Why is healthy eating important?
Obesity and its other related health problems have grown dramatically in recent years. In the UK, for example an estimated 24 million adults are classed as obese. Worldwide, it is estimated that half a billion adults are obese. Aswel as this there is also concern about the rising numbers of children who are obese.
Healthy eating is not just about reducing obesity, But research shows that a third of all cancers are caused by a poor diet. Diet can also be linked to high blood pressure , heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and tooth decay. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can help protect us from these illnesses.
Growing numbers of people are now eating away from their own homes so these providing the food have a responsibility to be mindful of good nutrition.
A balanced diet and good health
Foods are not 'good or bad'-it is the overall balance of the diet that matters. This means having a variety of foods, basing meals on starchy foods and eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. The balance to strive for is illustrated in the nationally agreed advice, the Eatwell plate. The Eatwell plate focuses on the food groups that provide the basic nutrients. The advice which is given is that your diet should consist of:
- More starchy foods-such as cereals,breads,pasta,potatoes and rice, these provide energy and enable the body to function.
- More fruit and vegetables-aim for five portions per day. Fruit and vegetables provide vitamins and fibre across the diet as well as antioxidants, which are thought to help prevent cancers.
- very small amounts of foods containing fats and sugars, and drinks containing sugars-selecting lower-fat options where possible; in addition, foods that are high in salt should be restricted. These foods are linked to heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure and obesity; by reducing our intake, we help to reduce the risk of getting these diseases.