Eating well and choosing the right food for your family is fundamental to good health and well-being. It’s never been more important than right now to maintain a good healthy diet as some of you will be eating your way through isolation and lockdown. Australia’s guide to healthy eating groups food into 5 major groups based on key nutrients each of the food groups can contribute to living a healthy life.
It is important to meet the daily nutrient requirements, and one way to do it is to eat a variety from each of the food groups. Eating variety is the key. Keep reading to discover more about the Five Food Groups.
Vegetables and Legumes
Did you know that eating a diet rich in vegetables can lower your blood pressure and curb the risks of heart diseases?
An abundance of research links eating vegetables on a daily basis to reducing the risks of suffering from diseases and contributing to healthy weight management, bringing an overall positivity in your health. Vegetables and legumes are both rich in nutrients, dietary fiber, and a good source for many vitamins and minerals.
Different vegetables have different nutrient content, and the good thing is, Australia has a huge variety of vegetables available. You can find almost any vegetable in our supermarkets. With so many varieties to choose from, you can choose to eat any type or color of produce to give yourself the benefits of a wide variety of nutrients but also making your meal more appealing.
Legumes, on the other hand, are a class of vegetables that are rich in iron, potassium but low in fat, and almost no cholesterol. They are also a good source of protein, containing beneficial fats and dietary fibers. This makes legumes one of the most versatile foods available. There is also a long list of the types of legumes available, each high in protein. You can follow this guide, to explore more health benefits of eating legumes and how to prepare them.
Some of the common legumes are with their benefits are:
- Chickpeas – They are rich in fibre and folate and have low-calorie content, beneficial for weight management.
- Lentils – They are a good alternative to animal protein and can be added to your soup or stew.
- Kidney Beans– They are a good source of protein, manganese, and vitamin B9, that helps to slow down sugar absorption in the blood.
- Black Beans – A staple for many central and south American nations, they are known for their high content protein that has similar health benefits like kidney beans.
- Soybean– An another staple for Asian nations, they are known to contain a high level of antioxidants and used to make tofu.
Fruits are another great source of nutrients and dietary fibers. A fruit-rich diet would help reduce the risks against cardiovascular diseases, help maintain your weight, and provide you with the necessary amount of daily energy requirements. Eating fruits is also linked to reduced risks of getting some kinds of cancer.
Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system, eating apples lower the risks of suffering from diabetes.
Fruits are high in nutrient content, however, no single fruits provide all nutrients you need to be healthy. So, eating a variety of fruits and knowing what each type helps us with can benefit us in a long way.
Fresh fruits like strawberries, bananas, or mandarins are great choices for healthy snacks on the go.
Grains and cereals
Grain includes all bread, cereals, pasta, noodles, barley, oats to name a few. Eating wholegrain cereals which are rich in fiber, as part of your overall healthy diet reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases and reduces constipation.
Eating a whole grain toast or grain-based cereals provides a healthy start to your day.
Lean meat and poultry, fish, nuts, eggs, tofu
This group of food is mainly ‘protein-rich’ and an important food for the Australian culture, our lifestyle, and meals. Apart from providing protein, this group of food also provides a wide variety of other nutrients like iodine, iron, zinc, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.
Lean meats such as beef, lamb, pork, or kangaroo are high in iron which is important for growth in infants, women during their pregnancies, and for athletes to enhance their endurance. However, overconsumption of lean meat is also known to increase the risk of suffering from colorectal cancer.
Eating poultry like chicken and turkey are also a good source of protein, but it is recommended to always remove the skin and extra fats. Eggs are easy to source and easy to cook protein, which can be included in our diet in a variety of ways.
Alternatively, you can also choose to eat plant-based protein sources like tofu, nuts, and nuts. They have become integral to vegan diets and can be included in many recipes to make it appealing.
Milk, yoghurts, cheese and/or their alternatives
The benefits of eating milk, yoghurts, cheese, and other milk products provide calcium, protein, and minerals in our body. Daily consumption of any of this food type would reduce the risk against many diseases including heart diseases, stroke and also reduces the risk against high blood pressure.
For those who are lactose-intolerant, there are many alternatives to normal milk and they are equally calcium-fortified.
Yoghurts are known to contain a lot of calcium and minerals, necessary for bone and teeth health. And almost any kind of milk can be used to make yoghurts. However, one must be cautious about flavored yoghurts as they are known to contain artificial flavoring agents and sugar.
Keeping active and eating healthy go together to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are no single food types that would provide all the nutrients. Instead, having a more balanced diet by eating something from all the five groups of food and getting involved in physical activities is vital for a healthy lifestyle.
Eating healthy and staying active, not only promotes your overall well-being, but also effective in maintaining weight, improved sleep, and good mental health.