
If you are a sedentary person who does not get much physical activity, you run the risk of gaining weight if you eat too much or if you don’t pay attention to the type of foods you eat.
Why Healthy Eating Is Important For Chronic Health Disease or Medical Conditions?
Working with a dietician to get the right dietary advice is essential when you have a chronic health condition.
People who have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease can manage their condition well with healthy eating. Working with a professional can help you to manage dietary concerns specific to your condition. Professional input can also address dietary concerns related to food allergies and sensitivities.
If you have dietary concerns, need specific dietary advice or would like to know more about why healthy eating is important, please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9159 6903.