A healthy 2020 is a legitimate aspiration for the year. However, an obstacle that usually gets in the way is how complicated we sometimes find it to fulfill the purposes we have, once the initial enthusiasm that follows the 12 chimes disappears.
However, improving our lifestyle habits may be easier than it seems. A good way to start moving the route to a healthier 2020 is to follow some simple recommendations that the World Health Organization(WHO) gives us to include a healthy and balanced diet.
Better food is better health
In its recommendations for a healthy 2020, WHO reminds us that what we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to fight infections, as well as the likelihood of developing health problems later in life, including obesity, disease Heart disease, diabetes and different types of cancer.
It is important to keep in mind that the exact ingredients of a healthy diet will depend on different factors. Among them are the age and activity we have. The types of food available in the communities where we live and at each time of the year should also be taken into account.
But, in general terms, there are some common nutritional tips to help us lead a healthier and longer life by the beginning of 2020, notes WHO.
1. – Variety in food
Our bodies are incredibly complex and (except breast milk for babies), no food contains all the nutrients we need to work in the best way. Therefore, our diets must contain a wide variety of fresh and nutritious foods to keep us strong.
Some tips to ensure a balanced diet:
In your daily diet, try to eat a mixture of basic foods such as wheat, corn, rice and potatoes with legumes such as lentils and beans, many fresh fruits and vegetables, and animal foods (for example, meat, fish, eggs, and milk).
Choose whole foods like unprocessed corn, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice when you can; they are rich in valuable fiber and can help you feel full longer.
For snacks, choose raw vegetables, unsalted nuts, and fresh fruit, instead of foods high in sugars, fats or salt.
2. – Reduce salt intake
Too much salt can raise blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Most people around the world eat too much salt. On average, we consume twice the limit recommended by the WHO of 5 grams (equivalent to one teaspoon) per day.
Even if we do not put additional salt into our food, we must keep in mind that it is commonly added in processed foods or beverages, and often in large quantities.
Some tips to reduce your salt intake:
- When cooking and preparing food, use salt in moderation and reduce the use of sauces and salty seasonings (such as soy sauce, broth or fish sauce).
- Avoid high-salt snacks and try to choose fresh and healthy snacks instead of processed foods.
- When using canned or dried vegetables, nuts, and fruits, choose unsalted varieties and added sugars.
- Remove salt and salty condiments from the table and try to avoid adding them as usual.
- Check food labels and look for products with lower sodium content.
3.- Reduce the use of certain fats and oils
We all need some fat in our diet. But eating too much, especially the wrong types increases the risks of obesity, heart disease, and stroke.
Industrially produced Trans fats are the most dangerous to health. The WHO notes that a diet high in this type of fat increases the risk of heart disease by almost 30%.
Some tips to reduce fat consumption:
- Replace butter, butter, and butter with healthier oils such as soybeans, corn, and sunflower.
- Choose white meats such as poultry and fish, which are generally lower in fat than red meat, trim visible fat meat and limit the consumption of processed meats.
- Try steaming or boiling instead of frying food.
- Check labels and always avoid all processed, fast and fried foods that contain industrially-produced trans fats.
4. – Limit sugar intake
Too much sugar is not only bad for our teeth, but it increases the risk of unhealthy weight gain and obesity. This can lead to serious and chronic health problems.
As with salt, it is important to consider the amount of “hidden” sugars that can be in processed foods and beverages. For example, a single can of soda can contain up to 10 teaspoons of added sugar.
Some tips to reduce sugar intake:
Limit the consumption of sweets and sugary drinks, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and liquid and powdered concentrated juices, flavored water, energy, and sports drinks, ready-to-drink tea and coffee and flavored milk drinks.
Choose fresh and healthy snacks instead of processed foods.
Avoid giving sugary foods to children. Salt and sugars should not be added to complementary foods that are given to children under 2 years of age and should be limited beyond that age.
5. – Moderate alcohol consumption
Alcohol is not part of a healthy diet. But we all know that New Year’s celebrations are associated with their consumption. In general, drinking too much or too often increases the immediate risk of injury. It can also cause long term effects such as liver damage, cancer, heart disease, and mental illness.
According to WHO, there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. For many people, even low levels of alcohol consumption can be associated with significant health risks.
WHO recommends not drinking alcohol if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
- You are driving, operating machinery or performing other activities that involve related risks
- You have health problems that alcohol can make worse
- You are taking medications that interact directly with alcohol
- You have difficulty controlling your alcohol consumption.
If you believe that you or someone you love may have problems with alcohol or other psychoactive substances, do not be afraid to seek help from a health worker or a service specialized in drugs and alcohol.
WHO has also developed a self-help guide to guide people seeking to reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption?
These simple tips will help us have a healthier life in 2020 and beyond.