Do you think a healthy lifestyle is a one-size-fits-all stuff for enjoying good health and live life to abundance? The answer is a resounding No No. What this means is that each of us will need to discover what are those healthy measures that are right for us and to incorporate them into our everyday practices in the quest for wellness and happiness.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea that it is not possible. In actual fact, we all have the ability to assess where we are at now and where we want to go. Therefore, whether we desire for weight loss, more energy, lower cholesterol or a healthier digestive system, it is just a matter to learn how to get there.
To start with our own health discovery, we could start from what to eat in order to stay healthy. You may want to know that The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have created a Dietary Guidelines for Americans (www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/) which I find is very useful for those who are aiming to stay fit and wanted to build a healthy base through healthy eating and healthy lifestyle. The published guidelines are comprehensive with most up-to-date and sound nutritional information, advice about choosing and preparing foods as well as how to live an active lifestyle that promotes health and prevent disease.
The following are the key recommendations that I noted:
- Foods variety – We should choose a variety of foods from the basic food groups that are nutrient dense.
- Limit the extras – We should limit saturated fats and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, sodium, and alcohol consumption. Try not to eat saturated fats that exceeded 10 percent of our daily calories. As for trans fats, we should limit it as much as possible.
- We should make sure that the fats come from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated sources such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils.
- We should only consume a small amount of added sugars or other sweeteners.
- We should consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
- The Caloric – We should balance caloric intake and let calories expended through physical activity to achieve a healthy weight. It is advisable to keep calories from fat to between 20 and 35 percent of our daily calories consumption.
- Physical Activity – We should aim to do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity daily physical activity to promote better physical health, achieve optimal body weight and mental health.
- Fruits and Vegetables – We should consume a variety of at least 2 cups of fruit and 21/2 cups of vegetables daily. Same as whole grains, fruits and vegetables are considered as high-fiber foods.
- Grain foodstuff – We should consume 3 ounces or more whole grains per day.
- Protein – We should consume about 3 cups low-fat or nonfat dairy products as a protein source. Lean proteins from beans, nuts, seeds, dairy products, fish, eggs, poultry, pork, and red meat should be our priority.
- Cholesterol – We should make sure that our cholesterol intake is less than 300 milligrams per day.
- Alcoholic – We should limit alcoholic beverages to one drink or less per day for women and two drinks or less per day for men. However, those with specific medical condition, pregnant or lactating women and children should avoid alcohol consumption.
To sum up, the ‘Dietary Guidelines’ is guiding us to focus on eating a healthy and plant-based diet and also to encourage us to develop a positive relationship with food and be a cautious and mindful eater as well.
I hope the above will serve as a handy reference for you to live a healthy and happy life.
Tan Kok Hui
Nutrition Made Simple, Life Made Rich