Guidelines for a healthy diet

Guidelines for a healthy diet


Diet is important to good health. However, the links are complex because our diet consists of different nutrients that can affect our health directly or in combination with each other. Various aspects of diet are important to health. Although there are some areas where evidence is incomplete or inconsistent, the following aspects of diet are known to be important for health.

High fiber – Reduces bowels cancer risks by up to 40 per cent. This may be due to the effect of fiber on bowel function – i.e. stools spend less time in the bowel, so there is less time for food-related chemicals and antigens to damage the bowel lining. Alternatively, it may be due to the creation of short-chain fatty acids when fiber is broken down which may make it harder for tumors to develop.
Fruit and vegetables – Reduces the risks of cancers, particularly of the upper GI tract. This may be because they are a good source of fiber (as above) or because they provide vitamins A, B, and C which appear to protect us against cancer.
Oily fish – Such as salmon and mackerel decreases the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Salt – Is associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer, which is more prevalent in countries that have a very salty diet. Such as Japan.
Red meat – Increases the risk of stomach and bowel cancer, particularly if the meat is processed e.g. bacon, salami. This increased risk is thought to be due to chemicals contained in red meat, such as haem, that will damage the bowel when broken down. Carcinogen are also created when meat is cooked at high temperatures.

Diets should be high in fiber: it should include such food-stuffs as fruit, vegetables, pulses, rice, and wholegrain foods.
Eat 5+ portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
Eat 2+ portions of oily fish a week.
Decrease the intake of red or processed meat.
Decrease the salt intake.
Avoid refined sugar.
Avoid saturated fats.
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