The importance of a healthy diet when it comes to creating a healthy lifestyle in general cannot be understated. As they say, you become what you eat. In a way, this is becoming true. As we go deeper into the modern age, most people usually resort to fast-food, and they physically and physiologically suffer from it. Obesity is increasing, and the complications associated with it such as heart disease are equally on the rise. Because of this, healthy living is becoming more of a priority. But we need to answer this seemingly general question: what is a healthy diet?
A healthy diet is generally characterized by limiting intake of food. Based on this premise, people tend to limit the definition of what is a healthy diet to reducing the amount of food that they partake in everyday. While some diets integrate some form of reduction, it should not be mistaken as just reduction. Some people starve themselves to lose weight, but the problem is this approach almost always tends to do more harm than good. OK, so can’t exactly starve yourself out and consider yourself doing a healthy diet. So what is?
Now, we are going to answer once and for all what is a healthy diet and what is it composed of. A healthy diet is generally characterized by a balanced uptake of essential nutrients, may it be macronutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, or fats, or micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. As we all know, some of these nutrients are essential (i.e. those that we cannot produce on our own and are required to be provided through food). This makes it necessary to eat a wide range of foods to meet the dietary requirements that our body has.
Of course, another way to answer what is a healthy diet is also defined as regulation. As they say, anything taken in excess is not exactly always good. For instance, an excess of fats and carbohydrates could lead to adding of too much weight, an excess of bad cholesterol may end up clogging your blood vessels, and excessive amounts of some micronutrients can cause toxicity and other adverse reactions. With that said, here are some of the guidelines for a healthy diet according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
1. Achieve nutritional balance and healthy weight.
2. Limit total fat consumption and steer away from consuming saturated fats and trans-fats.
3. A higher intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes is recommended.
4. Limit the intake of simple sugars to less than 10% (according to a 2003 report).
5. Limit sodium (a main ingredient of salt) consumption and when consuming salt, used iodized salt.