Healthy eating isan essential component of a healthy lifestyle.
As a result, it is important to make food choices that build a healthy balanced diet. The amount of food that can be eaten from each food group varies depending on individual age, gender and activity levels.
The illustration below is a guide for the ratio of foods from the different food groups that should be eaten as part of a healthy diet – some should make up the bulk of one’s diet, while others should be eaten sparingly.
Why is Nutrition important?
According to research by the SA Medical Research Council, the foods South Africans consume have changed in recent years with the average person’s diet containing less fibre, more saturated fat, higher salt content and more processed foods. Poor eating habits have consequently led to an increase in deaths related to chronic lifestyle diseases and an increasing number of obese adults and children.
Approximately 56% of South African females, 29% of adult men and 17% of children are overweight or obese. Six (6) million South Africans have high blood pressure/hypertension. A Quarter (25%) of the adult population have risk factors for high blood pressure – obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and a high sodium (salt) and low vegetable, legume and milk intake and hence a low potassium intake.
To keep yourself and your family healthy, ensure that your diet consists of a variety of foods from each of the food groups, in the correct amounts and according to your unique lifestyle needs.