In 1945, the United Nations established the Food and Agriculture Organisation on 16th October. Every year, the day is commemorated as World Food Day to shine a light on healthy eating and sustainable food practices. In 2021, the theme for the celebration is Safe food now for a healthy tomorrow. Many people around the world struggle to eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This year, on World Food Day, let’s learn what constitutes a healthy diet and how you can incorporate wholesome foods into your everyday meals.
The Importance of a Healthy Diet
The WHO states that a healthy diet provides you with the essential nutrition required to enjoy a wholesome life. A good diet could help protect you from several chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. A healthy diet compromises several food groups, including staples, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and foods from animal sources.
What Constitutes a Healthy Diet?
The WHO recommends the following diet for adults:
- A healthy diet includes five portions, or 400 grams, of fruits and vegetables per day. Starchy roots like potatoes, sweet potatoes and cassava, are not considered as part of your daily vegetable intake.
- Along with fruits and vegetables, you should also include portions of legumes like lentils and beans, nuts, and whole, unprocessed grains like corn, oats, wheat and brown rice.
- Less than 10% of daily energy intake should come from free sugars. So, a healthy person who enjoys 2,000 calories a day should have less than 12 teaspoons of sugar a day. To enjoy additional health benefits, reduce sugar consumption to 5% of your daily energy intake.
- Not more than 30% of the daily energy intake should come from fats. Unsaturated fats, such as the ones found in nuts, olive oil and fish, are preferred over saturated fats, such as butter, coconut oil, cream, cheese and ghee. Avoiding all trans-fats, typically found in processed food, is ideal.
- Adults should consume less than 5 grams, or one teaspoon, of iodised salt per day.
How to Maintain a Healthy Diet
Very often, people find it hard to stick to their diet goals. You may end up taking a cheat day and bingeing on the food you should avoid. Here’s a practical guide on how you can make eating healthy a habit:
To increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, you can:
- Add vegetables to every meal
- Snack on fresh fruits
- Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season
To reduce your daily intake of fats, you can:
- Steam or boil food instead of deep-frying it
- Limit your consumption of pre-packaged or processed foods
- Replace butter and ghee with healthier alternatives like canola, corn or sunflower oil
To minimise your sugar intake, you can:
- Avoid sugary and carbonated drinks
- Swap sugary sweet desserts for fresh fruit
- Limit the consumption of drinks that have high amount of sugar
To limit your intake of salt, you can:
- Avoid high-salt and high-sodium condiments and sauces
- Limit the consumption of salty snacks
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle involves more than just eating right. You also need to exercise and keep stress to a minimum. The ideal way to reduce stress is by purchasing health insurance. The best family health insurance plans in India cover you and your loved ones and even take care of the costs of preventive check-ups. If you follow a healthy diet, you can purchase a health insurance plan at an affordable premium and keep your family safe in case of a medical emergency. Make sure you check all the health care insurance options available to you. Then select the best health insurance company in India based on your individual needs. This World Food Day, commit to a healthier life with a better diet and a comprehensive health insurance plan.