Fuel your health: Tips for a more balanced diet

Discover how to fuel your health by creating a more balanced diet during Healthy Eating Week by Margareta Serfozo, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach @The Endearing Project.

This week, as we celebrate Healthy Eating Week, it's a perfect time to recognise the importance of high-quality, nutrient rich foods, that support our long-term health and wellbeing. With so many trends and vast amounts of information available, it's easy to get confused and lose sight of the basics of establishing a healthy, balanced and well-rounded diet. Here are my top tips for making small, impactful changes.

fruit bowl for healthy eating

Boost your diet with more fruits and vegetables

The World Health Organization recommends eating at least 400 grams, or five portions of fruits and vegetables daily. These foods are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, plant sterols, flavonoids and antioxidants. Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables helps reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases, like coronary heart disease and stroke and ensures you get enough dietary fibre.

Diversifying your diet with local, seasonal produce can help you boosts your overall health. Enjoy creating colourful salads, vegetable-packed stews, or vibrant stir-fries, and snack wisely by choosing fresh fruit and raw vegetables, such as carrot sticks and apple slices.

Fibre power

As mentioned before, fruits and vegetables are crucial for increasing your fibre intake. Fiber, a non-digestible carbohydrate, travels to the large intestine aiding digestion and acting as fertiliser for our gut microbiota. The gut microbiota is made up of trillions of microorganisms, greatly impacting our overall health. Research shows that consuming 25-30g of fibre daily supports a healthy gut flora.

For extra fibre, keep the skin on your vegetables, choose wholegrain bread and pasta, and why not start your day with a fibre-rich breakfast such as porridge topped with fruits and nuts. Increased fibre might cause bloating initially, so stay hydrated to help your body adjust.

A balanced, whole foods-based diet

Start creating a more balanced diet by focusing on introducing more nutrient-dense whole foods and reducing your intake of ultra-processed ones. Include plenty of non-starchy vegetables (like broccoli, carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini), healthy proteins (like tofu, beans, lentils, chicken, fish, nuts and seeds), complex carbohydrates (like sweet potatoes or quinoa) and healthy fats (such as olive oil or avocado).

Ultra-processed foods, which make up over half of the dietary energy in countries like the USA, Canada and the UK, often contain high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, numerous additives, and high levels of sodium, saturated fat, trans fat and added sugars.

Research also shows that consuming a large amount of ultra-processed foods is linked to various negative health effects.

Try reducing these foods by cooking from scratch with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. This ensures you get plenty of essential vitamins and minerals from a diverse diet, benefiting both your overall health and the planet.

In conclusion, as we celebrate Healthy Eating Week, it's essential to remember the importance of a balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense, whole foods. Small, impactful changes, such as choosing local, seasonal produce and preparing meals from scratch can make a substantial difference. By focusing on incorporating more fruits and vegetables, increasing fibre intake and reducing ultra-processed foods, you can significantly enhance your overall health and wellbeing.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for routine recommendations and the information, or comments herein, does not amount to, or replace, professional advice and should not be relied upon as professional or medical advice. 

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Author Details

Margareta Serfozo

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach & Corporate Mental Health Facilitator

Specialising in women's health and fertility, Margareta created The Endearing Project to support, guide and enable her clients to follow their own path to wellbeing through lifestyle and behavioural guidance, and wellness, health and fertility coaching.

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