The Importance of Healthy Food
Healthy food refers to a variety of foods and beverages that are rich in nutrients and low in calories. These foods can include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. They can also be low in sodium and sugar. These are foods that can help people maintain a healthy weight and reduce their risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
When it comes to making health-related choices, many people seek out “healthy” foods. However, not all of these foods are actually healthy. Some, such as pretzels and diet soda, contain more sodium than the recommended amount per day and do not provide much nutrition.
Other foods that are often labeled as healthy include fruit juices, smoothies and yogurt parfaits. While these foods are typically lower in fat than most fast-food meals, they may still be high in sugar and sodium and should be eaten sparingly. Investing in a blender and stocking your refrigerator with healthy ingredients can help you make nutritious snacks at home.
While it is important to focus on health food trends, it is equally important not to be drawn into fad foods or gimmicks. For example, kale and chia seeds have received considerable media attention due to their purported health benefits. However, the reality is that eating a diet that includes these foods in addition to other nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains will have more of a positive impact on your health than going out of your way to find the latest kale fad.
It is essential to avoid processed, packaged foods in favor of whole fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources and healthy fats such as olive oil. This will help you maintain a balanced diet that is low in saturated and trans fats, sodium and added sugars.
Food companies are increasingly focusing on healthy food products. This is reflected in the fact that most new product introductions feature health claims such as “low fat” and “cholesterol free.” Consumers are highly receptive to these attributes, as they reassure them of the quality of a product and simplify their efforts to live healthier lives.
The FDA has recently proposed changes to its definition of a healthy claim, which is based on current nutrition science and dietary guidance such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025. The proposed change would ensure that a product’s nutrient profile and positive contribution to a healthy eating pattern qualify it for the health claim. This would help consumers identify nutrient-dense foods and be consistent with the new nutrition facts labels.
The best choice for a healthy lifestyle is to fill your pantry and fridge with the basics, such as oats, nuts, beans, seeds and unprocessed, low-sodium vegetables. You can prepare these items at home or choose to buy them pre-prepared and ready to eat. Eating a healthy diet doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, and can even taste delicious!