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 Keys to a Healthy Diet

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Location : Insha`allah The Neighbor of the Prophet in paradise
Registration date : 2008-05-09

PostSubject: Keys to a Healthy Diet   Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:13 am

Keys to a Healthy Diet

Developing healthy eating habits isn't as
confusing or as restrictive as many people imagine. The first principle
of a healthy diet is simply to eat a wide variety of foods. This is
important because different foods make different nutritional
contributions. A

Secondly, fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes—foods high in complex
carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, low in fat, and free of
cholesterol—should make up the bulk of the calories you consume. The
rest should come from low-fat dairy products, lean meat and poultry,
and fish.A

You should also try to maintain a balance between calorie intake and
calorie expenditure—that is, don't eat more food than your body can
utilize. Otherwise, you will gain weight. The more active you are,
therefore, the more you can eat and still maintain this balance.A

Following these three basic steps doesn't mean that
you have to give up your favorite foods. As long as your overall diet
is balanced and rich in nutrients and fiber, there is nothing wrong
with an occasional cheeseburger. Just be sure to limit how frequently
you eat such foods, and try to eat small portions of them.A


You can also view healthy eating as an opportunity to expand your range
of choices by trying foods—especially vegetables, whole grains, or
fruits—that you don't normally eat. A healthy diet doesn't have to mean
eating foods that are bland or unappealing.A

The following basic guidelines are what you need to know to construct a healthy diet.A

A Eat plenty of
high-fiber foods—that is, fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
These are the "good" carbohydrates—nutritious, filling, and relatively
low in calories. They should supply the 20 to 30 grams of dietary fiber
you need each day, which slows the absorption of carbohydrates, so
there’s less effect on insulin and blood sugar, and provides other
health benefits as well. Such foods also provide important vitamins,
minerals, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals essential to good health).A


A
Make sure to include green, orange, and yellow fruits and
vegetables—such as broccoli, carrots, cantaloupe, and citrus fruits.
The antioxidants and other nutrients in these foods may help protect
against developing certain types of cancer and other diseases. Eat five
or more servings a day.


A
Limit your intake of sugary foods, refined-grain products such as white
bread, and salty snack foods. Sugar, our No.1 additive, is added to a
vast array of foods. Just one daily 12-ounce can of soda (160 calories)
can add up to 16 pounds over the course of a year. Many sugary foods
are also high in fat, so they’re calorie-dense. A


A
Cut down on animal fat. It’s rich in saturated fat, which boosts blood
cholesterol levels and has other adverse health effects. Choose lean
meats, skinless poultry, and nonfat or low-fat or nonfat dairy products.A


A
Cut way down on trans fats, supplied by hydrogenated vegetable oils
used in most processed foods in the supermarket and in many fast foods.A


A Eat more fish and nuts, which contain healthy unsaturated fats. Substitute olive or canola oil for butter or stick margarine.A

A Keep portions
moderate, especially of high-calorie foods. In recent years serving
sizes have ballooned, particularly in restaurants. Choose a starter
instead of an entrée, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order
supersized anything.A


A
Keep your cholesterol intake below 300 milligrams per day. Cholesterol
is found only in animal products, such as meats, poultry, dairy
products, and egg yolks.A


A
Eat a variety of foods. Don't try to fill your nutrient requirements by
eating the same foods day in, day out. It is possible that not every
essential nutrient has been identified, and so eating a wide assortment
of foods helps to ensure that you will get all the necessary nutrients.
In addition, this will limit your exposure to any pesticides or toxic
substances that may be present in one particular food.A


A
Maintain an adequate calcium intake. Calcium is essential for strong
bones and teeth. Get your calcium from low-fat sources, such as skim
milk and low-fat yogurt. If you can't get the optimal amount from
foods, take supplements.A


A Try to get your
vitamins and minerals from foods, not from supplements. Supplements
cannot substitute for a healthy diet, which supplies nutrients and
other compounds besides vitamins and minerals. Foods also provide the
"synergy" that many nutrients require to be efficiently used in the
body.A


A Maintain a desirable
weight. Balance energy (calorie) intake with energy output. Exercise
and other physical activity are essential.A


A If you drink alcohol,
do so in moderation. That is one drink a day for women, two a day for
men. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5
ounces of 80-proof spirits. Excess alcohol consumption leads to a
variety of health problems. And alcoholic beverages can add many
calories to your diet without supplying nutrients.A
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