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What is eating healthy

Eating healthy is the foundation of living a healthy lifestyle. It is eating from the five (5) food groups which are dairy, meat, grains, fruits and vegetables, on a daily basis. These foods all contain one or more of the nutrients our bodies need, which are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

The basic recommended serving per group by the USDA are dairy 2-3 servings, meats 2-3 servings, grains 6-11 servings, fruits 2-4 servings and vegetables 3-5 servings per day. However, it is very important that you speak with your doctor or dietitian (especially if you have specific health problems) about helping you decide on a food plan that is well balanced and suitable for you. You are unique and individual and as such, you may require more of certain foods and less of others, depending on your current health status and how active you are, amongst other things.

Eating meals rich in protein (fish, meat, eggs, poultry), nuts, seeds and fresh raw fruits and vegetables, will ensure our bodies a higher proportion of natural vitamins and minerals, and less synthetic. Let us try to use the most natural ingredients in our diets. We should not be frying our foods but if we have to, let us use natural oils - olive, corn, sunflower seed etc. Also, let us use more honey, whole grain and wheat (especially wheat germ).

It is so important to take control of what we can, as many factors that inhibit healthy living, is beyond our control. Air pollution for example, which is caused by hydrocarbons, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and other general air pollutants are constantly being emitted in the air we breathe. Due to various bureaucracies throughout the world, eliminating these hazards are unrealistic. Therefore, we have to make it our priority to eat healthy diets.

While eating the right foods, exercising, practicing good hygiene etc. will not totally eliminate the risks of pollutants entering our bodies, they will strengthen our bodies and make us more resistant to air pollution and other health hazards. This is totally possible as each of us 'can' make this decision to eat the right foods in the right proportion.

Food Tips to Help Maintain a Healthy Weight

Substitute vegetables, fruits and other lower-calorie foods - low fat dairy products, lean meats and cheeses, whole grains, and reduced sugar foods - for calorie-dense foods such as french fries, cheeseburgers, pizza, ice cream, doughnuts and other sweets.

Use evaporated (skim or whole) milk instead of higher-fat cream in baked goods, sauces and soups.

Use reduced-fat or fat-free yogurt to replace all or part of the sour cream - or mayonnaise in a recipe. Replace part of ricotta cheese with reduced-fat cottage cheese. Use a puree of cooked potatoes, onion, and celery as a creamy base for soups instead of cream or half-and-half.

Use low-fat cooking methods like roasting, baking, broiling, steaming or poaching. Limit deep-fat frying and sautéing in a lot of oil, butter or margarine. Use a cooking spray, broth or water to sauté meats.

Water plays a major role in our diet, and while it does not have any food value, it is essential to our survival. It keeps our bodies adequately hydrated, and is the most plentiful substance in our bodies. Water allows the foods that we eat to be distributed throughout our bodies. It flushes out toxins and waste from our systems. Because the body cannot store water, we must constantly replenish it. For more on the benefits of drinking water, see why drink lots of water.

Foods and other oral intakes are always best in their purest forms, but water is even more urgently needed to be in its purest form as our bodies need and use a lot more water than anything else we intake so as to carry out our body's many functions, including maintaining our normal blood pressure. We therefore need to make sure our drinking water supply is not contaminated. See checking purity of drinking water for tips on how to purify your water.

About The USDA Food Pyramid

The USDA Food Pyramid is a great way to assess or customize your daily food group intake. Each section of the pyramid represents a food group; the size of the group corresponds to the number of recommended servings. The base of the pyramid represents the grain group. These are carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, cereal, rice and pasta. You should eat 6 -11 servings per day of these foods. The next tier of the pyramid includes fruits and vegetables. You should eat 3 - 5 servings of vegetables per day and 2 - 4 servings of fruits per day. These are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber. The next level is protein - meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs. You should eat 2 - 3 servings of foods from the milk group per day, and 2 - 3 servings of foods from the meat, egg, bean and nut group per day. The top level of the pyramid is fats, oils and sweets; these should be used sparingly.

The pyramid consists of a variety of foods to eat so as to get all of the nutrients your body need, and has included the right amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight. If you are a weight watcher you should eat the minimum number of recommended servings. If you would like to gain weight you should eat the maximum number of servings. Most serving sizes are smaller than you think, so be sure to read the food labels carefully to determine the accurate portion size.

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