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HEALTHY LIFE TIPS
vegetables in a bag

What is healthy nutrition?

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” said by Hippocrates (400 BC), one of the most renounces fathers of ancient Greek medicine. He wished to highlight the juncture between nutrition and health. Even back in the early day’s food was not only for the purpose of nutrition but also used to cure some illnesses.

Health, as known today, is a multidimensional concept that does not only covered by the meaning “lack of illness” but also a strong physical and mental state (1). Lifestyles, opportunities, and feelings that make people feel integrated, alive and able to enjoy in a healthy manner also makes reference to health (2). Nutrition habits and lifestyles have a great impact on your state of health.

Scientists of nutrition have shown many times and in a constant manner that diet that adapt to these objectives are those which principally consist of fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and a moderate consumption of animal products. Recommended healthy diets follow the paths of traditional Mediterranean diets. These diets put emphasis on integral food that is minimally processed like: vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils (extra virgin olive oil) (3). Some authors have come to the conclusion that there is a correlation between Mediterranean diets and its beneficial health benefits which explain the specific effect of singled out components.

 

Mediterranean Diet

Makes reference to the common ways and traditions of eating found in countries that border the sea.

table with vegetables and kitchen utensils
baked fish

The diet consists of vegetables mixed in with some animal produce and fish, as well as, some sweets, red meats and processed meats with reasonable moderation.

toast

Associated to cultures that emphasize health related to food, physical activity, gatherings, and moderate consumption of wine.

This diet has been well researched and is associated with many health benefits cardiovascular wise, for metabolic syndromes, diabetes, neurodegenerative illnesses, cancer, and others.

chopped cheese and vegetables
table with vegetables and kitchen utensils

Makes reference to the common ways and traditions of eating found in countries that border the sea.

baked fish

The diet consists of vegetables mixed in with some animal produce and fish, as well as, some sweets, red meats and processed meats with reasonable moderation.

toast

Associated to cultures that emphasize health related to food, physical activity, gatherings, and moderate consumption of wine.

chopped cheese and vegetables

This diet has been well researched and is associated with many health benefits cardiovascular wise, for metabolic syndromes, diabetes, neurodegenerative illnesses, cancer, and others

outdoor cafe

Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Spain, Italy, and France seem enjoy a longer life span. These differences, compared to other countries can not only be due to genetic factors, but also it seems to heavily rely on environmental factors in which diet takes an important role for it demonstrates protective factors (essential and non-essential nutrients) against oxidative stress and carcinogenesis.

One study in Greece determined that common practice of a Mediterranean diet reduces cardiovascular problems and mortality rate by 30% after 10 years, with a reduction of cardiometabolic factors, like insulin resistance and glucose metabolism, as well as reducing bad “LDL”. Triglycerides, abdominal adipose tissue, and high blood pressure are also drastically lowered.

Another study that took place in 2019 found that the consumption of healthy foods is    below optimal levels in the human population. The researchers informed that most of the population consumes more unhealthy foods when compared to healthy ones. This causing the mortality rate of bad nutrition higher than even those caused by the consumption of tobacco.   

Guidelines for a healthy diet

grains, fruits and vegetables

Whole grains

6-8 a day

5+ a day from a rainbow of colors

Vegetables

 

1 or more dark green leaves

1 starchy vegetable (examples: potato, banana, yucca)

3-5 a day

blackberries on white background

Fruits

Include blackberries at least 3 times a week

Protein sources

Eggs 3 - 4 per week

Seek to increase protein derived from plant sources, such as legumes and beans, soy foods (tofu, tempeh), nuts, and unsalted seeds.

If you eat meat, limit it to 6 servings a week from a variety of sources:

2–3 a week fish / shellfish (6 oz. [170 g] serving)

2–4 per week lean meat / skinless poultry (3 oz. [90 g] portion)

Dairy

1–3 low-fat or fat-free per day
2–3 teaspoons a day

Sweets

Try dark chocolate made of at least 70
percent cocoa or more, and watch the sugar content.

chocolate bar

Fats and oils

Limit to one serving or less when it is not extra virgin olive oil or some other vegetable source
moderately should represent only 5–10 percent of daily calories

Drinks

Water, enough to stay hydrated

(it is recommended to aim for eight glasses a day)

Coffee or tea to taste

1 serving of wine / alcohol per day, to taste

Salt

1 TOTAL teaspoon per day (includes salt from prepared foods, so check food labels)
1,500–2,300 mg sodium

salt

Guidelines for a healthy diet

grains, fruits and vegetables

Whole grains

6–8 a day

5+ a day from a rainbow of colors

Vegetables

1 or more dark green leaves

1 starchy vegetable (examples: potato, banana, yucca)

3-5 a day

Fruits

Include blackberries at least 3 times a week

blackberries on white background

Protein sources

Eggs 3 - 4 per week

Seek to increase protein derived from plant sources, such as legumes and beans, soy foods (tofu, tempeh), nuts, and unsalted seeds.

