What are the 4 main healthy eating guidelines?
There are many different ways to eat healthy, but there are 4 main guidelines that can help you make the best choices for your health. The 4 main guidelines are eating a wide variety of foods, avoiding highly processed foods, controlling your total calorie intake and increasing physical activity.
Eating a wide variety of foods means consuming a balanced diet from the 5 major food groups: fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains and protein. This will give your body the nutrients it needs, reduce your risk of disease and keep you feeling satisfied.
Choosing healthy foods is about more than just the actual food you eat; it’s also about where, when and how you eat. It’s a matter of making it a habit to eat a range of foods that are good for you and your family every day.
Avoiding highly processed foods is important to good health, because they often contain too much salt and sugar. These can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. These types of foods include pre-packaged snacks, chips, cookies, frozen pizzas and other ready meals.
Limiting your sodium intake can prevent hypertension and heart disease. This means reducing your intake of salt to less than 2,300 mg per day. It’s even better if you can lower your intake to 1,500 mg daily for people over 51 and those with high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease.
Controlling your total calorie intake is vital for weight management. For people who are overweight, this will mean limiting calories from fat and other sources of energy.
Increased physical activity can help you burn more calories and lose excess weight. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day, or 60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each day.
Staying hydrated is essential for good health, so make sure you drink enough water each day. This is especially important if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have diabetes or high blood pressure.
Cut down on the amount of salt in your diet by avoiding foods that have added salt, such as table salt, and by eating less red meat, fish, poultry with skin and processed meats. Choose low-sodium alternatives instead, such as unsalted nuts, seeds, tinned tomatoes and olive oil.
Cutting down on saturated fat is also important to your health. Saturated fats, which are found in fatty meats, butter, palm and coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee and lard, are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Saturated fats should be replaced by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
A low-fat diet can help you control your cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. This is especially important if you have a family history of these diseases. You should consume a minimum of 30% of your total daily energy intake from unsaturated fats.
Eating a well-balanced diet is one of the most effective ways to protect against illness, and it’s easy to do. If you’re eating the right amounts of a range of different foods, you will have a healthy diet that is tasty and satisfying.