No single food can provide all the essential nutrients that the body needs. Therefore, it is important to consume a wide variety of foods to provide adequate intakes of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, which are important for health.
8 guidelines for a healthy diet
- Enjoy your food
- Eat a variety of different foods
- Eat the right amount to be a healthy weight
- Eat plenty of foods rich in starch and fibre
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Don’t eat too many foods that contain a lot of fat
- Don’t have sugary foods and drinks too often
- If you drink alcohol, drink sensibly
Fruit and vegetables
Fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables all count. Also, 100% fruit or vegetable juice and pure fruit juice smoothies count. Beans and pulses, such as baked beans and lentils also contribute to this group.
Choose a wide variety and aim to eat at least 5 different portions a day. A portion is approximately 80g (e.g. 1 medium apple, a cereal bowl of salad or 3 heaped tablespoons of peas). Servings of fruit juice, vegetable juice or smoothies can only count as one portion per day no matter how much you drink. Beans and pulses (i.e. haricot, kidney, baked, soya and butter beans, chickpeas and lentils) only count once per day no matter how many different types you eat.
We do not and can not digest cellulose. This is a carbohydrate used by plants to make their cell walls. It is also called roughage. If you do not eat foods materials which contain fibre you might end up with problems of the colon and rectum. The muscles of you digestive system mix food with the digestive juices and push food along the intestines by peristalsis; if there is no fibre in your diet these movements cannot work properly.