These 8 practical tips cover the basics of healthy eating and can help you make healthier choices.
The key to a healthy diet is to eat the right amount of calories for how active you are so you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use.
If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you'll put on weight because the energy you do not use is stored as fat. If you eat and drink too little, you'll lose weight.
You should also eat a wide range of foods to make sure you're getting a balanced diet and your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
It's recommended that men have around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). Women should have around 2,000 calories a day (8,400 kilojoules).
Most adults in the UK are eating more calories than they need and should eat fewer calories.
1. Base your meals on higher fiber starchy carbohydrates
Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals.
Choose higher fibre or wholegrain varieties, such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice or potatoes with their skins on.
They contain more fiber than white or refined starchy carbohydrates and can help you feel full for longer.
Try to include at least 1 starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram the carbohydrate they contain provides fewer than half the calories of fat.
Keep an eye on the fats you add when you're cooking or serving these types of foods because that's what increases the calorie content – for example, oil on chips, butter on bread and creamy sauces on pasta.
2. Eat lots of fruit and veg
It's recommended that you eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.
Getting your 5 A Day is easier than it sounds. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit?
A portion of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables is 80g. A portion of dried fruit (which should be kept to mealtimes) is 30g.
A 150ml glass of fruit juice, vegetable juice or smoothie also counts as 1 portion, but limit the amount you have to no more than 1 glass a day as these drinks are sugary and can damage your teeth.
3. Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish
Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals.
Aim to eat at least 2 portions of fish a week, including at least 1 portion of oily fish.
Oily fish are high in omega-3 fats, which may help prevent heart disease.
Oily fish include:
Non-oily fish include:
You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned, but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.
Most people should be eating more fish, but there are recommended limits for some types of fish.
4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
You need some fat in your diet, but it's important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat you're eating.
There are 2 main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.
On average, men should have no more than 30g of saturated fat a day. On average, women should have no more than 20g of saturated fat a day.
Children under the age of 11 should have less saturated fat than adults, but a low-fat diet is not suitable for children under 5.
Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as:
fatty cuts of meat
Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish and avocados.
For a healthier choice, use a small amount of vegetable or olive oil, or reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee.
When you're having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.
All types of fat are high in energy, so they should only be eaten in small amounts.
Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay.
Sugary foods and drinks are often high in energy (measured in kilojoules or calories), and if consumed too often can contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals.
Free sugars are any sugars added to foods or drinks, or found naturally in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies.
This is the type of sugar you should be cutting down on, rather than the sugar found in fruit and milk.
Many packaged foods and drinks contain surprisingly high amounts of free sugars.
Free sugars are found in many foods, such as:
sugary fizzy drinks
sugary breakfast cereals
pastries and puddings
sweets and chocolate
Food labels can help. Use them to check how much sugar foods contain.
More than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g means the food is high in sugar, while 5g of total sugars or less per 100g means the food is low in sugar.
5. Eat less salt: no more than 6g a day for adults
Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.
Even if you do not add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much.
About three-quarters of the salt you eat is already in the food when you buy it, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces.
Use food labels to help you cut down. More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt.
Adults and children aged 11 and over should eat no more than 6g of salt (about a teaspoonful) a day. Younger children should have even less.
6. Get active and be a healthy weight
As well as eating healthily, regular exercise may help reduce your risk of getting serious health conditions. It's also important for your overall health and wellbeing.
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.
Most adults need to lose weight by eating fewer calories.
If you're trying to lose weight, aim to eat less and be more active. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Check whether you're a healthy weight by using the BMI healthy weight calculator.
Start the NHS weight loss plan, a 12-week weight loss guide that combines advice on healthier eating and physical activity.
If you're underweight, see underweight adults. If you're worried about your weight, ask your GP or a dietitian for advice.
7. Do not get thirsty
You need to drink plenty of fluids to stop you getting dehydrated. The government recommends drinking 6 to 8 glasses every day. This is in addition to the fluid you get from the food you eat.
