A healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy body weight and decrease your risk of many diet-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

A healthy diet should include a wide variety of nutritious foods for sufficient intake of all nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Foods to include in your daily diet are breads, pastas, lean meats, fish, fruits and vegetables.

In general, for a balanced, healthy meal, we should include a range of nutritious foods and eat:

Plenty of breads and cereals (particularly wholegrain), fruit, vegetables and legumes (such as chickpeas, lentils and red kidney beans), low-salt foods, and use salt sparingly, small amounts of foods that contain added sugars, reduced-fat milk and other dairy products. It is also important to drink an adequate amount of water.

Physical activity and healthy eating

In our mission to maintain healthy eating, and bison healthy living, we must ensure that we strike a good balance between exercise and food intake. Appropriate physical is important, as this helps to maintain muscle strength and a healthy body weight. At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, such as walking, is recommended every day.

Regulate your fat intake

Adult diets should be low in fat, especially saturated fat. Saturated fat, which is the main fat in animal products, fried foods, chocolate, cakes and biscuits, is more easily deposited as fat tissue than unsaturated fat. Saturated fat can also be converted into cholesterol and cause blood cholesterol levels to rise.

Dietary fat helps with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Small amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats may have some health benefits when they are part of a healthy diet. Monounsaturated fats are found in nuts, olive oil and avocados, and may help to lower the bad type of cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL).

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Polyunsaturated fats are generally thought to lower blood cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, nuts and seeds, are thought to have an anti-clotting effect on the blood, to reduce the risk of heart disease and to possibly lower blood pressure.

Eat and drink less energy dense foods

The total amount of energy-dense (high-kilojoule) foods you eat may be as important as the total amount of fat in your diet. To reduce the energy density of your diet, you need to increase the amount of plant foods, such as wholegrain breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables that you eat.

This will provide essential nutrients, help to make you feel ‘full’ and also reduce the amount of fat in your diet. High energy drinks such as sports drinks, cordials, soft drinks, fruit juice, energy drinks should also be limited.

Eat foods rich in calcium and iron

It is important for all women to eat foods which contain iron and calcium. In particular:

Calcium – is important for bone health, especially for infants, women and girls.

Iron – carries oxygen around the body and is especially important for women, girls, vegetarians and athletes to reduce the risk of anaemia.

Apart from eating foods rich in calcium and iron, where a deficiency is noticed, a dietary supplement containing both may come in handy.

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