Healthy Food

What to eat?

Harvard’s School of Public Health has published in brief an excellent commentary on what people should eat:

  • mostly fruit and vegetables – go for color and variety,
  • whole grains – Oats (steel cut*), brown rice, wheat berries – not white rice, white bread and other refined grains,
  • fats – good unsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts, seeds and fish, and in moderation saturated fats such as red meat and cheese,
  • proteins – such as fish, poultry, beans and nuts, but limit red meat and steer clear of all processed meats,
  • drink water – no sugary beverages,
  • watch salt, alcohol and artificial vitamin intakes, and be physically active and don’t become overweight.

Drink water – not sugary beverages

It is more about making sure your body is kept hydrated. Take note of the following:

  • drink a plentiful supply of quality water about 4 litres for men (12 cups + 2 cups in the food you eat) up to your body, and 3 litres a day (7 cups + 2 in food) for women,
  • how much you drink depends on the amount of activity in which you are engaged, the air temperature, humidity and your overall health,
  • some foods, such as watermelons contain a large percentage of water,
  • water is inexpensive compared with soft drinks, coffee and the like,
  • water is calorie free,
  • drink a least one glass of water per meal,
  • drink water before, during and after exercise,
  • if you feel hungry drink some water first,
  • make water your beverage of choice,
  • when you fast, drink more water,
  • at higher altitudes you need to drink more,
  • if you have diarhoea you will need to drink more fluids,
  • filtered water is much preferred because it does not contain unwanted minerals and dangerous toxins, and
  • drink more water so as to eat less food.

Why do you need water?

  • Water transports all the nutrients to your cells and your waste products away from your cells.
  • Mostly you need water for your cells. For your 30 or so trillion cells each must have sufficient water.
  • Your digestive system, mouth, and blood contain about 100 trillion good bacteria. They all must have water to survive. Without water they will suffer and die.
  • Water keeps your body temperature at normal levels.
  • Water lubricates your joints.
  • Water helps you eliminate waste in the form of urine, sweat and faeces.

Not recommended:

  • Sugary drinks – not good for you.
  • Sports drinks – water is the logical choice.
  • Alcohol in excess.

Water is indeed a life preserver and saver.

Not enough people realize how much our heath is affected by what we eat. If you eat healthy food, the chances of having a healthy body are way up.

The United States Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) has issued the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines which include a Healthy Eating Plate and a Healthy Eating Pyramid. Its influence extends way beyond USA to countries across the globe, including of course Australia.

The Harvard School of Public Health has gone out on a limb to heavily criticize the DFA’s guidelines. The DFA Plate and Pyramid “. . . mixes science with the influence of powerful agricultural interests, which is not the recipe for healthy eating”.

Harvard unveiled its own Plate and Pyramid based on evidence that it had researched and published. They found significant shortcomings in the DFA Guidelines. They said that DFA’s Plate and Pyramid:

  • “. . . does not tell consumers that whole grains are better than refined grains.”
  • does not indicate that “. . . some high protein foods – fish, poultry, beans, and nuts – are healthier than red meats and processed meats”
  • “. . . silent on beneficial fats”
  • does not distinguish between potatoes [high starch food] and other vegetables
  • “. . . recommends dairy at every meal even though there is little evidence that high dairy intake protects against osteoporosis but substantial evidence that high intake can be harmful”
  • “says nothing about sugary drinks”
  • “does not mention the importance of [physical] activity”

Altogether this is bad news for the general public:

  • A lot of people want to do the right thing, but the FDA Guidelines have led those people in the wrong direction. Many good people with good intentions have been misled. In this case, the health outcomes ae to their detriment.
  • For those millions of people that take no notice of any guidelines, be it the FDA’s or Harvard’s, and choose, intentionally or in ignorance, to eat rubbish food the news is distressingly bleak:
    • Chronic diseases in all their forms, eg obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, are flourishing  worldwide.
    • As a result morbidity (sickness) rates and mortality (death) rates are sky high.
    • Evidence based solutions are being ignored by large sections of the global community.
    • Most regrettably, the mounting number of sicknesses, sufferings and early deaths are preventable!

Join the 4% who have taken the healthy option

A huge percentage of Australians eat heaps of processed foods – foods that have had the nutrients knocked out of them through being processed.

For example – the stages in processing oats are listed below in descending order of nutritional value:

  • Whole seed – husk, bran, germ, endosperm – ie all micronutrients and macronutrients are retained
  • Grits – husk removed
  • Steel cut oats – grits broken into fragments – micronutrients retained for some weeks until it eventually goes rancid because the inside of the seed is exposed to air.
  • Rolled oats – steamed and rolled – the bran removed, germ removed and with it the essential nutrients – only ‘empty’ calories are left
  • Quick oats – further processed

Eat steel cut oats as say porridge (hot) or pre-soaked steel cut oats (cold) to get the full nutritional benefit. Rolled oats and instant oats are nutritionally poor quality alternatives.

Moral to the story

Steer clear of processed foods. They won’t make you healthy. Rather join the 4% of Australians who eat what nature intended, namely a diet of plant based foods. See my post of 13 September 2017 in which the Harvard University sets the plant based exemplar by means of its Healthy Plate and Pyramid eating plans.

This is indeed a healthy diet. All this will help keep you healthy and increase your chances of having a longer and better quality of life. Also you will naturally want to eat less food than you did before making the choice to change your diet. You don’t have to be an Einstein to work out what all that means!

Good health is priceless!

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