If you eat meat, limit it to 6 servings a week from a variety of sources:

2–3 a week fish / shellfish (6 oz. [170 g] serving)

2–4 per week lean meat / skinless poultry (3 oz. [90 g] portion)

Dairy

1–3 low-fat or fat-free per day
2–3 teaspoons a day

Sweets

Try dark chocolate made of at least 70 percent cocoa or more, and watch the sugar content.

chocolate bar

Fats and oils

Limit to one serving or less when it is not extra virgin olive oil or some other vegetable source.
Moderately, should represent only 5–10 percent of daily calories

 

Drinks

Drinks Water, enough to stay hydrated

(it is recommended to aim for eight glasses a day)

Coffee or tea to taste

1 serving of wine / alcohol per day, to taste

Salt

1 TOTAL teaspoon per day (includes salt from prepared foods, so check food labels)
1,500–2,300 mg sodium

salt

No food is forbidden, everything fits in a healthy diet, but with one caveat: some foods must be eaten very limited, hence its nickname of "special occasion" foods.

Generally, foods for special occasions are the worst
for waist circumference and health. Savor them
guilt-free when you give in to temptation,
but save them for a few times a month:

Desserts and foods sweetened with sugar.

French fries and processed snacks.

Refined grains, such as white bread or pasta.

Fried or high-fat dishes.

Processed meats and sausages (bacon, salami).

Carbonated drinks or fruit juices.

sandwiches

Generally, foods for special occasions are the worst
for waist circumference and health. Savor them
guilt-free when you give in to temptation,
but save them for a few times a month:

Desserts and foods sweetened with sugar

French fries and processed snacks

Refined grains, such as white bread or pasta

Fried or high-fat dishes

Processed meats and sausages (bacon, salami)

Carbonated drinks or fruit juices

sandwiches

This dietary model has been recommended by different organizations as a good example of a prudent and healthy diet, as there seems to be a great deal of agreement with what is currently considered optimal nutrition. The diet, which is also extremely palatable, can be a guide adapted to the availability of food and the eating habits of each group for all those people (most healthy adults) who wish to improve their diet.

In 2020, we can expect new ideas about how and why we eat. Fad diets and fast-losing regimes will continue to lose popularity, supplanted by more holistic and sustainable concepts such as intuitive and healthy eating, which reject many of the principles of fad diets as “good foods” and “bad foods”

The Mediterranean diet is a more traditional style of eating that incorporates a wide range of nutrient-rich foods, it is not a “diet.” The Mediterranean diet has been well researched and has been shown to be associated with many health benefits, primarily heart health. And there may be more than just “health” to the traditional Mediterranean way of life. People who live in regions where the diet originates tend to enjoy a lifestyle that values ​​nutritious food alongside physical activity, social gatherings, and relaxation, all of which can positively influence health. In addition, there are studies that indicate that the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet are replicable in countries outside the Mediterranean basin.

mussels and bottle of wine

Lic. Rosemary Nacimiento-Nutricionista Clínico del centro Médico de Caracas

References:
  1. Blazquez Gemma et al. Healthy eating and self-perception Aten Primaria. 2016 Oct; 48 (8): 535–542.
  2. Nutrition and Dietetics Manual Nutrition and Dietetics Manual Ángeles Carbajal Azcona. Nutrition Department. Faculty of Pharmacy, Complutense University of Madrid https://www.ucm.es/nutricioncarbajal/ 2017
  3. https://askthescientists.com/en/diet-vs-lifestyle/
  1. Shafqat Ahmad, M. Vinayaga Moorthy, Olga V. Demler, Assessment of Risk Factors and Biomarkers Associated With Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Among Women Consuming a Mediterranean Diet JAMA Netw Open. 2018; 1 (8): e185708.
  2. https://spanish.foodinsight.org/dieta-y-salud/cuatro-consejos-para-comer-sano-sin-hac
  3. Dussailant Catalina et al. Current evidence on health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Rev Medi Chilena. 2016; 144: 1044-1056
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