Good Health is life’s greatest blessing. We’ve all heard the saying “a sound mind in a sound body,” essentially meaning that a person needs to be healthy to fully enjoy all the good things life has to offer. Healthy people find the strength they need to work, take pleasure in food, keep a cheerful temper, and are fully equipped to go through life’s journey with optimum joy!

Good nutrition is of course an integral part of maintaining a healthy body and mind. Your food choices affect your health —today, tomorrow, and in the future. Combined with physical activity, a healthy diet can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer, and promote your overall well-being; from as early as your childhood years.

So embrace a healthy lifestyle today for a healthier tomorrow by heeding the following simple tips by Joumana Dabbagh, Nutritionist at Nestlé Middle East:

  1. Aim to eat a healthy diet, moderate in fat, sugar and salt to maintain a healthy weight and protect your heart. Healthy cooking for healthy living is easier than you think. With a little culinary creativity, you can easily turn the nutritious into the delicious for great taste that comes with health benefits!

Alternative Healthy Cooking Methods

  • Stir-fry the food you prepare using a wok, which requires 10 times less fat than frying!
  • While grilling, use a rack to get rid of all the fat drips so you end up with less calories for the same great taste.
  • Cook your food in the oven more frequently, using covered cookware with a little extra liquid; or cook in special oven bags. This allows you to better control the amount of oil, while adding a variety of ingredients.
  • Steam vegetables for fat-free cooking that also helps retain the many vitamins and minerals packed in them.
  • Add more vegetables that are naturally low in salt such as carrots, peppers and onions to provide richer flavors to your dishes.
  • Rinse any canned or pickled products you may use to reduce their salt content, and aim to reduce their consumption as much as possible.
  • Marinate food using lemon and vinegar to further uplift flavors.

Alternative ingredients

  • Try to get your sugar from natural produce such as fruits, avoiding other unhealthy alternatives such as sugary beverages or sweets.
  • Include semi-skimmed and skimmed dairy products more often in your daily diet to help reduce your fat intake.
  • Choose lean white meat like chicken and fish more often than red meat.

  1. Enhance your immunity with a healthy eating plan rich in immune-boosting foods:
  • Choose Whole grains: Whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, corn and oats which provide you with plenty of antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C, E and Selenium that are immune boosting nutrients. Whole grains are also a major source of zinc which plays a positive role in boosting immunity.
  • Include Onion and Garlic in your cooking. These are powerful immune-boosters as they are a rich source of phyto-nutrients, which also help detoxify carcinogens.
  • Enjoy fatty fish: Salmon and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids which play a very positive role in immune enhancement. Fish are also known to be a good source of zinc and vitamin B6 that further help enhance your immunity.
  • Do not forget to eat your beans: Beans are a very good source of vitamin B6 and iron that are both good immunity boosters.
  • Snack on almonds and walnuts: Good sources of vitamin E that fight off the harmful effects of free radicals. These nuts are also rich in vitamin B6 and healthy fats.
  • Add Flaxseed to your diet: A rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, you can use them in breads or muffins, either as whole seeds or ground. A good way to enjoy them would be to sprinkle some on your breakfast cereal and milk in the morning.
  • Have yogurt fortified with Probiotics: Studies have shown that Probiotics can play an effective role in boosting the body’s natural defenses.
  • Add spices and natural herbs rich in antioxidants such as cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, basil, thyme, etc… to boost and enhance flavor.
  • Give preference to healthy oils such as olive oil, canola oil, corn oil, or sunflower oil rich in Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant.

  1. Ensure adequate water intake: On average, you should be drinking at least eight glasses of water daily, though you will need more in periods or areas with extreme weather conditions, and when you increase your physical activity. Try to also increase your fluid intake by eating your water through the consumption of veggies and fruits that have high water content. These include cucumbers, tomatoes, and watermelons that further hydrate the body.
  1. Make smart food choices. Review food labels whenever you shop for groceries, checking nutritional facts on products, including information on the per serving amount of saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars, cholesterol, sodium and other ingredients that can raise health concerns.

In addition, nutrient reference values expressed as % Daily Values within the nutrition facts help you understand how a specific food fits into your overall daily diet.

  1. Find your balance between food intake and physical activity. Fitness and physical activity, along with proper nutrition, are important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Being fit increases energy, maintains physical functionality and may prevent or minimize complications from chronic diseases. In addition, regular exercise not only provides your body with energy and vitality, but also helps boost your immunity. Exercising for 30-45 minutes three to five times a week can help you tremendously!

Every day is world health day, so take five minutes daily to think about your health. Include the time in your calendar, as you would any other meeting or activity!

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