Basic intro to healthy eating

Thursday 03 May 2018


I designed this blog  to be a basic introduction for more detail to follow in future blogs.

It’s easy to eat badly….
I think that you would all agree that these days it is very easy to eat badly.  The food industry makes sure of that with their persuasive adverts, attractive packaging and special offers. It takes time and effort and some organisation to think about what we eat and whether it is good for us or not. A general rule is that if it is pre-packed, processed and convenient then it is best avoided as they can contain a high level of additives and chemicals. The more natural the food is, the less processed and fresher then the better it will be for us. Obviously there are days when a convenience meal just suits the bill and I know that after chemo therapy tastes and cravings change and sometimes lack of energy and motivation makes it difficult to make healthy  choices. In these circumstances I always advise people not to worry about this and go with the flow but as soon as they feel better to try and make healthy food choices then.

Food groups

This is where a general understanding about the different food groups will help. Some people like to think of them in nutrition terms like fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. While other like to think of them as food groups, meat, fish, bread, rice and so forth. This does not really matter what is important to remember is that they are all needed for good health as each group works in the body in a slightly different way to make a balanced diet.

The basic building blocks

So with that in mind here is information outlining the basic building blocks of a healthy eating plan.  Remember that we are going to look at each of these in detail over the coming weeks.

Protein (meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, peas, beans and lentils)

  • Helps to fight infection.
  • Needed for repair and healing of tissues (especially important after surgery and radiotherapy).
  • Supplies energy.
  • Helps to sustain an even blood sugar.
  • Necessary for hormone and enzyme activity in the body.

Vitamins and minerals (found in all foods but mostly fresh fruit and vegetables)

  • Vitamins and minerals are necessary to support a strong immune system.
  • Fruits and vegetables are high in dietary fibre to help maintain good digestion and elimination.
  • They are rich in phytonutrients which have been shown to have huge health protective benefits and potentially aid the fight against cancer.  Eg Ellagic acid found in berry fruits, Allicin found in garlic, Lycopene found in tomatoes.

Essential fats (Omega 6 & omega 3 found in oily fish (salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, mackerel), seeds and nuts and seed and nut oils)

  • Have been shown to reduce inflammation (cancer is an inflammatory process).
  • A good source of energy and calories.
  • Supports healthy cell structure.
  • Has been shown to aid recovery from fatigue.

Complex carbohydrates (wholegrain products, brown rice, oats, quinoa, wholemeal flour)

  • Helps to maintain a stable blood sugar level.
  • Provides good sources of the B vitamins for energy production, immune function and emotional stability.
  • Rich in dietary fibre to help maintain good digestion and elimination.

Next time I am going to look at Protein and protein rich foods in more detail to help you have a full understanding of their importance.  

Blog originally written by Caroline  April 2012

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