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Health 30 March 2017
By: Natasha Tanga

7 Practical Tips to Achieve A Healthier Diet

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As in the case of most people, often times we strive to achieve a better livelihood. That is usually the reason why we enroll ourselves in frequent exercises and sporting activities. Though, the main thing is to rethink your decisions of doing so: are you using your gym activities as an excuse to drop by McDonald's drive through anyway? Are we aware of what we are consuming on our plates also affects our whole bodily function? Let us guide you through the steps that you can do to have a better diet.

1. Cut Saturated Fat in Your Diet

There is a big misconception about fat. Most people avoid them like they are the villain that triggers & causes a lot of diseases. The truth is that we all need to consume fat, but it's important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat we're eating. There are two main types: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.

In general, average man should have no more than 30g saturated fat a day, while average woman should have no more than 20g saturated fat a day. Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake, and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.

2. Reduce Sugar Consumptions

Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay. Sugary foods and drinks, including alcoholic drinks, are often high in energy and if eaten too often, can contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals. It helps to check food labels to see how much sugar they contain, since many packaged foods and drinks contain surprisingly high amounts of added sugars: the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on, rather than sugars that are found in natural things such as fruit and milk.

3. Try to Consume Less Salt

Although iodine found in salt is important for health, especially to regulate your endocrine system, eating too much of it can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Even if you don’t 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 snacks, canned foods, soups, and sauces. Again, use food labels to help you cut down. Adults and children over 11 should eat no more than 6g of salt (about a teaspoonful) a day.

4. Add Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet

Fruit and vegetables are rich in fibre, as well as vitamins and minerals which keep the body healthy. They also contain antioxidants, such as beta carotene and vitamin C. These are important to protect against damaging chemicals that get into the body. Fibre, on the other hand, can help to control cholesterol levels and keep blood sugar levels steady. Eating fruit and vegetables can help to replace other foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar, which further helps to reduce our risk of these diet-related diseases.

5. Rehydrate yourself often

We need to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration – in average, we should drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day. This is in addition to the fluid we get from the food we eat. Try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks, since they are high in added sugars, calories and are also bad for teeth. During warmer days or when we get active, we may need more fluid intake than the amount stated above.

6. Don't skip breakfast

A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that people who regularly eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight. Starting our day with a filled stomach is crucial, since it has been shown to have positive effects on mental performance and increased concentration throughout the morning.

7. Control Your Portions

This one is almost a no-brainer but more often than not, we are carried away while eating. It might not be a problem to eat a lot of apples and broccolis, but you might want to be wary of eating those slices of pizza. Higher calorie foods are the ones to keep an eye for as they are packed with more 'waste' than 'benefits' for your body.

It is also helpful to check their serving sizes on food labels. Some packages claim to contain more than one serving, so you have to double or triple the calories, grams of fat and milligrams of sodium if you’re planning to eat the whole package.

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