Complete information on Healthy Eating: the balance of good health

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What is healthy eating? Many people see some foods as 'good' and some foods as 'bad' and feel they are helping their health when they are eating 'good' foods and not when eating 'bad'. Healthy eating is all about achieving a balanced diet and to achieve this you should eat a variety of foods in moderation. The problem is that your idea of variety and moderation is probably very different to someone else!

Healthy eating can be achieved by following the Balance of Good Health (BOGH). This is a visual representation of how to; achieve a balanced diet and is the UK National Food Guide:

1. The BOGH shows you that no food is bad and all food can play a part in a healthy balanced diet. It encourages you to eat a variety of foods from all the food groups meaning that you don't need to deprive yourself of any of your favourite foods

2. The BOGH helps to ensure that all your nutritional requirements are met

3. The BOGH gives you a guide as to how many portions of food from the different food groups you should eat daily.

The basic food groups

There are five basic food groups:

  1. Bread, other cereals and potatoes (5-14 portions)
  2. Milk and dairy products (2-3 portions)
  3. Fruit and vegetables (5 or more portions)
  4. Meat, fish and alternatives (2- 3 portions)
  5. Foods containing fat. Foods containing sugar (keep these to minimum)

Contrary to some of the popular diets around today, protein foods should not be eaten in large quantities. Your meals d snacks should be based on starchy carbohydrate foods such as potato, rice, pasta and bread and plenty of fruit and vegetables

The BOGH is appropriate for everyone except for children under the age of 2. This pattern of eating can be introduced into the diet of children between 2-5 years old

The BOGH is suitable for vegetarians, is flexible and uses readily available foods

The BOGH can be adapted for all international foods/diets e.g. Chinese, Asian, Caribbean

Minerals

All living cells rely on minerals to ensure proper function and structure. They occur naturally as elements in the ground, following millions of years of erosion and breakdown. Particles are assimilated during plant growth and eventually find their way into our bodies through the food chain.

In the human body; minerals function as coenzymes. Coenzymes enable the human body to perform basic functions such as; the production of energy; healthy growth and healing; and assimilation of vitamins and other nutrients by the body.

The body's structure relies on minerals to ensure; muscle tone (including that of the cardiovascular system); healthy functioning of nerves; correct composition of body fluids; and the formation of healthy blood and bones.

Do they have a natural grouping?

There are two distinct groupings;

Macrominerals Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, and Phosphorus

Needed in greater quantities than the trace minerals.

Macrominerals Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Silicon, SulphurVanadium and Zinc

Much smaller quantities of these minerals are required by the body.

Once they are in the body, minerals all compete to be absorbed. Certain combinations may hinder and even prevent absorption of each other. Once they have been absorbed, they are carried in the blood to the cells, then carried across the cell membrane in a form that allows the cells to utilise them.


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