All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water, lower fat milk and lower sugar drinks, including tea and coffee, are healthier choices.
Try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks, as they're high in calories. They're also bad for your teeth.
Even unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies are high in free sugar.
Your combined total of drinks from fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies should not be more than 150ml a day, which is a small glass.
Remember to drink more fluids during hot weather or while exercising.
8. Do not skip breakfast
Some people skip breakfast because they think it'll help them lose weight.
But a healthy breakfast high in fibre and low in fat, sugar and salt can form part of a balanced diet, and can help you get the nutrients you need for good health.
A wholegrain lower sugar cereal with semi-skimmed milk and fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and healthier breakfast.
The National Institute of Health estimates that 18% of Americans suffer from anxiety. Anxiety is caused by many factors and can be treated in some people by medication.
Did you know that foods can cause anxiety and anxiety like symptoms? Some of the most popular foods we enjoy might just be causing your anxiety.
With your doctor’s help and an elimination diet, you may be able to stop taking medications by eliminating one or all of these 11 anxiety-causing foods.
You won’t believe what foods make the list. In fact, you might be eating or drinking one of them right now.
Caffeine might make you feel wide awake and full of energy, but it can also lead to anxiety. First, caffeine depresses serotonin in your brain, and this makes you feel depressed and irritable. Second, caffeine makes you urinate more frequently.
This can cause dehydration, leading to depression. Third, caffeine can interfere with sleep cycles and that causes stress.
Avoid coffee, soda, and hot chocolate as much as possible. You may sleep better and won’t feel as jittery.
Sugar causes anxiety as it spikes your blood sugar. Your body increases insulin production and that makes you feel tired.
Fruit juice is just as bad as soda when it comes to adding sugar immediately into your system. Once you lose fruit from fruit juice, you are drinking sugar water.
Sweets, cakes, and other treats might make you feel good while you are eating them, but afterwards, you’ll be dropped and feel anxious afterward. Do yourself a favor and try to avoid sugar.
3. Hidden Sugar
While you are avoiding sweets and sodas, don’t forget that sugar hides under a dozen different names. Almost every processed food on the shelf contains sugar.
Spaghetti sauce, catsup, lowfat yogurt, granola, and vitamin water are just a few examples.
Sugar increases your cortisol and adrenaline levels. Cortisol is associated with your body’s stress response and adrenaline makes you feel jittery. Both add up to feelings of anxiety. Read labels to help your anxiety levels.
4. White Flour
Speaking of sugar, white flour is included as a hidden sugar. It is basically a starch and your body processes that into sugar.
Eating sandwiches, cakes, donuts, and other foods made of white flour will spike your blood sugar, increase cortisone and adrenaline and bring on feelings of anxiety.
Many of these products add insult to injury with lots of sugary fillings and toppings, trans fats and chemicals that make it shelf stable. Eat whole grains to keep down your anxiety levels.
Since alcohol is a depressant, you can expect alcohol to cause anxiety. It might make you feel temporarily better, but…. Alcohol causes insomnia. You fall asleep easily but as the alcohol wears off, sleep quality declines. You might have bad dreams or panic attacks.
Alcohol causes dehydration and that, as we know, leads to depression.
You might feel more social if you drink, but alcohol depresses serotonin levels, increasing anxiety.
Drinking won’t help your anxiety and it will make it worse.
6. Proccessed Food
Processed foods are linked to depression. Trans fats like hydrogenated oils are linked to depression and anxiety. You’ll find trans fats in baked goods and snacks, fried food, refrigerator dough, non-dairy creamer and margarine.
Read labels since companies don’t have to include trans fats if their levels are below 0.5g per serving. Look for the terms “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” in the ingredient list. Also try to use reduced fat dairy instead of full fat dairy as it is lower in naturally occurring trans fats.
