Whatever your New Year’s Resolution, a healthy and balanced diet will provide many benefits into 2019 and beyond. What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to fight infections, as well as how likely we are to develop health problems later in life, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and different types of cancer.
Eat a variety of food
Some tips to ensure a balanced diet:
- In your daily diet, aim to eat a mix of staple foods such as wheat, maize, rice and potatoes with legumes like lentils and beans, plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and foods from animal sources (e.g. meat, fish, eggs and milk).
- Choose wholegrain foods like unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice when you can; they are rich in valuable fibre and can help you feel full for longer.
- For snacks, choose raw vegetables, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit, rather than foods that are high in sugars, fats or salt.
Cut back on salt
- Too much salt can raise blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Most people around the world eat too much salt: on average, we consume double the WHO recommended limit of 5 grams (equivalent to a teaspoon) a day.
Reduce use of certain fats and oil
- A diet high in this kind of fat has been found to raise risk of heart disease by nearly 30%.
Limit sugar intake
- Too much sugar is not only bad for our teeth, but increases the risk of unhealthy weight gain and obesity, which can lead to serious, chronic health problems.
- A single can of soda can contain up to 10 teaspoons of added sugar.
Avoid hazardous and harmful alcohol use
- Alcohol is not a part of a healthy diet, but in many cultures New Year’s celebrations are associated with heavy alcohol consumption. Overall, drinking too much, or too often, increases your immediate risk of injury, as well as causing longer-term effects like liver damage, cancer, heart disease and mental illness.
- WHO advises that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption; and for many people even low levels of alcohol use can still be associated with significant health risks .