Healthy Foods

Healthy Foods

What does healthy food mean?

The definition of “healthy food” is purely subjective and devoid of any scientific-nutritional criteria. In fact, what is healthy for one person may NOT be for another; this is valid both from the “real” and “ideological” point of view.
Probably, the only food category uniquely considered NOT healthy is that of ” junk food ” or “junk-food”, to which we can add that of spirits ; after all, with regard to the many (more or less well-founded) beliefs that affect human nutrition today , the concepts of “healthy” and “harmful” are absolutely subjective.
To give some examples, the supporters of the well-known “” are strongly convinced that the big flaw of contemporary nutrition is to include cereals , legumes , tubers , frying fats and red meats ( obviously , this is a “simplification” that affects only one of the many points key of Berry Sears). On the contrary, he considers vegetables , certain fruits, oilseeds and a few others to be healthy foods . Macrobiotic sympathizers , on the other hand, totally abolish the foods they consider to be in acid-base imbalance ; but also potatoes ,
tomatoes and aubergines .
The followers of the Paleolithic diet repudiate cereals, legumes, most of the sweet fruit , milk , its derivatives and many others.
As far as the classic (academic) method is concerned, however, in addition to junk foods (obviously excluded from most nutritional styles) no type of food is excluded. Those without contaminants, safe from a chemical point of view and containing molecules useful for humans are defined as healthy; the relevance or otherwise is dictated above all by the portion, the frequency of consumption, the nutritional context, the physiological and/or pathological state of the person.
For example, according to the Mediterranean diet , wheat is a healthy food, provided it is not part of the celiac disease diet . Similarly, milk is considered a suitable food, provided it is excluded from the diet of lactose intolerant people . Dried fruit is included among healthy foods but must be excluded from the diet of those suffering from diverticulosis (to avoid acute diverticulitis ). Red wine , being rich in antioxidants, it is allowed in the diet of adults provided that it is equal to or less than 2 glasses a day; however, it is eliminated completely from the diet of hypertensives .
In short, in compliance with OBJECTIVE chemical and nutritional properties, as well as the state of health of the people in question, foods can be considered healthy ONLY if they are well placed in the overall diet. What many don’t know is that even the seemingly healthiest foods, if in excess, hide harmful properties for the human body.

What Foods Can Be Called Healthy?

As we have said, beyond beliefs and philosophies, the definition of healthy must respect “at least” some fundamental principles: hygiene, safety, presence of nutritional molecules, absence or limited presence of anti-nutritional molecules , absence or limited presence of nutritional molecules potentially inappropriate.
For simplicity, we will briefly describe healthy foods respecting the differentiation in the 7 basic food groups (INRAN and SINU).

  • Group 1: Meat, fishery products and eggs . Of this group it is essential to remember that ONLY the fresh ones can be defined as “objectively” healthy. They must be free of prions, viruses , bacteria and parasites , and must not contain relevant pharmacological traces ( hormones , antibiotics, etc.). Those with a prevalence of unsaturated fatty acids are healthier than saturated ones, with little cholesterol , rich in iron , vit. D and B vitamins . Cured meats are to be consumed sparingly, canned fish products, salted products , etc.
  • Group 2: milk and derivatives . Even the milk must be totally safe from a microbiological point of view, from contaminants (this time also those from the processing cycle) and from drugs. Furthermore, contrary to the previous group, the products subjected to human manipulation, ie skimming (preferably partial), are healthier. Let it be clear, in a balanced diet , two or three daily portions of whole milk or yogurt and two weekly portions of cheese (as a dish) DO NOT create any imbalance in the nutritional balance. However, being aware that saturated fat and cholesterolthey are “potentially” harmful, since “on average” in excess, it is better to reduce the total quantity in the collective diet (in this case, STOP butter and cream ) . A final observation should be made on yoghurts ; if natural they are certainly excellent foods, while sweetened ones (with sugar or additives ) represent a less healthy alternative.
  • Group 3: cereals, derivatives and tubers . There’s not much to say; having ascertained the absence of mold or residues of agricultural treatments, it is simply necessary to prefer WHOLE and (in the case of cereals) WHOLEMEAL ones . Potatoes are tubers, but (when cooked) they boast a nutritional intake more similar to that of a cereal rather than a vegetable. These tend to be healthy foods (I reiterate that I am speaking of “raw” products, not derivatives that include the presence of added fat, salt or sugar ) but, boasting a high glucidic – energy content, the relative portions must meet the needsindividual. Attention also to the use of bran ; it is rich in fiber but also in anti-nutritional components which bind certain minerals and prevent their absorption (especially phytates ).
  • Group 4: legumes. The same applies as stated in the previous paragraph. They are very healthy foods but, even when energy requirements permit, they must be taken in reasonable portions. This is due to the fact that whole and peeled ones contain a fair amount of anti-nutritional molecules (phytates and protease inhibitors ) .
  • Group 5: Seasoning fats and oils. Leaving aside butter (already mentioned in group 2), I DO NOT include other seasoning fats of animal origin among healthy foods, even if I still consider them better than hydrogenated and/or fractionated vegetable fats . Instead I include oilseeds , very caloric and rich in the so-called “good fats” (not surprisingly, the oil is extracted from many of these products).
    The healthiest “dressing” vegetable oils are cold-pressed ones , as they are rich in vitamin E, antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids still biologically active (not deteriorated by extraction processes). This group includes extra virgin olive oil , linseed oil , grape seed oil , corn oil , etc. Among those suitable for cooking, on the other hand, extra virgin olive oil and peanut oil are healthier (because they are mainly unsaturated but still resistant to high temperatures). I remind the kind readers that the consumption of oilseeds must be strictly correlated to that of the total oil in the diet; the increase of one should correspond to the decrease of the other ( lipids should not exceed 25-30% of the). In addition to the desirable chemical content, it is also essential that (to be defined as healthy foods) vegetable oils and oilseeds are in an excellent state of conservation; ESPECIALLY (but not only!) those rich in omega 3 , which tend to perish quickly if: exposed to light, heat and oxygen. Oilseeds are also sensitive to mold contamination.
  • Group 7 and 8: Vegetables and fruit. All the fresh ones are healthy foods of the 7th and 8th group; preserves with added salt or sugar should be used marginally and in VERY small portions. Even this set of foods, to be defined as healthy, must comply with the criterion of wholesomeness from the point of view of residues of agricultural treatments, contaminants, molds and parasites. Obviously, the level of maturation (or moment of sampling) must also be suitable to guarantee its nutritional intake. Above all, seasonal “short chain” vegetables and fruit are recommended , as they are less preserved and hypothetically more nutritious. Furthermore, although they are foods to be eaten in abundance, we must not forget that they contain anti-nutritional molecules (for example, oxalates ) which, if in excess, limit the absorption of certain minerals.


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