Deficiencies in some key nutrients – such as vitamin A, B, C and E, and zinc, iron and selenium – can weaken parts of your immune system. Always check with your GP about any concerns you may have about your diet. Fish and seafood such as prawns, mussels, scallops, squid, are good sources of selenium, zinc, iodine and copper. Iodine for example is essential for thyroid hormones.
You need to include fruit, vegetables, starchy foods, dairy and limit your intake of foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar. Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish and avocados. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet that’s low in saturated fat and high in fibre found in whole grains can help to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Low fruit and vegetable consumption has been linked to poor health. Including them as part of your daily diet may reduce the risk of certain diseases including heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Anyone with an interest in health knows they shouldn’t consume junk food all day long, but even if you think you’re making good choices, it’s not always easy. However, some doctors have noticed that when people adopt low carbohydrate diets, they urinate more frequently, lose sodium and their blood pressure falls. It’s an interesting observation which again points to excess sugar being implicated. Fundamentally, diet is only one part of a healthy lifestyle. We need daily movement, social connections, mental stimulation.
Choosing foods with more unsaturated fats compared to saturated fats can increase levels of HDL and lower levels of LDL . Unsaturated fats include the polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and Omega 3 fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are found in oils such as olive, rapeseed and sunflower. Healthier saturated fats are foods like olive oil, vegetable oil, rapeseed oil, spreads made from these oils, and nut butters. Milk, cheese and yogurt have lots of calcium and protein in – great for your bones, teeth and muscles. But some dairy foods are high in fat, particularly saturated fat, so choose lower-fat alternatives.
Fruit and vegetables can help protect against stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers – and when you have diabetes, you’re more at risk of developing these conditions. And when we say balanced, we mean eating more of certain foods and less of others. But portion sizes have grown in recent years, as the plates and bowls we use have got bigger. And larger portions can make it more difficult for you to manage your weight. We’ve got more information for you about managing a healthy weight. Finally, think about adding some protein to your meal.
Sweet fizzy drinks are one of the main contributors to the rise in obesity. As an alternative, try making your own water kefir. Buy the base – water kefir grains – online or from a health-food store, add sugar and follow the instructions. For a simpler option, try sparkling water, adding slices of lemon and lime, or whole frozen berries. If you’re time-poor, it’s easy to head to the supermarket and not read beyond the health claims on the front of packages.
If you want to lose weight, try to be aware of these hidden sugars. Whole grains are rich in dietary fibre and micro-nutrients. People whose diets contain whole grains appear to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. That’s food like wholegrain bread, brown rice, oatmeal.
“Just because a food is labelled ‘keto’, ‘paleo’, or ‘plant-based’, that doesn’t automatically mean it is healthy,” Sohal stresses. She goes on to warn that without careful substitution and alternatives, our health could indeed be in danger from adopting niche diets. Ahealthy dietis one that gives us the energy we need and helps us stave off various diseases like rickets and scurvy. Understanding exactly what healthy eating actually entails is often tricky.
Your brain needs healthy fats to keep working well. They’re found in things such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados, milk and eggs. Avoid trans fats – often found in processed or packaged foods – as they can be bad for your mood and your heart health.
It’s also important for your overall health and wellbeing. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Many packaged foods and drinks contain surprisingly high amounts of free sugars.