Before any diet can be termed as healthy it must provide the four essential nutrients, as well as a rich supply of mineral, vitamins and other micronutrients.
The food we eat should be free from harmful addictive’s and prepared in way that preserves its nutrients. A good diet can be referred to as whole foods-unprocessed foods with nothing added or taken away. Whole food – plant food are full of hundreds of phytochemicals that can help prevent disease and keep the body healthy and prevent diseases. Food known to supply adequate amount of phytochemicals are broccoli, citrus peels, garlic, green tea, grapes and tomatoes, soybeans and soy products.
Below are the basic guidelines for selecting and preparing foods:
- Avoid food that contains additives and Artificial ingredient: Addictives are placed in food to increase its shelf life, to make the food look more appealing by enhancing its colour, taste and texture. There by making it look more marketable. Most addictives are derived from aspartame, which are made synthetically. We advise limiting the use of additives / artificial sweetener because addictives and artificial ingredients add little or no nutritional value to a food product and some addictives like cyclamate and saccharin can pose a threat to your health and others like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame are used without warning. A safer sugar substitute is an extract made from herb called Stevia rebaudiana, which is natural and does not affect blood sugar levels and yield a pleasant sweet taste.
- Increase your consumption of Raw Produce: Consuming more of organically grown fruits and vegetables, which are foods grown without the use of fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides or growth-stimulating chemicals. They can be found in selected food stores and green markets. When choosing fruits and vegetables it’s advised to go for the ones that are at the peak of their ripeness. They contain more minerals and enzymes than under ripped or over ripped ones. The longer a food is kept in storage, the more nutrients it loses. Once you get your produce it is recommended that you wash them thoroughly with water and soft vegetable brush, then let them soak in water for a few minutes. If your produce are waxed, peel them, because wax can’t be washed off. Most vegetable and fruits should be eaten in their entirety, including the skin, which also contains valuable nutrients. When eating citrus peel the rinds off but eat the white part inside the skin for its vitamin C and bioflavonoid content. Fruits and vegetable should be eaten raw if possible because enzymes and most vitamins are extremely sensitive to heat and are destroyed in the process of cooking. If eating raw is difficult for you, steam your vegetable lightly in a steamer or cooking pan.
- Avoid Overcooking Your Food: Over cooking foods can destroy many valuable nutrients. When foods are cooked to the point of browning or charring, their organic compounds undergo changes in structure, producing carcinogens. Barbecued meats seem to pose more health threat in this regard. When burning, fat drips onto an open flame, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – dangerous carcinogens are formed. When amino acids and other chemicals found in muscle are exposed to high temperatures, other carcino-gen, called heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) are created. By eating raw produce or lightly cooked, and by greatly limiting consumption of meat, you reduce the risk of cancer and other degenerative diseases.
- Use the Proper Cooking Utensils: One of the ways to ensure wholesome cooked food is the careful selection of cookware. Aluminum cookware or utensils should be avoided when preparing foods. Use only glass, stainless steel, or iron pots and pans. Foods cooked or stored in aluminum produce a substance that neutralizes the digestive juices, leading to acidosis and ulcers. Aluminum can leach from pot into food; and when the food is consumed, the body absorbs it, where it accumulates in the brain and nervous system tissues. Excessive amount of these aluminum deposit have been implicated in Alzheimer’s diseases. Other cookware to be avoided includes all pots and pan with nonstick coating.Too often metals in the pot tend to leach into the food; and these chemical ends up in the body’s
- Limit Your Salt Intake: Excessive sodium intake can cause fluid retention in the tissues, which can lead to hypertension (High blood pressure) and can aggravate many medical disorders, including congestive heart failure, certain forms of kidney disease, and premenstrual syndrome. One of the best ways to reduce sodium in your diet is to limit consumption of processed and fast foods, which often contain excessively high amount of sodium. Cooking at home is always a preferably alternative.
In other to carefully select and prepare your foods and make it safe for consumption following the above outlined guidelines for selecting and preparing food is of the upmost importance