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Food for thought: 7 tips on keeping a healthy diet

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The World Health Organization recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a day for adults, and one hour a day for children.
If you cannot leave the house, find an exercise video online, dance to music, do some yoga, or walk up and down the stairs.


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Food for thought: 7 tips on keeping a healthy diet

Food for thought: 7 tips on keeping a healthy diet


Key Ideas

Stay Hydrated


  • Keep in mind that the usual recommendation is eight glasses per day of fluid.
  • Set regular reminders to ensure we are hydrating our bodies.
  • You can add slices of cucumber, lemon or orange to the glass of water, for extra flavor.
Don't drink sweetened beverages such as soft drinks and soda because of high sugar content.

    GO Foods

    GO foods give us the energy to be active, work, and fight diseases.
    From this category: rice, pasta, bread, and root crops. They release energy more slowly, fuelling you for longer and helping to maintain your weight.

    GROW Foods

    Grow foods help our body with physical growth and help the body rebuild after diseases and infections.
    From this category: meat, fish, eggs, milk and other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. They are often required in small amounts but are essential to be consumed daily.

    GLOW Foods

    • Green fruits and vegetables: broccoli, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, green apples, kiwi, green grapes, lime, avocado etc.
    • Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables: carrots, pumpkin, sweet corn, sweet potato, peaches, mangoes, papaya, pears, pineapple etc.
    • Red fruits and vegetables: tomatoes, radishes, strawberries, watermelon, cherries, raspberries, etc.
    • Blue and purple fruits and vegetables: eggplant, purple cabbage, blackberries, blueberries, etc.
    Canned, frozen, dried or fermented/pickled are a great alternative source when fresh fruits and vegetables are difficult to find.

      Find Time For Exercise

      The World Health Organization recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a day for adults, and one hour a day for children.
      If you cannot leave the house, find an exercise video online, dance to music, do some yoga, or walk up and down the stairs.


      The Paleo Diet
      The Paleo Diet

      The basic concept of the paleo diet is to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods.

      Studies suggest that this diet can lead to significant weight loss and major improveme...

      A general guideline

      There is no one "right" way to eat for everyone.

      Some eat a low-carb diet high in animal foods, while others follow a high-carb diet with lots of plants.

      Avoid these foods and ingredients:

      • Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
      • All Grains.
      • Legumes like beans and lentils.
      • Most Dairy, especially low-fat dairy.
      • Some vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, corn, grapeseed, safflower and other oils.
      • Trans fats: "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils found in margarine and various processed foods.
      • Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium. 
      • Highly processed foods: Everything labeled "diet" or "low-fat" or that has many additives.

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      Fresh food nutrients
      Fresh food nutrients

      Food is most nutritious at the point of harvest. After that, fresh produce starts degrading.

      Once picked, that fruit or veg is using its own nutrients to keep its cells alive. Vitamin C fou...

      Refrigerating produce

      Refrigeration slows down the process of nutrition degradation. The nutritional loss varies from product to product.

      Spinach loses 100% of its vitamin C content in seven days at room temperature and 75% if refrigerated. Carrots lose 27% of their vitamin C content when stored at room temperature for a week.

      However, when vegetables are frozen, including spinach, they lose significantly less vitamin C, because freezing pauses the process of oxidization.

      Frozen foods nutrients

      As soon as produce is harvested, it's a nutritional race against time.

      Frozen produce has one problem: before it's frozen, it's blanched - heating food up for a few minutes at high temperatures to inactivate enzymes that degrade texture and color. Blanching also reduces nutrient content.

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      The Mediterranean diet
      The Mediterranean diet
      The heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating plan based on typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking.

      The diet includes fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, p...

      Benefits of the Traditional Mediterranean diet

      Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet 

      • reduces the risk of heart disease
      • is associated with a lower level of the "bad" cholesterol
      • is associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. 
      Key components of the Mediterranean diet
      • Eating of primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
      • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
      • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
      • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
      • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
      • Enjoying meals with family and friends
      • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
      • Getting plenty of exercise.
      Best foods don’t have labels
      Best foods don’t have labels

      Because they are just one ingredient: avocado, lentils, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.

      There is no "best diet"

      The “best” diet is a theme: an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and plain water for thirst. 

      That can be with or without seafood; with or without dairy; with or without eggs; with or without some meat; high or low in total fat.

