Guidelines for a Healthy Diet

The following diet guidelines are suggested for people who want to improve their diets. Many of the diseases that occur as we grow older such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. can be prevented or modified by a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition and daily exercise.

  1. Eat a variety of foods – The best way to assure a variety of foods is to select foods each day from the five major food groups – the meat group, the milk group, the fruit group, the vegetable group and the bread group.

  1. Maintain an ideal body weightBeing overweight increases your chances of developing some chronic disorder, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease. If you need to lose weight, reducing calories and increasing activity is recommended. Long-term weight control is achieved through a gradual change in lifestyle that includes better eating habits and regular exercise.

  1. Avoid too much fat, saturated fat and cholesterol – Diets that contain large amounts of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol have been linked to a greater risk of heart disease. To decrease the amount of fat you eat, avoid fried foods, fatty meats, whole milk, and whole milk dairy products, and limit the use of butter, cream, gravies, and shortenings. Instead, include lean meats, fish, poultry, and low-fat milk and dairy products. Decrease your cholesterol intake by limiting eggs and organ meats (such as liver) to three to four times a week.

  1. Eat more complex carbohydrates and fiber – Complex carbohydrates and fiber are found in fruits, vegetables and grains. Increase the use of foods such as whole grain cereals and breads, as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables.

  1. Avoid excess sugar – Limit sugar of all kinds (white, brown, honey) and high sugar foods such as jelly, syrup, candy, gum, cookies, cake, doughnuts, sweetened beverages, surgery cereals and ice cream.

  1. Avoid excess salt – Cut back on the amount of table salt you use. Use other salt-free spices and herbs instead. Limit the amount of salty foods eaten: pretzels, chips, nuts, canned soups, luncheon meats, hot dogs, pickles, and soy sauce.

  1. Drink alcohol in moderation – If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit your consumption to one or two drinks a day to avoid the health risks associated with excessive alcohol use.

    For more information on healthy diets and good nutrition, go to Healthy Diet Guidelines.

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