The English Post

Five tips for a healthy living

HOW TO GROW A SMALL VEGETABLE GARDEN
Written by Veronica Lavenia

Our health is also linked to proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle that favors simple, seasonal, unrefined and, possibly, organic food. Not only. Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, preferring physical activity and drinking at least 7/8 glasses per day of water are some of the indications provided, over the last few years, by the World Health Organization.

Among the suggestions provided by the World Health Organization, here are five useful and easy tips to follow for a better quality of life.

Sugar and salt:

They should be significantly reduced in our diet, especially considering that they are present in many products consumed daily. One drink a day is enough to overcome the recommended doses of sugar by the World Health Organization (5%). Excessive consumption of sugar is associated with an increase in body weight, obesity and many other diseases, even serious ones. These recommendations do not concern the sugars present in fruit and fresh vegetables and sugars naturally present in milk.

The sugars under indictment are the monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and disaccharides (sucrose), added to food and drink.

As for the salt, the World Health Organization recommends to introduce nomore than 2 grams of sodium with the daily diet. Two grams of sodium correspond to about 5 grams of cooking salt, which are those contained in a teaspoon.

When calculating the total daily salt consumption, sodium in food and beverages must also be taken into consideration. According to European Commission estimates, the salt present in industrial foods is more than 75%, while that added in domestic preparations is only about 10%.

The guidelines suggest reducing the use of salt and prefer salt enriched with iodine (iodised salt). The use of salt in children’s food is not recommended throughout the first year of life.

It is preferable to flavor foods with aromatic herbs, lemon, vinegar, spices and olive oil.

Fruit and vegetables:

Prefer seasonal fruits and vegetables every day (preferably organic to reduce ingestion of pesticides). Fruits and vegetables are an important source of fiber, vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid) and essential minerals for the body, such as potassium. They are rich in antioxidants, low in calories and low in fat and play a protective role.

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Legumes/Pulses:

Introducing legumes into one’s diet is a good habit, as valuable allies of our health. They are rich in protein, fiber, carbohydrates and mineral salts (iron, potassium and phosphorus), contain vitamins (especially B1, niacin, C and H) and antioxidant and protective substances (including polyphenols). Regular consumption helps reduce cholesterol; to prevent hypertension (as they are rich in potassium); to control glycaemia thanks to their fiber intake which helps to absorb carbohydrates more slowly, resulting in a more gradual rise in blood sugar. Legumes are rich in iron (in particular chickpeas, beans and lentils), a mineral salt that helps our body to form hemoglobin and transport oxygen through the blood, fighting anemia.

FIVE TIPS FOR A HEALTHY LIVING

Whole foods:

Choose whole grain cereals, pasta and bakery products. They are rich in fibers that help control blood sugar spikes and the accumulation of abdominal fat. They reduce the absorption of carcinogens and reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Sport:

Exercising helps maintain a suitable weight and helps improve quality of life. Even a simple walk is a panacea. Cycling, dancing, gardening and housework are part of the “spontaneous motor activity” recommended by the World Health Organization.

Practicing physical activity improves mood because the brain releases endorphins, a particular hormone that acts similarly to an antidepressant.

Exercising increases HDL cholesterol, also called “good cholesterol”, which helps eliminate “bad cholesterol”, LDL. Physical activity also causes the reduction of triglycerides. This allows the blood to flow smoothly.

Exercising helps your body transport oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more effectively.

Drinking adequate water means ensuring health for the body. When we are thirsty we are already dehydrated. It is necessary to prevent and drink about 7/8 glasses of water a day but we can also introduce water through foods such as fruit and vegetables, which contain a significant amount of water.

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About the author

Veronica Lavenia

PhD (former University academic). Italian based food writer, magazine contributor, some of my works have appeared and appears in the most popular International food magazine, as “Gluten-free Heaven”; "Vegetarian Living"; "Veggie Magazine"; "Lifestyle FOOD"; "Australian Good Food & Travel Guide; and "Chickpea", among others.
Foodpreneur, founder of @laveniasicilianchocolate