      The "Age" of vegetables
      The best vegetables are likely to be fresh and locally sourced, but flash frozen is nearly as good (as freezing delays aging). Those “fresh” vegetables that spend a long time in storage or transit are probably the least nutritious.

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      Food affects the environment
      Food affects the environment

      Eating healthy food is almost always also the best for the environment.

      Researchers say poor diets seriously harm people and the planet. Foods such as fruit, vegetables, beans, and whol...

      Foods that buck the trend
      • Fish is generally a healthy choice but have a bigger environmental footprint on average.
      • High-sugar foods have a low impact on the planet but are damaging to your health.
      • Some farming groups argue only intensively produced meat is harmful to the environment.
      A healthy guideline

      Global ill-health costs from diabetes alone are similar to the total value of farming in the global economy.

      • Researchers calculated that producing unprocessed red meat has the highest impact on all environmental indicators.
      • Food with medium environmental impacts or not associated with ill health, such as refined grain cereals, dairy, eggs, and chicken, could help improve health and reduce environmental harm if they replace foods such as red meat.

      Producing a reasonable guideline for a healthy and sustainable diet would put the world and its people in a much better place.

      The art of eating
      The art of eating

      ... is a question of psychology as much as nutrition. We have to find a way to want to eat what’s good for us.

      We make frequent attempts – more or less half-hearted – to change what we...

      Food preferences are learned

      All the foods that you regularly eat are ones that you learned to eat.  Everyone starts life drinking milk. After that, it’s all up for grabs. 

      But in today’s food culture, many people seem to have acquired uncannily homogenous tastes: food companies push foods high in sugar, fat and salt, which means we are innately incapable of resisting them but that the more frequently we eat them, especially in childhood, the more they train us to expect all food to taste this way.

      0.3% of young women are anorexic

      ... and another 1% are bulimic, with rising numbers of men joining them.

      What statistics are not particularly effective at telling us is how many others – whether overweight or underweight – are in a perpetual state of anxiety about what they consume, living in fear of carbs or fat grams and unable to derive straightforward enjoyment from meals.

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      The Mediterranean diet
      The Mediterranean diet

      It is not a weight-loss regime such as the Atkins or Dukan diets. It is actually not a prescriptive diet at all, rather a pattern of eating.

      It is based on a rural life where people at...

      Principles of the Mediterranean diet
      • It is based on large amounts of fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and especially olive oil.
      • Fish and seafood depends on how close to the sea you live.
      • Chicken, eggs and small amounts of dairy, such as cheese and yoghurt, are there in moderation.
      • The diet includes a small amount of wine with meals
      • It is quite a high-carbohydrate diet (pasta, bread and potatoes).
      • Red meat and sweets would rarely be consumed.
      • It is accompanied by quite a lot of physical activity. 
      The Mediterranean diet is more than food on a plate
      • It emphasises values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity, and a way of life guided by respect for diversity.
      • Shared family meals help people eat well and avoid excess, while the TV dinner habit is linked to obesity.
      • It involves a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking and particularly the sharing and consumption of food.

      The selling point of superfoods is not so much their taste but the extent to which they will enhance your health if you eat them. It is not qualities that are mere add-ons, like fortified cereals, ...

      Labeled as superfoods

      Some regular foodstuffs such as broccoli and spinach have been rebranded for their health-giving qualities. 

      The volume of blueberries and cranberries sold in Britain quadrupled in the last decade, for example. However, critics warn that the description encourages us to focus on a single foodstuff at the expense of a healthy diet.

      Food and medicine

      Cooks in the past have often doubled as herbalists who sought to soothe and strengthen. Long before "superfoods," we consumed tonics and home remedies. For example, sage was believed to improve a person's memory. Science later confirmed its memory benefits.

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      Complex Carbohydrates

      Complex carbohydrates are found in fiber and starch and are beneficial for brain health as they release glucose slowly into our system, helping stabilize our mood. Simple carbohydr...


      Our cells generate energy through oxidation, but oxidation also reduces the dopamine and serotonin in the brain and creates oxidative stress.

      Antioxidants found in brightly colored foods like fruits and vegetables act as a defense against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain and body. Antioxidants also repair oxidative damage and scavenge free radicals that cause cell damage in the brain. 

      Omega 3

      Omega 3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are involved in the process of converting food into energy. They are important for the health of the brain and the communication of its feel-good chemicals dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.

      Omega 3 are essential nutrients that are not readily produced by the body, so we must include foods high on it in our diet. 

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