1. CALORIES - Eat only foods with just the right amount of calories so that you balance the energy you use. The average man needs about 2,500 calories a day and the average woman 2,000. Adults who eat more calories than they need should stop in order to avoid obesity.
2. BALANCED DIET - Eat a wide range of foods and fruits in order to get a balanced diet and the required nutrients for the body.
3. STARCHY FOODS - Starchy foods, e.g. rice, bread, garri, potatoes, yam, cereals, whole grain varieties, should make up about one third of the foods you eat, because they contain more fibre, and can make you feel full for a longer period. However, eating garri /eba in the morning before going to work is not ideal because it will make you lazy, sluggish and drowsy at work. So eat something lighter.
4. PLANTAIN AND PALM OIL – A meal of plantain and palm oil is very rich. Plantain is rich in iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is also a rich source of vitamins A, B-Complex, C; Dietary fiber; and a very reliable source of starch and energy. On the other hand, Palm oil is good for the sight. It is cholesterol-free, has vitamin E (tocotrienol) which can fight cancer and prevent strokes. It also has a high Beta-Carotene content.
Beta-Carotene is a group of red, orange, and yellow pigment called carotenoids which help to fight diseases in the body.
5. FRUITS AND VEGETABLES - Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. This will help increase the level of vitamins in your body
6. FISH – Eat more fish as fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Try to occasionally eat oily fish which is rich in Omega –3 fats and help to prevent heart disease. Oily fish includes Salmon, Mackerel, Trout, Herring, Fresh Tuna, Sardines and Pilchards. Non-oily fish include haddock, plaice, coley, cod, tinned tuna, skate and hake. Try to eat as wide a variety of fish as possible.
7. SATURATED FAT – Cut down on saturated fat. We all need some fat in our diet, but it is important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat we eat. There are 2 main types of fat, saturated and un saturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease. Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as hard cheese, cakes, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter, lard, and pies. Cut down and choose foods that contain un saturated fats rather than saturated fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados. For a healthier choice, use a small amount of vegetable oil, or use fat instead of butter. When having meat, cut off any visible fat.
8. SUGAR – Cut down on sugar. Sugary foods and drinks which are high in energy contribute to weight gain, and cause tooth decay, especially if taken between meals. Cut down on sugary drinks, cakes, biscuits, and pastries, which contain added sugars. This is the kind of sugar we should cut down on rather than sugars found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk. Food labels can help when you use them to check how much sugar the snack you have bought contain. More than 22.5 g of sugar per 100 g means that the food is high in sugar.
SALT – Eat less salt. Even if you do not add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads, and sauces. Eating too much salt, (and also eating the raw salt) can raise your blood pressure, and people with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Use food labels, where possible, to help you cut down. More than 1.5 g of salt per 100 g means the food is high in salt.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Eating a healthy, balanced diet plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can lead to health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke. Being underweight could also affect your health.
Try to eat light breakfast which will not make you gain weight. Also skipping your meals and leaving the stomach empty for too long daily can lead to stomach ulcer. Eat your meals but eat little at a time.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES – Physical activities can help you to maintain a healthy weight. Avoid boarding a bus all the time, learn to walk some reasonable distance daily. This physical activity will help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Other physical activities include Jogging, running, floor exercises, skipping etc.
FLUID FOR THE BODY- In addition to the fluid we get from our food, we need to drink about 1.2 litres of fluid daily to avoid dehydration. You can take non-alcoholic drinks, but water, milk, and fruit juices are the most healthy. Try to avoid sugary soft drinks which are high in calories and bad for the teeth.
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