7. Energy Drinks
How about a boost of energy with a side of depression and anxiety? Energy drinks fit that bill exactly. Loaded with caffeine, sugar, and chemicals, these drinks can cause abnormal heart rhythms and sleep issues. Both those increase feelings of anxiety and depression.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that artificial sugars are any better for you. Research suggests there is a link between sugar and artificial sugars and depression. Plus, artificial sweeteners make you crave calories, and the cycle continues.
8. MSG and Gluten
Gluten and MSG have been linked to anxiety in sensitive people. MSG is a gluten derivative. Gluten is found naturally in wheat products (see white flour). MSG is a flavor enhancer and is found in processed foods, Asian food, and frozen meals. Soy sauce often contains both gluten and MSG.
Researchers have found that people with untreatable anxiety respond very well to a gluten-free diet, suggesting that there is a direct correlation between the two.
9. Preserved Foods
The time-honored practice of aging, fermenting, curing and smoking foods has provided humanity with food through lean times and some really tasty meals.
The process of preserving foods creates biogenic animes. These byproducts of bacterial action include histamine. In some people, histamine increases adrenaline levels and causes anxiety and insomnia.
If you notice problems with digestion, your heart, or nervous system after eating or drinking preserved food, you may be sensitive to histamines. Avoid these foods to keep down your anxiety levels.
Dairy contains a protein called casein. Casein provides baby mammals with amino acids, carbohydrates, and two essential elements, calcium and phosphorus. You’ll find it in high protein dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream.
Casein has been linked to several conditions including depression. Not everyone is sensitive to casein, so you’ll need to try a 30-day elimination diet to see if high-protein milk products increase your anxiety. You may be able to reintroduce it later with no side effects!
If you’ve eliminated everything above from your diet and still feel anxious, you may be sensitive to plants in the nightshade family. Edible nightshade plants include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and goji berries.
These plants contain a natural pesticide called glycoalkaloids. A side effect of eating these plants is an overstimulation of the nervous system.
It takes five days to clear glycoalkaloids from your system. Edible nightshades are found in a lot of products, from potato starch to spices like paprika.
Some of the triggers of anxiety are directly related to food. Dehydration, depressed serotonin, and increased cortisol and adrenaline levels can contribute to or mimic the signs of anxiety.
Caffeine has caused panic attacks in people with panic disorder. Adrenaline can make you sweaty, lightheaded and your heart pound. Even changing blood sugar levels can make you feel bad.
By eliminating some of these foods, you might be able to decrease or even eliminate your anxiety symptoms. A simple elimination diet may make you feel better, and even if it doesn’t, getting rid of many of these foods will improve your overall health.
If you’re going to get hooked on any spice, make it ginger. Of course, there are tons of great spices that offer significant health benefits, but it’s tough to top ginger for the sheer number of positive attributes. And unlike other popular daily supplements, it tastes great, too. (We’re looking at you, apple cider vinegar.)
The reason that ginger is so good for you is down to a compound called gingerol. This substance is anti-inflammatory, which means it can relieve pain and swelling. It is also an antioxidant that neutralizes harmful free radicals in the body. This can reduce your lifetime risk of cancer.
We think you’ll be surprised by what happens and how good you can feel. From the lifetime goal of #4, to the support that #8 offers for a really difficult undertaking, ginger can seriously be like your best friend.
1. Conquer Acid Reflux
Acid reflux can occur based on the type of meal you ate, or simply due to your particular anatomy. Some people are especially prone to it. In any case, it is painful and disruptive! Ginger is so good at reducing acid reflux that its active substances are used in acid reflux medications.
Some research indicates that consuming ginger every day, whether in a special tea or in your food, can eliminate acid reflux all together.
2. Reduce Inflammation All Over Your Body
Inflammation is a defense mechanism that is useful when an injured or infected portion of the body needs to be isolated to limit damage to other areas. However, the inflammatory process isn’t very good at recognizing when that inflammation is helpful and when it just hurts.
