Eat healthy

Eat healthy

Healthy Eating: What Does It Mean?

When we speak of “healthy eating” we generally mean the habit of eating in a balanced , clean and healthy way.
However, due to the influence of various schools of thought that often contrast traditional scientific-academic research, or simply try to modify it (in a more or less lawful way), the concept of healthy eating is becoming increasingly blurred and difficult to frame.
For this reason, in Italy and elsewhere, officially recognized research institutions propose rules or principles that can be considered a “guarantee” of correctness; in the Bel Paese, this “vademecum” of the health enthusiast (which should affect the habits of any individual) is called: “Guidelines for a HealthyItalian Food “.
This publication is also available online on the website of the “National Research Institute for Food and Nutrition” (since 2013 renamed the Research Center for Food and Nutrition), responsible for its creation and dissemination.
However, it should be specified that eating healthy does not only mean maintaining nutritional balance, but also using foods that can guarantee a hygienic standard. This parameter must then be contextualized both in the biological and microbiological sphere, and in that of contamination .
Readers will already have well understood that this is a vast topic that is difficult to summarize, especially in a single article. However, without presuming to fully satisfy every learning need, below I will try to summarize the main criteria of healthy eating in the most effective way possible.


Nutritional balance

Nutritional balance is a determining factor in healthy eating, or rather, only by eating healthy is it possible to maintain nutritional balance.
Nutritional balance is a parameter that evaluates the quantities and proportions of individual nutrients and nutritional components taken in with the diet. Each of them has a precise function, which is why over the years we have tried to determine their real needs .
An organism that does not benefit from a balanced diet has greater difficulties in maintaining the so-called “ homeostasis”. Obviously, being an almost perfect machine, as far as nutrition is concerned, the physicist makes use of excellent autonomy; this means that it tends to be designed in order to “survive” any circumstance.
Ultimately, eating healthy ensures the maintenance of physical balance and, sometimes, also contributes to the psychic one.


Now, the question that arises is: What principles of nutritional balance does the definition of healthy eating depend on?
Difficult to answer clearly in a few lines, also because needs are subjective and vary (but not always as much as one might believe) based on age, gender , lifestyle and subjective components such as the size of the skeleton and of the musculature , metabolic predispositions, hereditary pathologies, etc.
Since there are so many nutrients and nutritional components and they are all fundamental, it is necessary to remain generic. The table below summarizes some summary notions that could be very useful to newcomers to the subject.
ATTENTION! The recommendations take into consideration an average and adult subject, with an average physical activity coefficient and an equally ordinary job. Sports activities, special pathological or physiological conditions, childhood and old age are excluded .

Nutritional Component or Nutrient Intake with Diet
Waterfall To be taken in quantities of about 1ml for each energy calorie taken in with the diet. Usually, between that contained in food and drinks, it is better to reach about 2 liters / day. The meals of the day should be at least 5, to correctly distribute the total energy ( breakfast , snack , lunch, snack and dinner).
Power It is the result of cellular processes that use carbohydrates , lipids and to a lesser extent amino acids . The sum of the intake of the individual three must guarantee the maintenance of all functions and normal body weight . An average adult man needs about 2000kcal/day.
Carbohydrates They are the most abundant energy macronutrients . Their share must fluctuate between about 40-60% of the total energy. Simple and discretionary ones ( table sugar and foods containing them) should be as moderate as possible and never higher than 12% of total energy
Lipids Some are energetic and some are non-energetic. The former are mainly fatty acids , the latter are sterols , phospholipids , etc. Energy ones must remain between 25-30% of the total energy; having a variable metabolic function, to ensure health, most of these must be unsaturated in nature. Cholesterol should not exceed 300mg/ day
Protein They have many metabolic functions, but the body requires only what is necessary to compensate for the losses (the need increases above all with the growth of the tissues). There are recommended percentages, but they are quite variable according to the research institutions; the same goes for the coefficient of g/kg of body weight which, on average, for adults, is estimated between 0.8 and 1.2g/kg.
Vitamins It is such a heterogeneous group that it cannot be summarized effectively. It is enough to keep in mind that, to introduce them all in useful quantities, the diet must be very varied and not exclude any food group. We remind you that those most subject to deficiency are folic acid and vitamin D. B1 is very present in foods but the liver is not able to accumulate it
Mineral salts The same applies to vitamins, specifying that the elements most likely to be deficient are: iodine , iron and calcium ; according to some also selenium . Sodium , contained in large quantities in table salt , may not even be used in a discretionary manner, since it is already present in foods in sufficient quantities
Dietary fiber To be introduced at around 30g/day, it is essential for intestinal health and to modulate nutritional absorption
Non- vitamin antioxidants Very important to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of metabolic and / or metabolism diseases . They almost never have a precise recommended ration, but rather safe levels.


