Healthy Diet Key to Longevity | Heart and Healthy Diet | Vegetarian diet planning | Healthy Eating
Healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible all which can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and incorporating them in a way that works for you.
Choose the types of foods that improve your health and avoid the types of foods that raise your risk for such illnesses as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Expand your range of healthy choices to include a wide variety of delicious foods. Learn to use guidelines and tips for creating and maintaining a satisfying, healthy diet.
Vegetarian diet planning:
A healthy vegetarian diet consists primarily of plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Because the emphasis is on nonmeat food sources, a vegetarian diet generally contains less fat and cholesterol, and typically includes more fiber.
Vegetarians fall into groups defined by the types of animal-derived foods they eat:
1. Vegans eat only plant-based foods. They don’t eat foods from animals, including meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs and cheese.
2. Lacto-vegetarians consume milk and milk products along with plant-based foods. They omit eggs as well as meat, fish and poultry.
3. Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat eggs, milk and milk products, such as cheese and yogurt, in addition to plant-based foods. They omit red meat, fish and poultry.
4. Flexitarians (semivegetarians) primarily follow a plant-based diet but occasionally eat small amounts of meat, poultry or fish.
To keep your vegetarian diet on track, you may find using a vegetarian food pyramid helpful. This pyramid outlines various food groups and food choices that, if eaten in the right quantities, form the foundation of a healthy vegetarian diet.
5. Milk. Drink fortified soymilk, rice milk or almond milk in place of cow’s milk.
6. Butter. When sauteing, use olive oil, water, vegetable broth, wine or fat-free cooking spray instead of butter. In baked goods, use canola oil.
7. Cheese. Use soy cheese or nutritional yeast flakes, which are available in health food stores.
8. Eggs. In baked goods, try commercial egg replacers a dry product made mostly of potato starch. Or you can use the following to replace one egg: 1/4 cup whipped tofu or 1 tablespoon milled flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. For an egg-free omelet use tofu instead of eggs.
9. Calcium. This mineral helps build and maintain strong teeth and bones. Low-fat dairy foods and dark green vegetables, such as spinach, turnip and collard greens, kale, and broccoli, are good sources of calcium. Tofu enriched with calcium and fortified soy milk and fruit juices are other options.
10. Vitamin B-12. Your body needs vitamin B-12 to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia. This vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal products, including milk, eggs and cheese. Vegans can get vitamin B-12 from some enriched cereals, fortified soy products or by taking a supplement that contains this vitamin.
11. Iron. Like vitamin B-12, iron is a crucial component of red blood cells. Dried beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, dark leafy green vegetables, and dried fruit are good sources of iron. To help your body absorb nonanimal sources of iron, eat foods rich in vitamin C — such as strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage and broccoli — at the same time you consume iron-containing foods.
12. Zinc. This mineral is an essential component of many enzymes and plays a role in cell division and in the formation of proteins. Good sources of zinc include whole grains, soy products, nuts and wheat germ.
13.Drink more water. Our bodies are about 75% water. It is a vital part of a healthy diet. Water helps flush our systems, especially the kidneys and bladder, of waste products and toxins. A majority of Americans go through life dehydrated.
Regular consumption of a high variety of healthy foods was associated with longevity and lower mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and cancer. In contrast, a diet with a high variety of less healthy foods such as red meat, refined carbohydrates, sugars, and foods rich in saturated fats was associated with increased mortality rates from cancer.
While this finding may seem like common sense, it emphasizes the importance of a balanced, healthy diet. Foods in the healthy group are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, probiotics (the “good” bacteria), fiber, and essential fatty acids. Nutritional supplements should not be viewed as a substitute for a healthy diet.
The reason saturated fat and trans fat are bad for the human body is because they are high in cholesterol, which is the gunk that builds up in arteries and can lead to heart disease. Cholesterol comes from animals. It is a product the human body needs to survive, but it is needed in smaller doses than what people in modern times typically consume. Because the average person consumes more cholesterol than the body needs in either butter OR margarine, both are determined to be unhealthy.
In recent years, product companies have introduced margarine alternatives with cholesterol that is plant-based rather than animal based. These margarine spreads use plant sterols instead of traditional animal fat-derived cholesterol. Because they contain no saturated fat or trans fat, they have been shown in clinically tested trials to lower the body’s cholesterol when eaten regularly. The FDA has approved plant sterol-based margarine spreads as part of a healthy diet for people who are at risk for heart disease or have high cholesterol.
Of course, with the discovery that the kind of cholesterol that comes from plants (plant sterols) is actually good for the human body, many people have discovered value in branching away from margarine and butter all together in favor of spreads and oils harvested from olives, nuts and seeds. Butter-substitutes made from olive oil, walnuts, hazelnuts, soy, and even hemp create a natural, nutrient-rich alternative to butter or margarine. Oils and spreads make excellent alternatives to peanut butter as well, and provide a gourmet substitute for toast, dinner rolls, and sandwiches.