So people with chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis can experience a lot of relief from eating ginger. This same capacity makes ginger good for healing after injuries of all kinds.
3. Minimize Your Cancer Risk
Ginger is being studied extensively for its effect on cancer cells. Research has shown that it kills ovarian cancer cells more quickly and safely than chemotherapy drugs. That’s incredible news, as chemotherapy tends to cause as many health concerns as it solves.
Ginger has also been found to prevent colon and intestinal inflammation, which is a risk factor for cancers of those body parts. Watch for the results of ongoing studies on ginger and cancer!
4. Improved Digestion
Ginger doesn’t just quell acid reflux and reduce inflammation in your intestines. It can also soothe nausea. Part of the reason is that ginger is a natural antibiotic that can knock out the harmful bacteria that cause stomach upset.
Ginger is also good for stimulating saliva, which is an integral part of the digestive process. Whether you have a bug, are pregnant and experiencing morning sickness, or simply ate something that didn’t agree with you, ginger can be a real lifeline.
5. Relieve And Avoid Headaches
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger are also helpful in treating the most common complaint of the human condition – headaches. Many over-the-counter headache medicines are in fact simply anti-inflammatories rather than actual pain relievers.
Ginger is a natural way of achieving the same end, but without the side effects of chemical formulations. In fact, studies show that eating ginger every day has the potential to stop you from getting headaches all together, even migraines.
6. Weight Loss
Weight loss is a tricky thing to accomplish. The body looks at stored fat as its emergency reserve, and really prefers not to burn it. Diet plays a big part, but a lot of the blame for your weight also goes to genetics. So it’s important to work with your body in the effort to lose weight, and ginger can be an excellent source of support.
Ginger is known to keep your metabolism chugging along, which is important because intensive dieting often slows it down. Once your metabolism slows, you are likely to regain all the weight you lost once you stop dieting. A daily dose of ginger can help prevent this problem.
7. Reduced Muscle Pain And Soreness
Another common kind of pain is muscle soreness, often caused by exercise or daily exertion. Studies have shown that ginger can help here, too. However, it doesn’t tend to immediately relieve muscle pain.
Rather, ginger taken daily can reduce the level of pain that develops and shorten the duration of healing when your muscles do become sore.
With all these incredible health benefits, we’re having trouble coming up with a reason NOT to eat some ginger every day. And what’s more, ginger can be effective whether raw or cooked, fresh or dried.
With a sweet and slightly spicy flavor, ginger is ideal for use in baked goods, stir fries, and fruit salads. It’s also tasty enough to stand on its own in an herbal tea. Any way you take it, ginger is a great daily habit to have.
Coconut which is often regarded as the ‘holy’ fruit in Indian Hindu Mythology actually comes with many incredible health benefits. Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) whose meat and water has been used in almost every Indian ritual for decades. The South Indian state of ‘Kerela’ is blessed with the highest number of coconut trees and coconut production. Other major coconut growing states are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh with more than 90 percent of area and production. Moreover, coconuts have been grown in tropical regions for more than 4,500 years but recently saw an increase in popularity for its flavor, culinary uses, and potential health benefits. But very few people know that coconut can actually help in controlling major diseases like diabetes, heart health and promote blood sugar control.
Let’s know about the unknown health benefits’ of coconut.
It's highly nutritious than you think
The coconut meat and water contains protein, several important minerals, and small amounts of B vitamins. However, they’re not a significant source of most other vitamins.
Moreover, the minerals in coconut are involved in many functions in your body. Coconuts are especially high in manganese which is essential for bone health and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol.
Here are the nutrition facts for raw and dried coconut meat.