Portions and Consumption Frequencies

Since it shouldn’t be necessary to rely on a food professional to be sure of eating healthy and maintaining nutritional balance, research bodies have translated nutritional needs into food recommendations . The most widespread system is certainly that of the food pyramid , continuously revised and updated on the basis of the latest news.
To eat healthy it is therefore essential to choose how much and when to eat the various foods.

Foods of animal origin are those that provide high biological value proteins , some mineral salts (especially iron and calcium) and vitamins (practically all of them, especially those of group B , D and A); on the other hand, an excess of these foods can cause a surplus of: cholesterol, saturated fatty acids and proteins. Among these, meat and offal should be taken at least in 2 portions a week (150-250g), fish products at least 2 more (200-300g), cheeses / ricottas at least one (80-150g) and eggsno more than 3 per week. Then, as far as milk and yogurt are concerned, even more than one daily portion is allowed, although it is good to keep in mind that this depends on the portion, the composition of the diet and the level of skimming of the milk; 150-300ml of semi-skimmed milk and 1 or 2 jars of natural 120g yogurt per day are normal. N.B. _ Preserved foods, such as cured meats , canned tuna , etc. should be a marginal alternative.

Taking into consideration foods of plant origin , these must be consumed on a daily basis. The group of cereals and potatoes , together with that of legumes , above all guarantees the supply of the necessary complex carbohydrates . They can easily be included in all meals, but it is essential that they always be included in the useful portions. Pasta , rice and other derivatives should respect quantities of no more than 90g; the bread should fill the remaining need or replace the first course and, usually, oscillate between 20-30g and 100-120g. The legumesthey can be used like cereals.
Sweet vegetables and fruits help to increase satiety , provide water, potassium , some vitamins (especially A, C, E and K) and non-vitamin or saline antioxidants . They contain simple carbohydrates and sometimes affect the energy balance to such an extent as to create a decompensation due to excess.

N.B. _ Some tropical fruits are high in fat , such as avocados and coconut . On average, between cooked and raw, vegetables should appear at least 2-3 times in the daily diet and in portions of 50-200g; the fruits about 2 times per 200g (variable according to the fruit).

N.B. _ Jams, marmalades , dehydrated fruit , fruit in syrup and candied fruit do not belong to this category, but to that of sweet foods.

Seasoning fats and oilseeds are necessary to compensate for the demand for fatty acids and vitamins related to them (especially E and A). Carefully chosen, they help to satisfy the need for essential fatty acids and those beneficial to the body in general. In addition, they provide many non-vitamin or saline antioxidants. As for the oil , about 2-4 tablespoons a day are sufficient (based on the fatness of the other foods); with regard to oilseeds, it is possible to use them in quantities of a few grams and only once a day.

The only recommended drink is water, with a saline profile that varies according to individual needs, and in an amount of about 750-1000ml/day (very variable).

Of all the foods indicated above it is necessary to avoid: preserved in salt , in oil , in syrup , preserves and recipes that are too elaborate. In addition, all sweets and junk foods should be drastically reduced .


Food Hygiene

Food hygiene is a cornerstone of healthy eating. Hygiene does not only mean biological and microbiological safety ( bacteria , viruses , prions, parasites , etc.), certainly very important, but also protection against all forms of chemical or pharmacological contamination.
Among the various expedients, first of all there is the choice between the sources of supply. It may seem disappointing but, to date, the best ones are the conventional ones from large retailers. Thanks to the very strict hygiene controls, it is possible to find the safest foods on the supermarket counters; on the contrary, cross-route purchases often prove risky. For example, for fruit and vegetables the most frequent frauds concern the sale of false products “biological ” or others who have not complied with the times for the disposal of pesticide treatments.
For meat and eggs, on the other hand, the greatest risk is that they come from sick animals or animals stuffed with drugs. In the latter context, the slaughtering and conservation phases also play an essential role; obviously, the higher the processing means and technologies, the better the levels of food safety will be .
Food must therefore be guaranteed starting from production/breeding (diseases, environmental contamination, etc.), up to transport and for all conservation prior to sale (maintenance of temperatures, cold chain, etc. ) .



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *