Thursday, June 2, 2011

5 New Rules to Healthy Eating For the New MyPlate Guide

In an effort to make healthy eating as simple and painless as possible, the U.S. government has just released their new food guide called MyPlate. According to First Lady Michelle Obama, “When it comes to eating, what’s more simple than a plate? This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating.” This is so true, and to go with the new guide are a set of simple rules we can all follow to help prevent disease and ward off overweight and obesity.

1. Eat the most nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient density is a measure of the amount of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre that are available per calorie in foods. Nutrient-poor or 'empty-calorie' food are foods like cookies and soda, for example, that just contain sugar or fat along with lots of calories and serve no nutritional purpose. These foods should be eaten less often as treats. This means that your plate should be filled with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean protein.

2. Eat fewer solid fats and added sugars. This one is a no brainer - sugars are empty calories and solid fats tend to be saturated and trans fats, which have a proven negative effect on our health. Choosing liquid fats more often, like olive and vegetable oils ensures that you will get more healthy, unsaturated fats in your diet along with the fat-soluble vitamins they carry.

3. Eat more seafood. Fish and seafood are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your keeping your heart and blood vessels, in addition to your brain, healthy. Most people don't eat enough fish, but even 1-2 servings a week instead of meat can make a massive difference to your health. In fact eating a 4 oz portion of fish twice a week has been shown to reduce the risk of having a fatal heart attack by 10 times!

4. Eat more red veggies. Along with orange and dark green ones. All of these veggies are rich in different antioxidants that ward off disease. Red veggies are rich in lycopene and vitamin C while orange ones are high in carotenoids. Green veggies are rich in chlorophyll and lutein among other nutrients.

5. Vegetarianism can be healthy. Just make sure you get enough protein (from sources like peas, beans, nuts and soy) and calcium (from soy, dark leafy greens and some fortified juices) in your diet from plant sources. Another important nutrient that vegetarians are often low in is B12, which can be found in nutritional yeast or from supplements. According to experts, “In looking at a variety of eating patterns around the world, we now recognize that vegetarian diets that include dairy and eggs, and vegan diets, can provide enough of the nutrients we need to be healthy,” .

And there you have it! While there are just a few new simple rules to follow, there is a whole wealth of information on the new website www.choosemyplate.gov including photos of sample portion sizes for all food groups! This site is really amazing and will hopefully help people all over the world, not just in the U.S., live healthier and disease-free for longer.

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