Raw coconut meat Dried coconut meat
Calories 354 650
Protein 3 grams 7.5 grams
Carbs 15 grams 25 grams
Fiber 9 grams 18 grams
Fat 33 grams 65 grams
Copper 22% of the DV 40% of the DV
Selenium 14% of the DV 26% of the DV
Magnesium 8% of the DV 23% of the DV
Iron 13% of the DV 18% of the DV
Coconut is Good for Heart Health
As per reports, consuming virgin coconut oil, which is extracted from dried coconut meat, may reduce belly fat. This is especially beneficial because excess belly fat increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
As per reports, a study in 20 people with obesity found the waist size of male participants decreased by an average of about 1 inch (about 3 cm) after they consumed 1 ounce (30 ml) of virgin coconut oil daily for 4 weeks. The female participants did not experience a significant reduction.
Coconut Promotes Blood Sugar Control
As coconut is low in carbs and high in fiber and fat, so it may help stabilize your blood sugar. The report says that the high fiber content of coconut meat can also help slow digestion and improve insulin resistance which can help regulate blood sugar levels as well.
Coconut Contains Powerful Antioxidants
As per reports, coconut meat contains phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants that may help protect cells from oxidative damage. The main phenolic compounds identified include.
Enhance Your Skin and Hair Health
It’s not a new thing to tell. Coconut water helps you to get healthy hair and skin and Malayali people are a bright example of that.
Cold and cough are very common in winters and they are very annoying. Cough and cold infections usually get better within a couple of days or sometimes weeks without any treatment. By taking little precautions and by following a healthy diet plan you can easily get rid of cough and cold this winter. All you need to know is - foods or drinks to eat and avoid during cough and cold. So let's begin
What to Eat in Cough and Cold - Fruits & Vegetables
There are many fruits and vegetables that are really very helpful in curing cold and flu infections. Here are some of them;
'An apple a day keeps the doctor away' is not just a saying; this fruit actually helps in preventing illnesses like common cold. Apple contains phytochemical antioxidants, as per a study published in the Nutrition Journal. These antioxidants help improve your immunity and also reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
It must be noted that Vitamin C plays a vital role in supporting your immune system. According to studies, bell peppers can also help get rid of cold quicker and faster. People usually turn to oranges to get vitamin C intake but don’t forget that peppers too has a generous amount in it. They are very versatile and can be easily included in your diet in form of salads, pasta dishes etc.
Blueberries are full of antioxidants that are well-known for their anti-aging effects. But, antioxidants are also helpful in protecting your body from infection & diseases and hence they are the perfect remedy to cough and cold.
Spinach is a healthy vegetable and is said to be great for your overall health. It is not only packed with digestion-regulating fiber, but spinach also contains vitamin C. And as we told before also that Vitamin C is a powerful nutrient that can help in preventing common cold & help reduce symptoms of sickness.
Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain high immunity-boosting nutrients. Eggs have high amount of vitamin D - a vitamin that is very important in regulating as well as strengthening immunity.
Garlic is known as one of the best cold-curing foods. It is a powerful antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral & antibiotic properties. For cold and cough, garlic also offers decongestant & expectorant effects.
You can also drink fluids like
Honey and lemon tea
Food to avoid in Cough and cold
Fried snacks such as nuggets, pakoras and chips are high in fat and is not good for health. If you consume these fried snacks on regular basis then it will make your immune system weak. Hence avoid all fried items when you are having cough and cold.
Caffeinated drinks has to be avoided when you have cough and cold as they are dehydrating. Caffeinated drinks that you should not drink include coffee, energy drinks, cola drinks and tea.
Alcohol is never good for health but during cold and flu it worsens your health. Alcohol too is a dehydrating drink and that's why it should be avoided. Moreover, it affects the working of the immune system & drinking too much of alcohol makes you more likely to get infection.
Milk and dairy
It is said that milk & dairy products increases congestion and hence it must be avoided during cough and cold. Dairy products such as curd, butter etc raises the intensity of mucus. When you eat dairy products in cold and flu, there will be more mucus production that will further lead to breathing problem & headache.