Consuming a healthy diet throughout the life-course helps to protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. However, people are consuming more foods high in energy, fats, free sugars and salt/sodium, and many people do not eat enough fruit, vegetables and other dietary fibre such as whole grains these days due to increased production of processed foods, rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles that led to a shift in dietary patterns.
The exact make-up of a diversified, balanced and healthy diet will vary depending on individual characteristics (e.g. age, gender, lifestyle and degree of physical activity), cultural context, locally available foods and dietary customs. But the basic principles of what constitutes a healthy diet remain the same.
A HEALTHY DIET for ADULTS:
A HEALTHY DIET for INFANT &YOUNG CHILDREN:
In the first 2 years of a child’s life, optimal nutrition fosters healthy growth and improves cognitive development. It also reduces the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing NCDs later in life. Advice on a healthy diet for infants and children is similar to that for adults, but the following elements are also important:
PRACTICAL ADVICE ON MAINTAINING A HEALTHY DIET
Fruit and vegetables
Eating at least 400 g, or five portions, of fruit and vegetables per day reduces the risk of NCDs and helps to ensure an adequate daily intake of dietary fibre. Fruit and vegetable intake can be improved by:
Reducing the amount of total fat intake to less than 30% of total energy intake helps to prevent unhealthy weight gain in the adult population. Also, the risk of developing NCDs is lowered by:
Fat intake, especially saturated fat and industrially-produced trans-fat intake, can be reduced by:
Salt, sodium and potassium
Most people consume too much sodium through salt as they are often unaware of the amount of salt they consume and not enough potassium. High sodium intake and insufficient potassium intake contribute to high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Reduced the salt intake of less than 5g per day by:
Some food manufacturers are reformulating recipes to reduce the sodium content of their products, and people should be encouraged to check nutrition labels to see how much sodium is in a product before purchasing or consuming it. Potassium can mitigate the negative effects of elevated sodium consumption on blood pressure. Intake of potassium can be increased by consuming fresh fruit and vegetables.
In both adults and children, the intake of free sugars should be reduced to less than 10% of total energy intake. A reduction to less than 5% of total energy intake would provide additional health benefits. Consuming free sugars increases the risk of dental caries (tooth decay). Excess calories from foods and drinks high in free sugars also contribute to unhealthy weight gain, which can lead to overweight and obesity. Recent evidence also shows that free sugars influence blood pressure and serum lipids, and suggests that a reduction in free sugars intake reduces risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
Sugars intake should be reduced by:
In short, Unhealthy Diet and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health.
Healthy Dietary Practices start early in life – breastfeeding fosters healthy growth and improves cognitive development, and may have longer term health benefits such as reducing the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing NCDs such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer later in life.
This above information is provided for education purposes only.
Source from World Health Organization
Posted On: 06/05/2020